The mayfly, sometimes known colloquially as a "Canadian Soldier" after its native land, is an insect perhaps best remembered for making a much appreciated appearance against Joba Chamberlain and the Yankees back in the '07 Divisional Series. Some would argue that these Canadian airborne rangers made the most significant contribution to crucial Indians home victory (Chamberlain couldn't handle 'em, but Fausto Carmona was completely unfazed, even as they crawled in his nose and eyes).
Midges, Canadian Soldiers, mayflies, even "little pterodactyls" as Casey Blake described them after the game — call them what you will, they are an ever-present fact of life on the lake.
The Canadian Soldiers live for one to two years in the mud on the bottom of the lake, feeding on little organisms and the like. Then they crack out a pair of wings and head south, besieging cities, annoying overpaid baseball players, and making a general menace of themselves.
This year, the short-lived insects (which usually descend on the North Coast in late June and early July, the '07 playoffs being a notable exception) appeared in a surging wave, covering the shores of Erie in seemingly record numbers.
These little buggers, which practically disappeared from the 1950s into the 1990s, should be appreciated for more than one postseason Tribe win: They actually show signs of a recovering, if not healthy, Lake Erie. Not only does their presence show literal signs of life, but Canadian Soldiers are a source of food for fish, bats and birds around the lake.
So next time you go to squash one, be sure to thank it in advance for reminding us all that Lake Erie is not the toxic dumping pool it once was. But we can still blame Canada for spawning them. Unless they can somehow help the Indians actually win another game, in which case we'll love them again. — Nick Baker
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.