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Order Trichoptera - Caddisflies

Caddisfly Larva - Agarodes caddisfly - Hydropsyche alhedra Bubble-backed insect Stonefly? - Chimarra Pycnopsyche limbata ? - Pycnopsyche Unknown Trichoptera larva Trichoptera
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Trichoptera (Caddisflies)
Other Common Names
Casemakers (larvae)
Explanation of Names
Trichoptera = Greek 'hairy wing'
Caddis means cotton or silk; tape or ribbon of worsted yarn; caddice men (vendors of ribbons, braids, etc.) pinned their wares on their coats(1)
1511 spp. in 156 genera of 27 families in NA(2); ~15,000 spp. in >600 genera of ~50 families worldwide(3)(4)
Overview of our fauna (* –taxa not yet in the guide; classification adapted from(4)):
Subfamily Tinodinae Lype · *Tinodes
Subfamily Macronematinae
Subfamily Agapetinae Agapetus
Subfamily Glossosomatinae
Placement uncertain Dibusa
Family Leptoceridae
Subfamily Leptocerinae

Family Apataniidae
Unplaced to subfamily: *Allomyia · *Manophylax · *Moselyana · *Pedomoecus
Family Goeridae
Subfamily Goerinae Goera · *Goerita · *Goeracea
Subfamily Limnephilinae
Unplaced to subfamily: *Sphagnophylax
Family Phryganeidae
1.5-40 mm
Adults resemble moths, but wings are hairy instead of scaly.
Forewings usually dark, sturdy, sometimes with striking color patterns, held tightly together roof-like over the abdomen when at rest.
Hindwings often clear, relatively delicate, and hidden under forewings when at rest.
Antennae usually very long, threadlike, with many segments.
Chewing mouthparts with prominent palpi.
Tarsi have five segments.
Ocelli (simple eyes) present in some families.
Keys to NA families & genera in(5); keys covering local faunas in(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)...
The aquatic larvae have three pairs of legs and a soft, elongate, segmented abdomen usually hidden inside a case; head well-developed with chewing mouthparts in most species.
Most species live in a mobile case constructed from plant material, algae, grains of sand, pieces of snail shells, or entirely of silk. The case is held together with strands of silk secreted by the larva. In some species the case is attached to a rock, log, or other underwater surface; a few species have no case and are free-living.
The case's shape and material is used in identification (e.g., helicopyschids use sand to build spiral cases that resemble snail shells.)
worldwide and throughout NA
ranges for each species of our fauna in (2)(12)
Species most diverse in well-aerated streams, but also occur in lakes, ponds, and marshes. Adults rest on nearby vegetation during the day; flight activity begins at dusk. Adults are attracted - sometimes in great numbers - to artificial light.
adults fly Apr-Nov
Some adults take liquid food, such as nectar, others do not feed. Larvae usually detritivorous, some are predatory.
Life Cycle
Usually univoltine, some polyvoltine; some take over a year to develop. Depending on species, adults may be long-lived (≥30 days) or short-lived.
Can have 5-7 larval stages.(13)
Larvae are important as fish food (used as bait, too), tend to be intolerant of pollution and may be used for water quality indication.
The fungus Erynia rhizospora infects adult caddisflies; they die stuck to the undersides of rocks/logs in streams(14)
See Also
moths have scaly wings and a coiled proboscis
Print References
Betten C. (1934) The caddisflies or Trichoptera of New York State. Bull. N.Y. State Mus. 292: 1-576. (Full text)
Ross H.H. (1944) The caddisflies, or Trichoptera, of Illinois. Bull. Ill. Nat. Hist. Surv. 23: 1-326.
Armitage B.J., Hamilton S.W. (1990) Diagnostic atlas of the North American caddisfly adults. II. Ecnomidae, Polycentropodidae, Psychomyiidae, and Xiphocentronidae. The Caddis Press, Athens, AL.
Internet References
Works Cited
1.How to Know the Insects
Roger G. Bland, H.E. Jaques. 1978. WCB/McGraw-Hill.
2.Distributional checklist of Nearctic Trichoptera (2022 revision)
Rasmussen A.K., Morse J.C. 2023. FAMU, Tallahassee. 519 pp.
3.Morse J.C., ed. (2019) Trichoptera world checklist
4.Order Trichoptera. In: Thorp J., Rogers D.C. (Eds.) Ecology and general biology: Thorp and Covich's freshwater invertebrates
Holzenthal R.W., Thomson R.E., Ríos-Touma B. 2015. Academic Press, 965–1002.
5.Aquatic Insects of North America
R. W. Merritt, K. W. Cummins, M.B. Berg. 2008. Kendall/Hunt.
6.Freshwater macroinvertebrates of Northeastern North America
Peckarsky, B. L., P. Fraissinet, M. A. Penton, and D. J. Conklin, Jr. 1990. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.
7.Bright E. (2002-2011) Aquatic Insects of Michigan
8.Digital key to aquatic insects of North Dakota
9.Parker D. (-2012) AquaTax Consulting
10.Clifford H.F. (1991) Aquatic invertebrates of Alberta
11.Identification manual for the caddisfly (Trichoptera) larvae of Florida (Revised edition)
Pescador M.L., Rasmussen A.K., Harris S.C. 2004. Dept Envir. Prot., Tallahassee. 141 pp.
12.Rohrbeck R. (2004-2014) Flyfishing entomology
13.The Insects : Structure and Function
R. F. Chapman. 1998. Cambridge University Press.
14.Arthropod Pathogenic Fungi
15.The Trichoptera of North Carolina... Version TBA
TBA (S.R. Beaty?). 2011. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 46 pp.
16.Caddisflies (Trichoptera) of the Yukon, with analysis of the Beringian and Holarctic species of North America
Wiggins G.B., Parker C.R. 1997. In: Danks H.V., Downes J.A. (Eds.), Insects of the Yukon. Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods), Ottawa: 787–86.
17.Revised checklist of the caddisflies (Insecta: Trichoptera) of West Virginia
Tarter M.A., Floyd D.C. 2016. Ent. News 126: 175-190.
18.Genera of the Trichoptera of Canada and Adjoining or Adjacent United States
F. Schmid. 1998. NRC Research Press.
19.Rasmussen A., ed. (2016) Trichoptera Nearctica