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Caddisfly anatomy question

Caddisfly anatomy question
Lafayette, Sussex County, New Jersey, USA
June 30, 2011
I know very little about insects and their parts but I am curious and enjoying learning about them.
Maybe someone can answer a question for me about this photograph? Sorry I don't know insect anatomy and the proper terms for all of their parts.
I have never noticed these parts before on any other caddisfly photos that I have taken. Are those mouth parts coming out of head? Are they used for eating or sucking? Or is that a part for holding on during mating?

Images of this individual: tag all
Caddisfly anatomy question Caddisfly anatomy question

Moved from Caddisflies.

Moved from ID Request.

Hi Barb,
Those long parts you are referring to are the maxillary palpi. Every insect has palpi like these near their mouths, but they are only rarely this large! They are mouthparts, but not these with which an insect would actually bite or suck. They are supposed to be organs of touch or taste.

In the case of this caddisfly and others, they most probably evolved over time to be this large because their mates thought it was an attractive trait (a special form of evolution called "sexual selection") rather than for tasting and touching purposes, since caddisfly adults are usually very short-lived (a week or two) and don't even feed.

adult caddis do feed
generally by lapping fluids/nectar of some sort. It has also been shown in some studies that feeding by the female can result in both increased longevity and egg production. (Hoffmann, A. 1997. Adult feeding and reproduction in Lasiocephala basalis (Kol.) (Trichoptera: Lepidostomatidae) larvae prior to pupation. Pages 145-149 in Holzenthal, R.W., Flint, O.S., Jr. (eds.) Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Trichoptera. Columbus, Ohio, Ohio Biological Survey.)

I stand corrected, then - tha
I stand corrected, then - thanks for pointing this out. Are feeding adults common occurence, or restricted to a few taxa only?

As far as I know all adult caddis have lapping type mouth parts so it is possible that all of them can feed. I don't know of any discussion about all of them having to feed, or if it is just opportunistic. In the lab study I mentioned he feed one group with water and one with sugar water. The water only group also successfully mated and laid eggs.

Cool! Thanks Yann. Like the
Cool! Thanks Yann.
Like they say...."size matters"

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