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 Major Groups | Insecta (insects) | Trichoptera (caddisflies) | Philorheithridae


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Trichoptera
Family: Philorheithridae

Descriptive Features:

  • head may be flattened with carinae or rounded, short or elongate
  • antennae situated on or near the anterior margin of the head capsule and minute to short
  • ventral apotome usually short, ventral suture can be almost as long as the head ventrally
  • pronotum sclerotized, prosternum with sclerites
  • mesonotum sclerotised, mesosternum with sclerites
  • metanotum with 2 or 3 pairs of sclerites variously arranged
  • foreleg with tibia and tarsus almost fused but final step of fusion is not achieved
  • midleg with tibia and tarsus fused
  • abdominal segment 1 ventrally with 2 pairs or numerous setae, if 2 pairs, median pair may be very dark and stout
  • tergite 9 variously developed, may be raised and with small sclerites posterior to the tergite, setae few or forming a fringe
  • gills multifilamented
  • Total length: 5 - 20 mm
  • Early instar larvae: Tibia and tarsus of mid leg not fused yet, can be confused with Odontoceridae larvae.
  • Case: Tapered, made of sand grains or flat mineral particles, circular in cross-section, which in some species are strongly curved. Some species also incorporate detritus in the case.
  • Taxonomic Checklist: Genera
    (larva unknown)
    (to be confirmed)
    (2 undescribed genera)

    Distribution: Tas, Qld, NSW, Vic, S WA

    Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 8

    Functional Feeding Group: predators

    Ecology: Instream habitat: Philorheithrid larvae are usually found singly or in low numbers in cool, fast flowing streams of wetter regions, as well as lakes. They possibly occur in higher numbers in alpine areas.
    Feeding ecology: Larvae are predators feeding on mayfly nymphs, worms, and other caddis larvae. They are fast moving and able to stalk then run down prey almost as big as they are, using highly modified legs for prey capture.
    Habit: Larvae construct stout tubular cases of small stone fragments.
    Life history:
    Information Sources: St Clair 1997, Dean et al 2004, Neboiss 2003, Hawking & Smith 1997, Gooderham & Tsyrlin 2002
    Note: “To be confirmed” means larvae very similar to larvae of Philorheithrus from New Zealand have been collected but the genus is awaiting formal description of adult material.
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