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


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Trichoptera
Family: Philopotamidae

Descriptive Features:

  • head and pronotum sclerotised, brownish-orange
  • labrum membranous, anterior margin broader than posterior margin
  • ventral surface of head with or without transverse sulcus or ridge adjacent to occipital margin
  • meso- and metanotum membranous
  • fore coxa with 1, 2 or no sclerotised process on anterior margin
  • abdomen white or yellowish, without gills
  • abdominal prolegs strongly developed, anal claws terminal
  • Total length: 8 - 12 mm
  • Taxonomic Checklist: Genera

    Distribution: N Qld, SE Qld, NT, NSW, Vic, Tas, WA

    Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 8

    Functional Feeding Group: filtering collectors

    Ecology: Instream habitat: Philopotamid larvae mainly occur in faster flowing streams on the underside of rocks.
    Feeding ecology: Larvae are omnivorous, feeding on algae and fine plant and animal detritus that are trapped in the silken net they hold in the water’s flow. Larvae clean the net with a highly specialised membranous labrum, giving rise to the common name of ‘soft mouthed caddis’.
    Habit: Larvae are not case making but do construct silken tubes or sack-like nets.
    Life history: Larvae undergo five instars. Early instars are collected during April and May and probably over winter mainly as third and fifth instars. Pupation occurs in October to November. Philopotamidae species are bivoltine, with generations beginning in March and December.
    Information Sources: Cartwright 1990, 1997, Dean et al 2004, Hawking & Smith 1997
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