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


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Trichoptera
Family: Plectrotarsidae

Descriptive Features:

  • head round
  • antennae located halfway between eye and anterolateral angle of head capsule
  • pronotum clearly wider than long, posterior half with transverse elliptical bulge on each side, the 2 bulges almost meeting at midline
  • prosternum with ventral horn, either long or reduced to short projection
  • meso- and metanotum each with 3 pairs of sclerites
  • abdominal segment 1 with 2 pairs of small dorsal sclerites
  • lateral and dorsal humps well developed
  • abdominal segments 1-6 bearing gills
  • abdominal segments 3-8 with lateral fringe of short setae
  • abdominal segment 8 without lateral row of spicules
  • anal claw with 2-3 accessory dorsal teeth
  • Total length: 8 - 12 mm
  • Case: Cylindrical, constructed of concentric rings of plant material, usually somewhat untidy with numerous trailing pieces of vegetable material.
  • Taxonomic Checklist: Genera
    Liapota lavara Neboiss, 1959 (larva unknown)
    Nanoplectrus truchanasi Neboiss, 1977 (larva unknown)
    (1 undescribed genus)

    Distribution: NSW, Vic, Tas, S WA. This family is endemic to Australia. Liapota and Nanoplectrus occur only in Tasmania and as yet the larvae are unknown.

    Sensitivity Rating: none

    Functional Feeding Group: shredders


    Normans Lagoon, Albury NSW

    Ecology: Instream habitat: Plectrotarsid larvae are restricted to standing waters with dense macrophyte cover, and can be collected from small reservoirs, swamps, backwaters of small streams and temporary pools.
    Feeding ecology: Plectrotarsus gravenhorsti larvae are detritivores feeding on pieces of decomposing plants. The biology of other Australian species is unknown.
    Habit: Larvae construct untidy, tubular cases from short, irregularly arranged, cut pieces of vegetation.
    Life history: Mating takes place during daylight. At the time of pupation, the final instar larva burrows into benthic sediments where it attaches the anterior end of the case to roots, or some other course material, then seals both ends of the case internally with a finely but irregularly perforated membrane.


    Information Sources: Dean 2000, Dean et al 2004, Williams 1980, Neboiss 1986, 1987, 2003 


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