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*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Trichoptera: the caddisflies — Examples

Black Dancer Caddisfly (Mystacides sepulchralis)
Black dancer caddisfly, male, Mystacides sepulchralis, family Leptoceridae (the long-horned caddisflies).
□ The black dancer caddisfly has quite an angular silhouette, and it has two large palps, which are mouthparts, seen here at the sides of its head. It can hold its palps straightened out and forward, so they look like a second pair of fuzzy antennae. The male of the species, shown here, has red eyes.
Photographed by: Phillip V. Frederickson. Submitted by: Karen Russcher. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northern Michigan. Date: 15 August, 2020.
Long-Horned Caddisfly
Long-horned caddisfly, family Leptoceridae (the long-horned caddisflies).
□ Species of long-horned caddisflies have very long antennae, and overall, are quite small insects. All caddisflies have bodies covered in minute hairs, which are clearly visible in this excellent photo. Often the hairs are difficult to see without a magnifying glass (hand lens).
Photographed by: K J Westman. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Sri Lanka. Date: 3 October, 2018.
K J says, “I found this very small fellow on my desk. You will get an idea of the size when you see the letters on the paper it is sitting on.”
Northern Caddisfly (Dicosmoecus gilvipes)
Northern Caddisfly, Dicosmoecus gilvipes, family Limnephilidae (the northern caddisflies).
□ This dark wing veins are set off beautifully in this attractive Caddisfly.
Photographed and identified to order by: Joyce Kay. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada. Date: 28 August, 2019.
Caddisfly
Caddisfly.
□ Caddisflies are long and thin insects that have a fluttering, slow flight. Adults are often found near water.
Photographed by: Stephen Zaglaniczny. Identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Markey Township, on the shore of Houghton Lake, Michigan. Date: 9 July, 2017. Leslie says, “These insects often visit the boat when we’re out on the lake fishing.”
Caddisfly
Caddisfly, larva in casing, family Lepidostomatidae.
□ The larvae of Caddisflies make protective cases for themselves out of whatever they can find, so it might be bits of shell, little stones, sand, little sticks, etc. They glue these bits together with silk that they produce. The caddisfly in the Lepidostomatidae family tend to make square casings (as evident in the photo at right) out of pieces of bark. The larva lives inside, pokes out its head and legs, and drags the case around with it, or sometimes glues the case to something, like a bit of vegetation. It can then tuck inside the case whenever it feels threatened. As an adult (shown elsewhere on this page), it looks quite a bit like a moth. See the photographer’s story below.
Photographed by: Tori Thompson. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northwestern Michigan. Date: 21 September, 2019.
Tori says, “My son and I were walking through the Betsie River in Michigan. I pulled up a river plant for my freshwater aquarium. We then sat on the dock and noticed this odd critter. We don't know if it came from the river plant or if it was on the dock all along.” She adds, “We just love insects so much.”
Caddisfly
Caddisfly.
□ Caddisflies typically have long antennae, which they often hold straight forward as seen here. This leads some people to think the antennae are long jaws. A close look at the front legs and “shoulder area”in this photo reveals some of the hairs that cover the caddisfly’s body.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Markey Township, on the shore of Houghton Lake, Michigan. Date: 8 July, 2017.


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Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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