Order Trichoptera – Caddisflies


Also called ‘sedges’ or ‘sedge flies’, caddisflies are often mistaken for moths, and are often caught in moth traps.


Cinnamon Sedge (Limnephilus lunatus)

Crescent Cinnamon Sedge Limnephilus lunatus

Family Limnephilidae (Limnephilids)

A distinctive caddisfly with narrow transparent wings. It has a pale crescent moon on the outer edge of the forewings which is bordered by a dark line. This marking distinguishes it from similar species and it is where the caddisfly gets its scientific name.

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Limnephilus marmoratus

Cinnamon Sedge Limnephilus marmoratus

Family Limnephilidae (Limnephilids)

A fairly large caddisfly with disinctive wing markings.

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Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus

Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus

Family Limnephilidae (Limnephilids)

The forewing of this caddisfly has a distinct notched outer margin. The sexes express dimorphism with differences in wing pattern.

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Caperer Caddis Fly Halesus radiatus

Caperer Caddis Fly Halesus radiatus

Family Limnephilidae (Limnephilids)

There are only 8 species of this genus Halesus in Europe, and only 2 in Britain. They are known as the angler’s Caperers. They can be very hard to separate without close scrutiny of the genitalia.

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Limnephilus flavicornis

Limnephilus flavicornis

Family Limnephilidae (Limnephilids)

A pale species with a rather greasy appearance.

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Limnephilus auricula

Limnephilus auricula

Family Limnephilidae (Limnephilids)

A distinctive golden brown caddisfy with pale markings.

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Potamophylax sp.

Potamophylax sp.

Family Limnephilidae (Limnephilids)

These are known as the angler’s Large Cinnamon Sedges, of which there are 3 species in Britain and require microscopic examination of the genitalia to substantiate species.

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Limnephilidae sp.

Limnephilidae sp.

Family Limnephilidae (Limnephilids)

The adults are usually brown in colour, often with narrow mottled or patterned forewings and much broader, transparent hindwings. The aquatic larvae construct portable cases from a wide variety of plant and mineral materials.

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Grousewing (Mystacides longicornis)

Grouse Wing Mystacides longicornis

Family Leptoceridae (Long-horned Caddis)

A relatively small caddisfly with distinctively brownish patterned yellowish forewings. It has extraordinary long pale antennae and bright red eyes. It must be noted that there are two colour varieties of this species, the second being the pale yellow form.

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Longhorn (Oecetis ochracea)

Longhorn Oecetis ochracea

Family Leptoceridae (Long-horned Caddis)

A slim, pale buff caddisfly with exceptionally long antennae – 3x the length of the forewing.

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Leptocerus tineiformis

Leptocerus tineiformis

Family Leptoceridae (Long-horned Caddis)

A small and slender, plain caddisfly with tiny brown spots and with very long antennae.

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Ceraclea dissimilis

Family Leptoceridae (Long-horned Caddis)

A pale brown species which is darker at the wingtips.

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Small Red Sedge Tinodes waeneri

Small Red Sedge Tinodes waeneri

Family Psychomyiidae

A small, plain caddisfly with reddish brown forewings with darker veins.

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Hydropsyche sp.

Hydropsyche sp.

Family Hydropsychidae (Net-spinning Caddisflies)

This is a complex group of Trichoptera and require microscopic examination of the genitalia to accurately identify to species level.

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Hydropsyche contubernalis

Hydropsyche sp.

Family Hydropsychidae (Net-spinning Caddisflies)

This is a complex group of Trichoptera and require microscopic examination of the genitalia to accurately identify to species level.

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Hydropsyche sp.

Family Hydropsychidae (Net-spinning Caddisflies)

This is a complex group of Trichoptera and require microscopic examination of the genitalia to accurately identify to species level.

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Welshman's Button Sericostoma personatum

Welshman’s Button Sericostoma personatum

Family Sericostomatidae

A dark, reddish brown caddisfly.

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Hydroptilidae sp.

Hydroptilidae sp.

Family Hydroptilidae (Microcaddisflies)

Microscopic examination is required to identify to species level.

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Caddisflies are often overlooked for their dull appearance, yet they are most interesting, and some can be quite beautiful in their own way. There are about 7000 species worldwide, and 198 in Britain. Fossils of Caddisflies have been found as far back as the Cretaceous, and maybe the Jurassic, which may have been an ancestor of Trichoptera and Lepidoptera.

Caddisflies breed and live in and around freshwater habitats like streams, rivers and ponds. The adults are mainly seen by the human population in gardens, attracted to bright lights, or caught in moth traps, which suggests they are nocturnal. They are medium-sized insects bristling with hairs, which hold their wings close to the body in a tent like fashion. They have very long antennae. The larvae are well-known to fishermen when fly-fishing. They are aquatic with gills for breathing underwater, and most live in a protective case made from all kinds of natural materials like vegetation, gravel and sand, and even mollusc shells. Some live in silk tubes They live under rocks or amongst weed beneath the water. They go through various stages and when they molt they have to build a new case. Trichoptera have biting mouth parts, whilst some are strict herbivores eating only plant material, others are carnivores or omnivores.

They hold an important place and play a vital role in the environment of these freshwater habitats, where they provide food for fish and birds.

Caddisflies can be very hard to identify as many look similar and require microscopic scrutiny regards to wing venation and genitalia to mark the differences which aid in identifying individual species.


For further reference see the links below.

The Riverfly Recording Schemes – for Caddisflies, Mayflies and Stoneflies – The Riverfly Recording Schemes , established by the Caddisfly, Mayfly and Stonefly Recording Scheme Officers, celebrates and exploits the common ground that exists between the three groups of flies. Although retaining their individual identity, the recording schemes are increasingly working together.

Facebook Trichoptera Research Group – Post questions, photos, and create events for Trichoptera Research Group. We anticipate that this group will aid discussion on the systematics, ecology, behavior, biology, and applied aspects of Trichoptera research and build a sense of community among Trichoptera researchers.

iRecord – iRecord is a website for sharing wildlife observations, including associated photos – you can register quickly and for free. Once you’ve registered, you can add your own biological records for other to see, and you can see what has been recorded by others. The goal of iRecord is to make it easier for wildlife sightings to be collated, checked by experts and made available to support research and decision-making at local and national levels.

NBN Atlas – The NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas is an online tool that provides a platform to engage, educate and inform people about the natural world. It will help improve biodiversity knowledge, open up research possibilities and change the way environmental management is carried out in the UK.


An FSC publication The adult Trichoptera (caddisflies) of Britain and Ireland by Peter Barnard and Emma Ross is also a very useful source and key.