Caddisfly

Caddisfly ©Chris Lawrence

Caddisfly

Scientific name: Trichoptera
Caddisflies are a large order of insects that can be found in all kinds of wetlands. The larvae are known for making cases to pupate in, gathering stones, sand and leaves, and wrapping them with silk.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 1.0-1.5cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to November

About

There are almost 200 species of caddisfly (order Trichoptera, also known as 'sedge flies') in the UK, the largest of which is more than 3cm long. Adults are moth-like insects with hairy wings. The most common caddisflies, particularly in garden ponds, are the Cinnamon Sedges - a group of around 30 species. Caddisfly larvae live underwater, where they make cases to live and pupate in by spinning together stones, sand, leaves and twigs with a silk they secrete from glands around the mouth. The mainly nocturnal adults are often attracted to moth traps, or can be found on vegetation near to the water's edge. They are an important food source for all kinds of predators, including Atlantic Salmon and Brown Trout.

How to identify

Adult caddisflies resemble moths, but with their wings folded back along the body and with very long antennae. Unlike moths, they have a fine set of hairs on their wings instead of scales.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

One species of caddis fly, Enoicyla pusilla, differs from all the others by having a larva that lives, not under the water, but among leaf litter in woods in the West Midlands. This gives it its common name, the 'land caddis'.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.