The identification of caddisflies, both larvae and adults, depends on getting well-preserved, undamaged specimens, good technique in the laboratory and the correct use of identification keys. We are fortunate in that there are relatively up-to-date keys for both adult and late-instar Trichoptera available covering Britain and Ireland. The three main keys are the following:

Wallace et al 2003 cover Wallace, I.D., Wallace, B. and Philipson, G.N. (2003) Keys to the Case-bearing Caddis Larvae of Britain and Ireland. Scientific Publication of the Freshwater Biological Association No. 61.

Edington & Hildrew 2005 coverEdington, J.M. and Hildrew, A.G. (2005) A Revised Key to the Caseless Caddis Larcae of the British Isles with Notes on their Ecology. Scientific Publication of the Freshwater Biological Association No.53.

Barnard & Ross 2012 coverBarnard, P. and Ross, R. (2012) The Adult Trichoptera (caddisflies) of Britain and Ireland. RES  Handbook Volume 1, Part 17.

These publications have sections on the collection, preservation and identification of caddisflies, which are hugely useful for anyone getting into this group.

Both larval keys are available from the Freshwater Biological Association online shop here.

The key to adults can be purchased online from Pemberley Books here.

The Freshwater Biological Association is running a course in identifying caddisflies (mainly larvae) at their facility on Lake Windermere. The course will run on the 6th and 7th June 2013. Bookings can be made at