Species profile: Lepidostoma hirtum

February 13, 2016

Lepidostoma hirtum (Fabricius, 1775)

Lepidostoma hirtum is the one of three members of the Family Lepidostomatidae found in Ireland, and one of two representatives of the genus in Britain and Ireland. It is a species whose larvae can be found in rivers, large streams and stony lake shores. The case of Lepidostoma hirtum larvae is composed of sand grains in early instars, but by instar V it has usually changed to one made mostly or entirely of plant fragments, with a square cross-section. It has a preference for a substratum of woody debris, but can also be found in particular organic matter (POM), and sediment ranging from coarse gravel to boulders and bedrock in slow-flowing and still waters. The species shows no preference for water pH and can be found in brackish water.

In terms of feeding ecology, Lepidostoma hirtum has a preference for grazing algal tissues, biofilm, etc., woody debris, and shredding fallen leaves.

Characteristic features of the larvae of Lepidostoma hirtum include the presence of a prosternal horn visible on the ventral side of the pronotum (can be difficult to see without manipulating the legs), the lack of a dorsal protuberance on the 1st abdominal segment, antennae very close to the front margin of the eye, posterior metadorsal sclerite and anterior-media sclerite with a single seta each, and a single seta on the anterior edge of the mesonotum in addition to the anterior-lateral setal group (when headwidth is greater than 0.3 mm).

Adults of Lepidostoma hirtum can be found on the wing from May to October.

Records of Lepidostoma hirtum on the National Biodiversity Data Centre page can be found here.

Lepidostoma hirtum


Barnard, P. and Ross, E. (2012) The Adult Trichoptera (Caddisflies) of Britain and Ireland. RES Handbook Volume 1, Part 17.

Graf, W., Murphy, J., Dahl, J., Zamora-Muñoz, C. and López-Rodríguez, M.J. (2008) Distribution and Ecological Preferences of European Freshwater Species. Volume 1: Trichoptera. Astrid Schmidt-Kloiber & Daniel Hering (eds). Pensoft, Sofia-Moscow.

O’Connor, J.P. (2015) A Catalogue and Atlas of the Caddisflies (Trichoptera) of Ireland. Occasional Publication of the Irish Biogeographical Society, No. 11.

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.

Last updated: 08/04/2018


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