Species profile: Mystacides azurea

July 9, 2016

Mystacides azurea (Linnaeus, 1761)

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Mystacides azurea on the River Tolka, Co. Dublin. Photograph by John Brophy

Mystacides azurea is one of 24 members of the Family Leptoceridae found in Ireland, and one of two members of the genus Mystacides, along with Mystacides longicornis. It is a species whose larvae can be found in lakes, canals, and still or slow-flowing sections of rivers and large streams, on plants, woody debris, mud and sand. Mystacides azurea has a case made of sand grains, with lengths of plant material often incorporated. The species has no preference with regard to pH of the water and can also be found in brackish waters.

In temperate areas, Mystacides azurea has a univoltine (one generation per year) reproductive cycle, and lives for up to one year. In terms of feeding, this species is largely a gatherer, though some shredding, grazing and predation is evident.

Defining features of the larvae of Mystacides azurea include the lack of a hooked tarsal claw on the 2nd leg, mandibles no more than twice as long as wide, the lack of posterior-lateral projections from the mesonotum, a dark bar on the posterior of the 1st abdominal lateral sclerite, a median constriction of the tibia and tarsus of the 3rd leg, no gills on the 6th abdominal segment, and the anal proleg with three distinctive accessory hooks.

Adults of Mystacides azurea are distinctive, being shiny black with red eyes, and with elbow-like maxillary palps (at rest).

Adults of Mystacides azurea can be found on the wing from May to October.

For details of records of Mystacides azurea, visit the National Biodiversity Data Centre page here.

References

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: 09/07/2016

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