Species profile: Chaetopteryx villosa

July 15, 2017

Chaetopteryx villosa (Fabricius, 1798)

Chaetopteryx villosa is one of 40 members of the Family Limnephilidae found in Ireland, and the sole member of the genus Chaetopteryx. It is a species whose larvae can be found in rivers, streams and small upland lakes. Its substratum preference includes particulate organic matter, and stony material from gravel to boulders, in slow-flowing and standing water. Chaetopteryx villosa has a case that can be made entirely of plant fragments, but often incorporates coarse sand. The larvae have a preference for acidic water.

In temperate areas, Chaetopteryx villosa generally has a univoltine (one generation per year) reproductive cycle, but this may extend to two years. The feeding ecology of its larvae is predominantly shredding, with some grazing, gathering and predation.

Characteristic features of the larva of Chaetopteryx villosa include a prosternal horn, dorsal protuberance on the 1st abdominal segment, antenna midway between the eye and the anterior head margin, gills with only single filaments, two anterior-median sclerites on the metadorsum, mandibles with teeth along the edges, no setae proximal to the large primary seta on the femurs of the 2nd and 3rd legs, 1st abdominal protuberance lacking anterior setae, but with a large posterior sclerite with 1-3 holes, and anterior intermediate setae of 9th abdominal sclerite shorter than the central intermediate setae. Further separation from Potamophylax rotundipennis (not known from Ireland) depends on head-width and other features.

Adults of Chaetopteryx villosa can be found on the wing from September to October (December).

For details of distribution records of Chaetopteryx villosa in Ireland available through the National Biodiversity Data Centre mapping system, click here.

Chaetopteryx villosa


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: 09/04/2018


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