This is a story of the importance of bycatch. While out surveying the plants and habitats of fen sites as part of the pilot for the National Fen Survey on behalf of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Dr Jim Martin & Dr Fionnuala O’Neill of BEC Consultants picked up a sample of stonewort for identification. The sample was taken from Lough Garr, Co. Westmeath and was passed on to me to have a look at for identification. I identified it as Chara virgata. However, while looking down the microscope, I noticed a number of, what appeared to be, caddisfly cases attached to the stonewort. Given the size, shape and construction, the most likely candidate was Tricholeiochitonfagesii, a species known from only a small number of sites in Ireland and only recorded once on the wing (a female taken in 1997 in Co. Mayo, but only recently identified (O’Connor, 2019)). While most of the cases were empty beyond the larval exuviae left behind by the emerging adults, one appeared to still have its occupant in residence. And not only in residence, but still alive and well!

Tricholeiochiton fagesii pupaTricholeiochiton fagesii pupa
Tricholeiochiton fagesii pupa

Given the paucity of resources available to identify caddisfly pupae, it was decided to attempt to raise the specimen to adulthood to confirm the identification. After eight days, what emerged was the first male T. fagesii adult to be recorded in Ireland. An identification kindly confirmed by Dr Jim O’Connor.

Tricholeiochiton fagesii adult
Tricholeiochiton fagesii adult male

The lesson for me from this is that there are lot of discoveries still to be made for this under-recorded group, especially the diminutive Hydroptilidae and they can turn up when you’re least expecting them. Keep your eyes open!

Further details of the discovery can be found in Brophy & O’Connor (2020).

References

Brophy, J.T and O’Connor, J.P. (2020) A new site for Tricholeiochiton fagesii (Guinard, 1879) (Trichoptera: Hydroptilidae). Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation 132(5): 244-248.

O’Connor, J.P. (2019) Hydroptila vectis Curtis, 1834, new to Ireland and the first Irish adult of Tricholeiochiton fagesii (Guinard, 1879) (Trichoptera: Hydroptilidae). Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine 155: 163–167.

Hydroptila lotensis Mosely, 1930

Hydroptila lotensis is one of 28 members of the Family Hydroptilidae found in Ireland, and one of 13 members of the genus Hydroptila. It is a species whose larvae can be found in rivers, in standing or slow-flowing water, and its substratum preference is for algae. H. lotensis has a case made of sand grains, which is laterally compressed. Only the final instar has a case, and is very different from the earlier instars.

The larvae of most Hydroptilid species are not described. Notable features of the larvae of the genus Hydroptila include a laterally flattened abdomen, which lacks dorsal and ventral ovoid processes, a laterally compressed case made of sand grains (or in one case algal filaments), no sclerotized median point on the labrum, 2nd & 3rd legs at most 1.5 times longer the 1st legs and gill filaments on the anal proleg, the claws of which also have accessory hooks.

Adults of Hydroptila lotensis can be found on the wing from June to August in Britain, and the only known record from Ireland is from June.

Records of Hydroptila lotensis on the National Biodiversity Data Centre mapping system can be found here.

Hydroptila lotensis

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. & O’Connor, M.A. (2019) Hydroptila lotensis Mosely, 1930, new to Ireland and a second Irish record of Hydroptila vectis Curtis, 1834, (Trichoptera: Hydroptilidae). Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine 155: 229–234.

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: 11/11/2020

Oxyethira mirabilis Morton, 1904

Oxyethira mirabilis is one of 28 members of the Family Hydroptilidae found in Ireland, and one of seven members of the genus Oxyethira. It is a species whose larvae can be found in streams and rivers. Oxyethira mirabilis has a case made of silk secretions, which is laterally compressed and has a narrow anterior opening and broad posterior opening. Only the final instar has a case, and is very different from the earlier instars. This species can be found in brackish waters.

The larvae of most Hydroptilid species are not described. Defining features of the final instar of the larvae of the genus Oxyethira is the absence of dorsal and ventral ovoid processes on the abdomen, no lateral protuberances on the 2nd abdominal segment, no median sclerotized point on the labrum, 2nd and 3rd legs 2-3 times as long as 1st leg, and a case as above.

The flight period for adults of Oxyethira mirabilis in Britain has been given as July, while adults were taken on the wing in Ireland in June and August.

Records of Oxyethira mirabilis on the National Biodiversity Data Centre mapping system can be found here.

Oxyethira mirabilis

 

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. (2019) Oxyethira mirabilis Morton (Trichoptera: Hydroptilidae), a caddisfly new to Ireland. British Journal of Entomology and Natural History 32: 231-234.

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: 01/11/2019

Hydroptila vectis Curtis, 1834

Hydroptila vectis is one of 28 members of the Family Hydroptilidae found in Ireland, and one of 13 members of the genus Hydroptila. It is a species whose larvae can be found in streams on a substratum of algae. Hydroptila vectis has a case made of sand grains, which is laterally compressed. Only the final instar has a case, and is very different from the earlier instars.

The larvae of most Hydroptilid species are not described. Notable features of the larvae of the genus Hydroptila include a laterally flattened abdomen, which lacks dorsal and ventral ovoid processes, a laterally compressed case made of sand grains (or in one case algal filaments), no sclerotized median point on the labrum, 2nd & 3rd legs at most 1.5 times longer the 1st legs and gill filaments on the anal proleg, the claws of which also have accessory hooks.

Adults of Hydroptila vectis can be found on the wing from June to September.

Records of Hydroptila vectis on the National Biodiversity Data Centre mapping system can be found here.

Hydroptila vectis

 

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. (2019) Hydroptila vectis Curtis, 1834, new to Ireland and the first Irish adult of Tricholeiochiton fagesii (Guinard, 1879) (Trichoptera: Hydroptilidae). Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine 155: 163–167.

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: 01/11/2019

Hydropsyche fulvipes (Curtis, 1834)

Hydropsyche fulvipes is one of eight members of the Family Hydropsychidae found in Ireland, and one of six of the genus Hydropsyche. It is a species whose larvae can be found in small, generally first order, streams. Its substratum preference ranges from coarse gravel to boulders and bedrock, but includes plant material and woody debris, in areas with moderate to high current velocities. Its preference is for neutral to alkaline waters.

Hydropsyche fulvipes has a univoltine reproductive cycle (one generation per year) in temperate areas. Its feeding ecology is mainly passive filter feeding, with some predation and grazing.

Characteristic features of the larva of Hydropsyche fulvipes include the presence of large, rectangular dorsal plates on all three thoracic segments, tufted gills on the abdominal segments up to and including the 7th segment, the lack of long bristles on the front margin of the pronotum, partially pigmented posterior prosternites, a frontoclypeal pattern of joined aboral and lateral marks and a pale band on the anterior part of the ventral surface of the head (though this is not very dramatic). Its separation from other Hydropsyche larvae is difficult.

Adults of Hydropsyche fulvipes can be found on the wing from May to September.

Hydropsyche fulvipes was added to the Irish list after an adult female was captured in Edenvale, Co. Wexford on 14th August 2018 (O’Connor et al., 2019). Distribution records of Hydropsyche fulvipes in Ireland on the National Biodiversity Data Centre mapping system can  be found here.

Hydropsyche fulvipes

References

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

Edington, J.M. and Hildrew, A.G. (1995) A Revised Key to the Caseless Caddis Larvae of the British Isles: with notes on their ecology. Freshwater Biological Association Special Publication No. 53.

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., O’Connor, M.A. and Gammell, M.P. (2019) The Caddisfly Hydropsyche fulvipes (Curtis, 1834) (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae): Finally Confirmed as an Irish Species. Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation, 131: 26-31.

Last updated: 09/02/2019

Hagenella clathrata (Kolenati, 1848)

Hagenella clathrata is one of eight members of the Family Phryganeidae found in Ireland, and the only representatives of the genus. It is a species whose larvae can be found in tiny pools on raised bogs and heaths, among tussocks of grasses and sedges. Its substratum preference includes coarse and fine particulate organic matter, and plant material. The species shows a preference acidic water. Its case is made of rectangular sections of dead leaves and is slightly curved.

Hagenella clathrata has a univoltine reproductive cycle (one generation per year) in temperate regions and lives less than one year. Its feeding ecology is partly predatory, partly shredding of fallen leaves and plant material.

Characteristic features of the larva of Hagenella clathrata include the largely unsclerotized mesodorsum and metadorsum, the presence of lateral and dorsal protuberances on the 1st abdominal segment, the absence of conspicuous dark bands on the head and pronotum,  and the apical setae of the tibia and the basal setae of the tarsal claw are slightly curved.

Adults of Hagenella clathrata can be found on the wing in the period June-July in Britain, but, to date, have only been found in June in Ireland.

The species was added to the Irish list in June 2018, when it was confirmed by a specimen taken in Ower, Co. Galway by Dr Martin Gammell and Dr Catriona Carlin, after being photographed on Abbeyleix Bog, Co. Laois in 2016 by Tina Claffey. Records of Hagenella clathrata on the National Biodiversity Data Centre can be found here.

Window Winged Sedge (Hagenella clathrata)

References

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

Gammell, M.P., Carlin, C.M., O’Connor, J.P., O’Connor, M.A. and Brophy, J.T. (2018) The window winged sedge Hagenella clathrata (Kolenati, 1848) confirmed as an Irish species. Bulletin of the Irish Biogeographical Society 42: 45-57.

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.

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: 11/11/2020

Limnephilus elegans Curtis, 1834

Limnephilus elegans is one of 40 members of the Family Limnephilidae found in Ireland, and one of 24 members of the genus Limnephilus. It is a species whose larvae can be found in small pools on raised bogs and fens. Its substratum preference ranges from plants (including Sphagnum moss), to woody debris and particulate organic matter, in standing water. Limnephilus elegans usually has a straight case made of overlapping plant fragments at instar V, but instar IV may have a case made from root fragments arranged in a spiral.

The feeding ecology of the larvae of Limnephilus elegans is predominantly shredding, with some predation and grazing.

Characteristic features of the larva of Limnephilus elegans include a prosternal horn, dorsal protuberance on the 1st abdominal segment, antenna midway between the eye and the anterior head margin, some gills with three or more filaments, no femur of the 2nd and 3rd legs with one or more additional setae, no additional setae on the proximal section of the trochanter of the 2nd or 3rd legs, setae of the ventral edge of the femora of the 2nd and 3rd leg all dark, anterior-lateral gills on the 2nd abdominal segment, no gills on the 8th abdominal segment, and head without pale areas around edges of fronto-clypeal apotome (though posterior tip may be pale).

Adults of Limnephilus elegans can be found on the wing in Ireland from May to July (based on limited records).

For details of published records of Limnephilus elegans, visit the National Biodiversity Data Centre page here.

Limnephilus elegans

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: 09/04/2018

Limnephilus pati O’Connor, 1980

Limnephilus pati is one of 40 members of the Family Limnephilidae found in Ireland, and one of 24 members of the genus Limnephilus. The larvae of Limnephilus pati are, as yet, unknown, but are likely to be found in fens. It is thought they are mainly shredders like other limnephilids.

Adults of Limnephilus pati can be found on the wing in Ireland from June to July.

For details of published records of Limnephilus pati, visit the National Biodiversity Data Centre page here.

Limnephilus pati

References

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

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

Last updated: 09/04/2018

Beraeodes minutus (Linnaeus, 1761)

Beraeodes minutus is one of three members of the Family Beraeidae found in Ireland, and the sole representative of the genus Beraeodes. It is a species whose larvae can be found amongst the roots of vegetation along the edges of rivers, streams, ponds and lakes, showing little preference for a particular flow regime. The larval case is curved and tapering, and made of sand grains.

The feeding ecology of the larvae of Beraeodes minutus is entirely grazing.

Characteristic features of the larva of Beraeodes minutus include long, slender antennae, 3rd legs long, head largely dark and pronotum with a dark mosaic pattern.

Adults of Beraeodes minutus can be found on the wing in Ireland in May, though this is based on limited records.

For details of published records of Beraeodes minutus, visit the National Biodiversity Data Centre page here.

Beraeodes minutus

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: 09/04/2018

 

Limnephilus borealis (Zetterstedt, 1840)

Limnephilus borealis is one of 40 members of the Family Limnephilidae found in Ireland, and one of 24 members of the genus Limnephilus. It is a species whose larvae can be found in ponds and lakes in upland areas. Its substratum preference is predominantly for woody debris, but can be found on plant material, particulate organic matter, mud and sand, in standing water. Limnephilus borealis has a slender, straight case made of butted and overlapping plant fragments.

The feeding ecology of the larvae of Limnephilus borealis is predominantly shredding, with some predation and grazing.

Characteristic features of the larva of Limnephilus borealis include a prosternal horn, dorsal protuberance on the 1st abdominal segment, antenna midway between the eye and the anterior head margin, some gills with three or more filaments, no femur of the 2nd and 3rd legs with one or more additional setae, no additional setae on the proximal section of the trochanter of the 2nd or 3rd legs, setae of the ventral edge of the femora of the 2nd and 3rd leg all dark, anterior-lateral gills on the 2nd abdominal segment, dark fronto-clypeal and parietal bands on the head, lateral prosternites small and separated from the central prosternite, or with indistinct prosternites, pleural band absent, indistinct or short, side of head pale with strongly contrasting muscle attachment spots.

Adults of Limnephilus borealis can be found on the wing in Britain from August to September, with the Irish specimens recorded in September.

Limnephilus borealis was added to the Irish list in 2017, when it was recorded from Lough Garve, Garron Plateau, Co. Antrim (O’Connor & McNaughton, 2017). The species was subsequently recorded nearby in Lough Natullig, Co. Antrim (O’Connor & McNaughton, 2018).

Records of Limnephilus borealis on the National Biodiversity Data Centre mapping system can be found here.

Limnephilus borealis

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. and McNaughton, C. (2017) The Caddisfly Limnephilus borealis (Zetterstedt, 1840) (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae): An unexpected addition to the Irish fauna. Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation 129: 306-310.

O’Connor, J.P. and McNaughton, C. (2018) A second Irish record of Limnephilus borealis (Zetterstedt, 1840)(Trichoptera: Limnephilidae) from Northern Ireland. Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine 154: 125-128.

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: 01/05/2018