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Northern Caddisfly (Pycnopsyche sp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Northern Caddisfly.

 Updated: 9/29/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Northern Caddisflies are a group of highly beneficial insects that split their lives between water, land and air.



While Northern Caddisflies resemble moths, they are not related. A Caddisfly has a life cycle more similar to dragonflies. Female Caddisflies lay their fertilized eggs either directly in water, or just above the water line on some kind of vegetation. Creeks, streams, lagoons, ponds and lakes make great habitats. Eggs hatch and the worm-like larvae live underwater for sometimes as long as a year. They have feathery gills that allow them to breathe. They build little cases or 'homes' for themselves that they bring with them everywhere they go and eventually use them when it is time to pupate. In the meantime, they feed on plant material under water or other small aquatic insects. They molt multiple times underwater, growing larger, and building newer, bigger cases when needed. After pupating into their winged adult form, they crawl or float out of the water and fly away. Adults have short life spans (just a month or so), making it a special thing to see one alive. They do not eat. Instead they spend all their remaining days reproducing.

Because much of the young Northern Caddisfly's life is spent underwater, the cleanliness of the water greatly impacts the insect's ability to survive. Toxic or chemically polluted water kills the delicate larvae, which results in a small population or the complete absence of Caddisflies in that region. For this reason, biologists use the presence of Caddisfly larvae and their adults as an indication of how clean that water source is. Many Northern Caddisflies equates to good, clean streams and creeks.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Trichoptera
        Family: Limnephilidae
          Genus: Pycnopsyche
            Species: sp.
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Pycnopsyche sp.
Other Name(s): Sedge
Category: Caddisfly
Size (Adult; Length): 17mm to 25mm (0.66in to 0.98in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown
Descriptors: flying, tentacles, antennae, legs, helpful, beneficial
Territorial Map
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.