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.
Scientific Name: Pycnopsyche sp.
Other Name(s): Sedge
Size (Adult; Length): 17mm to 25mm (0.66in to 0.98in)
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.