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Caddisflies: The Underwater Architects

Glenn B. Wiggins
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Glenn Wiggins'sCaddisfliesis the foremost comprehensive reference source about these insects and is concerned with behavioural ecology, evolutionary history, biogeography, and biological diversity.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2359-0
    Subjects: Zoology, General Science, Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Prologue
    (pp. ix-2)

    I have watched what lives in water for most of my life. As a museum curator in entomology, I devoted part of my time to studying caddisflies – a small order of insects in which the immature stages live in fresh waters of all kinds. To see caddis larvae at eye level, I have crawled around in streams, pored over the downsides of rocks, and waded in marshes and ponds; and I have passed countless nocturnal vigils waiting for adult caddisflies to find my illuminated sheet. All this was directed to studies in systematics – the sector of science associated with museums...

  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-8)

    Water, when you think about it, really is magical. A molecule of water, H₂O, consists of two atoms of hydrogen combined with one atom of oxygen. Hydrogen is the gas that explodes with a pop when ignited in a test tube, and oxygen is the gas that keeps the candle burning in a sealed jar until converted to carbon dioxide through combustion. But chemical union of the invisible gases hydrogen and oxygen yields the water that now covers two-thirds of Earth’s surface and constitutes a large part of the body weight of every living thing. Without water, there is no...


    • 1. Architecture and Biology
      (pp. 11-32)

      Although all construction by caddisflies is done by larvae, a distinction is made between construction to facilitate feeding when the larvae are growing (sections 1 and 2) and construction by larvae at the completion of feeding and growth in preparation for pupation (3). Here in section 1, the general biology of caddisflies is outlined largely in relation to larval construction behaviour, beginning with a brief historical overview of the development of knowledge about these insects.

      Throughout the world, approximately 10,000 species of caddisflies have been identified by entomologists, although the actual global fauna of species now living is estimated to...

    • 2. Caddisflies in Freshwater Communities
      (pp. 33-58)

      A biological community is an association of interacting populations that share the resources of a particular habitat. Species in different groups of aquatic invertebrates are adapted in innumerable ways to different conditions of springs, streams, rivers, lakes, marshes, and temporary pools. To maintain a place in a community, each species has to gain a share of the energy that is available. Consequently, understanding how an aquatic system works requires knowledge of how energy and nutrients are received and transmitted by species in the community – the broad subject of section 2.

      Recognition of functional feeding groups among freshwater invertebrates was an...

    • 3. Architecture of Pupation by Caddisflies
      (pp. 59-72)

      Because they are quite good at what they do, caddis larvae have been members of freshwater communities for some 200 million years. The premise developed in preceding sections is that silk and versatile construction behaviour underlie their diversification. Larval behaviour and architecture concerned with feeding are so distinctive that these aspects of caddisfly biology tend to overshadow other stages in the life cycle. In particular, hydrologic solutions in the pupal stage for problems of metamorphosis under water are often passed over. For all of its advantages, complete metamorphosis imposes on insects the problem of sealing themselves off for extended periods...

    • 4. Evolution of Caddisflies and Their Architecture
      (pp. 73-84)

      One of the objectives of systematics is to reconstruct evolutionary history, an undertaking that follows the principle set out by Edward O. Wilson (1994, p. 167): ‘Where the experimental biologist predicts the outcome of experiments, the evolutionary biologist retrodicts the experiments performed by Nature; he teases science out of history.’ Phylogenetic analyses involving morphological characters from all stages of the life cycle, as well as studies employing molecular data, have been conducted by a number of investigators.¹ Caddisfly systematists largely agree that the families of retreat-making Annulipalpia and of case-making Integripalpia constitute discrete monophyletic groups, which are treated as suborders....

    • 5. Biogeography of Caddisflies
      (pp. 85-96)

      The preceding sections have been concerned with ecological and phyletic diversification of caddisflies. Evidence shows that construction behaviour, as revealed in larval architecture, underlies their radiation in freshwater communities. Throughout the account, geological time has been a connecting theme – and a great deal of time has passed since caddisflies first appeared (Figure 1).

      To be considered now is the unfolding geographic context in which the ecological strategies have played out over time. Much of the early theorizing about the biogeography of Trichoptera has been based on what were, not so long ago, widely accepted concepts of stationary continents and fluctuating...

    • 6. Epilogue
      (pp. 97-100)

      So, does all of this really matter? I believe it does matter ... because this is about the real world and how it works. In tracing the history of caddisflies, Part I of this book reveals some of the intricacies of freshwater ecosystems. But unlike butterflies or beetles or grasshoppers, caddisflies live outside the experience of most people, who are unaware that these creatures even exist. However, lakes and rivers and fresh waters of all kinds are held in high esteem by virtually all people. In a global context, lakes and rivers provide a livelihood for millions, from net fishers...


    • 7. Classification
      (pp. 103-106)

      Biodiversity among caddisflies is a reflection of the effectiveness of natural selection in subdividing resources of energy in freshwater ecosystems. Taxonomy provides the vocabulary that opens doors to interpreting the diversity evident in ecology, phylogeny, and biogeography.

      Much of the biological diversity of Trichoptera is revealed at the level of family. About 45 extant families are now recognized in the world, and 26 of them are represented in North America. Outlines of the principal features of each North American family are provided in Part II under the headings Recognition, Construction, Biology, Distribution, and Comments. The family outlines are organized under...

    • 8. Cocoon-Making Caddisflies: Suborder Spicipalpia
      (pp. 107-122)

      The name is derived from the Latin rootsspica– point, andpalpus– feeler, an allusion to the pointed apex of the terminal segment of the maxillary palps of the adult insects.

      Pronunciation: spik-i-pál-pi-a

      In the world fauna of Trichoptera, four families are assigned to the Spicipalpia (1.4; 3.4; 4.4.2), and all of them are represented in North America. Morphological, behavioural, and genetic characters of the four spicipalpian families have been investigated intensively (note 4.1); monophyly for the group has not been established, and there are differing interpretations for affinity of these families with the other suborders (4.1; 4.5; Frania and...

    • 9. Retreat-Making Caddisflies: Suborder Annulipalpia
      (pp. 123-150)

      The name is derived from the Latin rootsannulus– ring, andpalpus– feeler, in reference to the serially ringed structure of the flexible terminal segment of the maxillary palps in the adult insects.

      Pronunciation: an-noo-li-pál-pi-a

      Eight families are assigned to the Annulipalpia in the world fauna, and all but one, the Stenopsychidae, occur in North America.

      Larvae in the Annulipalpia construct fixed tubular retreats at the beginning of the first instar, supplemented in some families by a filter net of silken threads (1.3). The larvae feed mainly from this stationary position, grazing fine organic particles and periphyton from surrounding rocks...

    • 10. Case-Making Caddisflies: Suborder Integripalpia
      (pp. 151-220)

      The name for this group of families is based on the Latin rootsintegra– entire, complete; andpalpus– feeler. This is an allusion to the undivided or entire structure of the terminal segment of the maxillary palps of adults, in contrast to the serially ringed condition in the Annulipalpia.

      Pronunciation: in-te-gri-pál-pi-a

      Approximately 30 families are known worldwide in the Integripalpia, and 15 of them are represented in North America. Two subgroups, infraorders Plenitentoria and Brevitentoria, are recognized within the Integripalpia (7), based on several morphological features (e.g., Frania and Wiggins 1997).

      Larvae in the Integripalpia construct portable tubular cases at...

    • 11. Keys to North American Families of Caddisflies
      (pp. 221-242)

      Family keys to larvae, adults, and pupae are provided here. Morphological terms are explained in the illustrated outlines preceding each key.

      (Figs. 74, 75). The body form of most case-making caddis larvae (Integripalpia) is termed eruciform (resembling a caterpillar), where the head is vertical, the mouthparts are directed ventrally (the hypognathous condition), and the body is rotund (e.g., 74A). In retreat-making larvae of the Annulipalpia and in the Rhyacophilidae and Hydrobiosidae, the head and mouthparts are directed anteriorly (the prognathous condition), and the body tends to be more slender and the larvae more agile (e.g., 50A).

      The head capsule (74D,...