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> > Not Hydropsyche, not Phryganeidae--more reasons

The Specimen

Neophylax (Autumn Mottled Sedges) Caddisfly AdultNeophylax (Autumn Mottled Sedges) Caddisfly Adult View 20 PicturesThis large caddisfly looks really neat close-up.
Collected September 19, 2006 from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Added to by on October 4, 2006

The Discussion

GONZOOctober 8th, 2006, 9:19 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
I'm not familiar with this species, but I've taken another look through all the photos, and this is the best rationale I can come up with--

Not Hydropsyche: Wing venation is wrong; spur pattern is wrong; maxillary palp is wrong. But H. betteni is about the right size and color.

Not Phryganeidae: Size is wrong (common genera, Phryganea and Ptilostomis, typically range from 21-25mm); spur pattern is wrong (usually 2,4,4).

Probably Limnephilidae: Shape and venation of front and hind wings very similar to drawings of Dicosmoecus wings; maxillary palp matches configuration of Limnephilid females; spur pattern 1,2,4 matches (usually 1,2-3,4); large setal wart on scutellum matches.

Possibly Limnephilus: Size of specimen (13-14mm) is about average for this genus; overall color and pattern seems compatible with other members of this genus I've seen; the pattern of setae and setal warts appears to exactly match a drawing of Limnephilus; location and habitat seem reasonable (but with 95 species in the genus, it's hard to rule anything out on that account).

The other reason for suggesting Limnephilus is a simple process of elimination. It's probably not Frenesia or Psychoglypha, based on season (and color). I know Pycnopsyche and Hydatophylax well, and it's not either of them. I'm familiar with Dicosmoecus, and that's not it. Onocosmoecus and Platycentropus are larger; and Ironoquia is a different shape. Ecclisomyia, Oligophlebodes, and Chyranda all have "Western" in their common name.

I know this leaves out quite a few oddball genera, but I'm sticking with Limnephilus until Litobrancha picks up this thread and tells me what it really is! :)

TroutnutOctober 8th, 2006, 9:57 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
I'm glad I've got you and Litobrancha (and Taxon and everyone else) to help out with the identification! It's hard to collect and photograph and identify everything quickly, especially since I haven't really taken the time to learn my caddisflies well yet.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
LitobranchaOctober 20th, 2006, 11:54 am
Knoxville TN

Posts: 51
Limnephilus is a good bet. I tried to use the Schmid keys but for limnephilids they mostly use genitalic characters. but it is not a dicosmoecine since the discoidal cell is only barely intercepted by F1 in the front wing.

jason if you really wanted to get bug geeky you could break off the last four or five abdominal segments, boil them in KOH (although i bet coca cola would do about the same thing) for about 4 minutes, rinse well (i use boiling tap water) and then take some dorsal lateral and ventral view pictures. might be able to get a name on that rascal. not sure if you have that much time, but that's how we do it. if it were a male it would be much easier, in theory.

beautiful specimen!!!
TroutnutOctober 20th, 2006, 12:03 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
I assume that process enhances the small parts for photography somehow?

Could you point me to any references on the process? I'd really like to start taking good closeups of tiny features but I haven't found a good method. I can start with what you suggested but I'd like to read some background on the idea.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
LitobranchaOctober 20th, 2006, 9:24 pm
Knoxville TN

Posts: 51
well as far as original references go if you are into caddisflies you should have a copy of Herbert Ross 1944 Trichoptera of Illinois. it has many of the eastern species and good keys to species for larvae and adults. the taxonomy has changed a bit for some taxa but it's a fine place to start. and there are good descriptions of larval rearing techniques and also the clearing process i mentioned. and tons of good references to other authors and the original literature.

you may be able to find something about it online, seems like i found a newsletter that was also published in spanish a few years ago that had details about clearing techniques. the basic ideas is to remove the somatic tissues from the gentialia so that you may see internal structures and get a better idea of exactly what you are looking for.

or you can email me directly and i'll send you some more details. i'll be on a pynopsyche and neophylax hunt next week on the blue ridge parkway but i'll send you some papers (pdfs) if you'd like).

DarkDunOctober 19th, 2007, 9:03 am
Posts: 16
Generically this looks like a rust colored caddis with dark mottled wings which to me is what I need to tie on a size 12 hook and get out and fish with about 6 of these in my fly box.
Here in NC we have a October Caddis emerging all month (October) that is a size 12. Would this be the same species that Trout Nut collected in September in the Northeast?
This is a good hatch for fly fishers in the Southeast this time of year because of its size while most other hatch activity is a size 18 to 24.
GONZOOctober 20th, 2007, 9:41 am
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681

The specimen under discussion in this thread was eventually identified as Neophylax by Vishivkova. If you go to the Neophylax page in the aquatic insects section (or plug Neophylax into the site search engine) you'll find several threads related to this specimen.

As for the "October Caddis" you're seeing, that name has a more specific meaning in the West (where it usually refers to the big Dicosmoecus caddisflies). Here in the East, about all you can say is that the name refers to caddisflies seen in October. These can often be the large Pycnopsyche species, also known as the great brown autumn sedges or giant red sedges. But it can also refer to some smaller fall species, like Neophylax. At a #12, your bugs are more likely the latter than the former (which are about #8).

Somewhere in those threads you'll also find a similar question from John (JAD) about a species he sees on the Little J.

QuillgordonOctober 20th, 2007, 11:11 am
Schuylkill County, PA.

Posts: 109
Is it p[ossible this could be a 'scaly wing sedge' of the genus ceraclea.
those light colored hairs on the wings drew my attention.
i can't tell if the color is white, or tan. here is how la fontaine describes the insect:
wing... color varies from light brown to dark brown, or from light gray to almost black. on many species the wings have patches of white hairs and/or pockets of white scales varies from straw yellow to green to almost black.
body.... varies from straw yellow to green to almost black.
legs.... vary from straw yellow to almost black.
length..... up to 13 mm.

reference.... caddisflies, la fontaine, pg.253
Flyfishing is a state of mind! .............. Q.g.

GONZOOctober 20th, 2007, 6:29 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi John,

It's nice to talk to you again! I think Vishivkova got it right with the Neophylax ID, and Lito also thought it was a good call. There are a number of things that would help to rule out Ceraclea, but one of the more obvious (especially for anglers who don't carry microscopes in their vests) is that they are one of the "long-horn sedges." Typically, the antennae on Ceraclea are about twice the body length or more.


QuillgordonOctober 21st, 2007, 7:45 am
Schuylkill County, PA.

Posts: 109
I missed that point in the book...... skimmed thru.
It was mentioned that 'Oecetis' had a 'very long distinctive antenna' and a picture was included, but earilier he stated that was true of the entire genus.
Too many caddis, too many look alikes.........
I love these 'critters' ...................LOL.

Thanks for the reply.
Flyfishing is a state of mind! .............. Q.g.

CrenoDecember 21st, 2007, 9:20 pm
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 305
Folks - follow Tanya Vshivkova's trail - it is Neophylax. The photos are really good but as Litobrancha indicates you will need to look at her private parts in detail to figure out what it is.

Neophylax is a great genus for fish squeezers as you should be able to separate the adults by a simple combination of color pattern/location/date. That is if the bug pickers can get all the photos up for you. This critter may be a very highly colored N.fuscus or it is a problematic species close to N.ornatus. N.ornatus has only been reported as a spring/early summer species and the apical forewing cells have stripes - not spots like these photos.

Your collections can go a long way to resolving these questions, and provide the pictures, so it is great to see a forum like this.


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