Over 60 North American species from two genera are recognized in this family. Members of this group are most commonly found in mountainous regions in small streams or along the edges of lakes and large rivers. They are shredding detritivores, feeding on decaying plant matter in the water; they also have been reported scavenging salmon carcasses. The larvae construct cases of varying materials and shapes, however, a four-sided case constructed of square pieces of leaves is most commonly found. This family is easily identifiable, as these are the only caddisflies with the small antennae situated directly next to the eyes.
Mid-Atlantic: up to 1
Upper Midwest: up to 1
Southeast: up to 1
Shredder / Detritivore
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Order: Larvae: Wings/wing pads absent. Eye spots present, but compound eyes absent. Antennae usually small, inconspicuous. Three pairs of segmented legs present on thorax. Pair of anal prolegs, each with single hook, located on last abdominal segment. Larvae can be free-living, in silken retreats attached to substrate, or in usually-portable tubes or cases made of sand, rocks, or plant material.
Family: Labrum usually with only 6 setae arranged transversely across central area. Antennae small, always situated directly next to eyes. Pronotum and mesonotum sclerotized. Pronotum sometimes with distinct lobes at anterior corners. Metanotum mostly membranous; pair of anteromesal (sa1) sclerites dorsally with several setae, but each always with at least 1 seta. Lateral humps always present on abdominal segment I, but not always conspicuous. Median dorsal hump absent from abdominal segment I. Larval cases varying in architecture and materials.