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Trichoptera of Gunnison County, Colorado

Introduction to the caddis family Glossosomatidae
Saddle Case Makers, Tortoise Case Makers, Turtle Case Makers, Short-horn Sedge

Wallengren, 1891
Under construction 22 October 2023
TSN 117120
GLossosomatidae on rock in shallow water of a small stream

Provisional Species List

Agapetus boulderensis
Anagapetus debilis
Glossosoma parvulum
Glossosoma ventrale
Glossosoma verdonum

Good Links

On this website:
Introduction to Anagapetus
Introduction to Glossosoma

Other Websites:
Photos and descriptionGlossosomatidae from the Chironomidae Research Group Volunteer Stream Monitoring Interactive Verification Program Very useful website!
Photos from Troutnut


Canton,SP and Ward,JV 1981 The aquatic insects, with emphasis on Trichoptera, of a Colorado stream affected by coal strip-mine drainage. Southwestern Naturalist 25 4, 453-460.
     Abstract: "Benthic sampling was conducted year-round over a 2 year period (July 1975-June 1977) on Trout Creek, a mountain stream in northwestern Colorado, to assess the effects of coal mine drainage on the stream insect community. Samples were taken monthly from rubble riffles above and below drainage from unreclaimed mine spoils. Unexpectedly, aquatic insects exhibited similar mean density and biomass values at each site and accounted for at least 95% of the total benthic standing crop above and below the mine. The number of insect taxa was similar and diversity index values did not vary significantly between sites. However, the community structure of the two sites did differ. Certain taxa were most abundant at the upstream site (Prostoia besametsa and Lepidostoma moneka), while others were more abundant at the downstream location (Agapetus boulderensis, Glossosoma ventrale, and Hydropsyche spp.). The greatest difference between the two sites was the differential importance of Trichoptera. At the upper site, caddisflies accounted for 39% of the benthic density due to the abundance of four families (Lepidostomatidae, Glossosomatidae, Brachycentridae, and Hydroptilidae). Trichopterans accounted for 60% of the benthic density below the mine, due primarily to the abundance of Hydropsychidae, and especially Glossosomatidae. This study points to the importance of community structure analysis in assessing effects of changes in environmental conditions in stream systems."

Dallai,R; Lupetti,P and Afzeliust,BA 1995 Sperm structure of Trichoptera. IV. Rhyacophilidae and Glossosomatidae. International Journal of Insect Morphology and Embryology, 24(2)185-193.
     Abstract: "The families Rhyacophilidae and Glossosomatidae (Trichoptera) are considered to be the most primitive ones within the order. We examined the spermatozoa of members of these families to see whether their ultrastructure is consistent with an ancestral position. Axonemal structures, after fixation with a tannic acid-containing fixative, have been shown to be particularly useful as taxonomical indicators. It was found that 4 members of Rhyacophilidae, representing 3 subgenera (Rhyacophila, Pararhyacophila, and Hyporhyacophila) all have motile spermatozoa, with a 9 + 9 + 2 axoneme in which inner (but no outer) dynein arms are present. The accessory tubules have a wall consisting of 17 protofilaments, decreasing to 16 near the distal end, whereas the examined member of Glossosomatidae, Catagapetus nigrans, has accessory tubules with 18 protofilaments and a 9 + 9 + 2 axoneme with inner dynein arms and with motility similar to the Rhyacophilidae. Sperm motility is consistent with the inclusion of these 2 families within the suborder Integripalpia, and the axonemal pattern 9 + 9 + 2 indicates that the families indeed occupy a primitive position within Trichoptera."

Genco,MS and Morse,JC 2017 Pupae of North American Glossosomatidae. Freshwater Science 36(4):816-822.
     Abstract: "For the pupae of Trichoptera, the distribution of abdominal hook plates is considered a conserved feature, characteristic of families. However, we have found that the distribution of hook plates on abdominal terga of pupae of Glossosomatidae varies among North American genera. For this reason, use of these hook-plates as diagnostic characters in keys can cause confusion for genera of Glossosomatidae. Pupae of representative species of Anagapetus and Protoptila are described for the first time. The distribution of abdominal hook plates for all North American genera is summarized and diagnostic characters of pupal mandibles are discussed. A revision for the affected part of a well-known key for pupae of North American families is provided."

Holzenthal,RW; Blahnik,RJ; Prather,AL and Kjer,KM 2007 Order Trichoptera Kirby, 1813 (Insecta), Caddisflies. PDF
     Abstract: " "SPICIPALPIA"
Glossosomatidae: This taxon was established by Wallengren (1891), originally as a subfamily of Rhyacophilidae. Glossosomatidae was officially raised to family level by Ross (1956). Three subfamilies are recognized. Agapetinae has 3 genera, Agapetus Curtis (more than 200 species from all biogeographical regions, except the Neotropical), Catagapetus McLachlan (2 western Palearctic species), and Electragapetus Ulmer, originally described from Baltic amber, but now with 3 extant species from the eastern Palearctic. Glossosomatinae has 2 genera, Glossosoma Curtis (120+ species from the Holarctic and Oriental regions) and Anagapetus Ross (6 species from western North America). Protoptilinae, whose tiny species were at one time included in Hydroptilidae (e.g., Mosely 1937), has 17 genera from the Neotropical, Nearctic, Palearctic, and Oriental regions. It is most diverse in the Neotropical region, where it is the only subfamily recognized. Genera include: Campsiophora Flint, Cariboptila Flint, and Cubanoptila Sykora, all from the Greater Antilles, Canoptila Mosely (southeast Brazil), Culoptila Mosely (North and Central America), Itauara Müller (Neotropical), Mastigoptila Flint (southern Chile and adjacent Argentina), Matrioptila Ross (eastern USA), Merionoptila Schmid (Argentina), Mexitrichia Mosely (Neotropical), Mortoniella Ulmer (Neotropical), Nepaloptila Kimmins (Oriental), Padunia Martynov (Oriental and eastern Palearctic), Poeciloptila Schmid (Oriental), Protoptila Banks (Nearctic and Neotropical), Scotiotrichia Mosely (Argentina), Temburongpsyche Malicky (Brunei), and Tolhuaca Schmid (Chile, southeast Brazil). Most of these genera have only a few to several species, but Protoptila has about 90 species, and Mexitrichia and Mortoniella have about 25-30 species each. The Neotropical diversity is very incompletely described; many additional new species are known and new collections regularly produce an abundance of others. Robertson and Holzenthal (2006) and Yang and Morse (2002) discussed phylogenetic considerations within and among certain genera."

Nimmo,AP 1977 Adult Trichoptera (Insecta) of Alberta and eastern British Columbia, and their post glacial origins. II. the families Glossosomatidae and Philopotamidae. supplement 1. Quaestiones entomologicae.

Robertson,DR and Holzenthal,RW 2013 Revision and phylogeny of the caddisfly subfamily Protoptilinae (Trichoptera: Glossosomatidae) inferred from adult morphology and mitochondrial DNA. Zootaxa, 3723(1) 1-99. PDF
     Abstract: "Protoptilinae Ross, 1956, is the most diverse subfamily belonging to the saddle- or tortoise-case-making caddisfly family Glossosomatidae Wallengren, 1891. The subfamily has a disjunct distribution: 5 genera are known from the East Palaearctic and Oriental regions; the remaining 13 are restricted to the Nearctic and Neotropical regions. Monophyly of Protoptilinae and each of 17 genera was tested using 80 taxa, 99 morphological characters, and mitochondrial DNA (COI). Additionally, homologies of morphological characters were assessed across genera and a standardized terminology for those structures was established. Mitochondrial DNA data were unavailable for 55 of the 80 taxa included in this study. To test the effects of the missing molecular data, 5 different datasets were analyzed using both parsimony and Bayesian methods. There was incongruence between the COI and morphological data, but results suggest the inclusion of COI data in a combined analysis, although incomplete, improved the overall phylogenetic signal. Bayesian and parsimony analyses of all 5 datasets strongly supported the monophyly of Protoptilinae. Monophyly of the following genera was also supported: Canoptila Mosely, 1939; Culoptila Mosely, 1954; Itauara Müller, 1888; Mastigoptila Flint, 1967; Mortoniella Ulmer, 1906; Protoptila Banks, 1904; and Tolhuaca Schmid, 1964. Several taxonomic changes were necessary for classification to reflect phylogeny accurately. Accordingly, Matrioptila Ross, 1938; Poeciloptila Schmid, 1991; Temburongpsyche Malicky, 1992; and Nepaloptila Kimmins, 1964, are designated new junior synonyms of Padunia Martynov, 1910. Additionally, the endemic Caribbean genera Campsiophora Flint, 1964, and Cubanoptila Sykora, 1973, are designated new junior synonyms of Cariboptila Flint, 1964. Diagnoses and a key to the subfamilies of Glossosomatidae and world genera of Protoptilinae incorporating these taxonomic changes are provided."

Wallengren, HDJ 1891 Skandinaviens Neuroptera. Andra afdelningen. Kongliga Svenska Vetenskaps-Akademien Handlingar 24: 1-173.

Glossosomatidae on the water line of a rock in a small tributary of the East River, COlorado

Brown,WS 2017 Trichoptera (Caddisflies) of Gunnison County, Colorado