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Trichoptera: Limnephilidae of Gunnison County, Colorado

Dicosmoecus atripes
Silver stripe caddis, Giant Caddisfly, October Caddis, Fall Caddis, Halloween Caddis, Great Orange Caddis, Giant Orange Sedge

(Hagen) 1875

Updated 8 Feb 2017
TSN 116266

Good Links

On this website:
Limnephilidae Introduction

Other Websites:
Fishing the October Caddis Hatch on the Yakima River of Washington http://www.worleybuggerflyco.com/insectidentifa/october_caddis.htm

Illustration - University of Alberta Entomology Collection Species page
     Has habitat, range and more.

Photos, Map, Museum specimens, DNA - Barcodinglife.org


Banks, N. 1943 Notes and descriptions of Nearctic Trichoptera. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College 92: 341-369, plates 1-6.

Dodds,GS and Hisaw,FL 1925 Ecological studies on aquatic insects. III. Adaptations of caddisfly larvae to swift streams. Ecology 6(2)123-137. Abstract and first page

Goodrich,AL, Jr. 1935 The thoracic sclerites of a Trichopterous pupa, Dicosmoecus atripes Hagen. (Limnophilidae) Transactions of the American Microscopical Society 54(1): 57-64. Abstract

Goodrich,AL, Jr. 1937 The head capsule of a Trichopterous pupa, Dicosmoecus atripes Hagen (Limnophilidae). Transactions of the American Microscopical Society 56(2) 243-248.

Goodrich,AL, Jr. 1941. The external anatomy of the pupal abdomen in Dicosmoecus atripes Hagen (Trichoptera, Limnephilidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 14:134-143.

Gotceitas, V 1985 Formation of aggregations by overwintering fifth instar Dicosmoecus atripes larvae (Trichoptera). Oikos 44(2) 313-318.

Gotceitas, V; Clifford, HF 1983 The life history of Dicosmoecus atripes (Hagen) (Limnephilidae: Trichoptera) in a Rocky Mountain stream of Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Zoology 61(3)586-596. Abstract

Hagen HA. 1874 Report on the Pseudo-Neuroptera and Neuroptera collected by Lieut. W. L. Carpenter in 1873 in Colorado. Pages 571-606 in Hayden FV, Annual Report of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, Embracing Colorado, Being a Report of Progress of the Exploration for the Year 1873 7:571-606.
     Described as Platyphylax atripes.

Herrmann,SJ; Ruiter,DE and Unzicker,JD 1986 Distribution and records of Colorado Trichoptera. Southwestern Naturalist 31 4, 421-457.
     The authors show this species present in Gunnison County.

Holzenthal,RW; Blahnik,RJ; Prather,AL and Kjer,KM 2007 Order Trichoptera Kirby, 1813 (Insecta), Caddisflies. Zootaxa, 1668: 639-698. PDF
      Illustration of Dicosmoescus sp. case on page 655 that looks similar to their cases in the Elk Mountains.

Lessard,JL; Merritt,RW and Cummins,KW 2003 Spring growth of caddisflies (Limnephilidae: Trichoptera) in response to marine-derived nutrients and food type in a Southeast Alaskan stream. International Journal of Limnology 39(1) 3 - 14. PDF
     Abstract: "The short-term stimulation of production, due to marine-derived nutrients (MDN) from spawning salmon, is well documented for certain trophic levels in stream communities (e.g., algae and insect biomass). The effect of these nutrients on the stream ecosystem as a whole, however, remains unclear especially later in the year. Trichopterans have been shown to feed on salmon and other fish carcasses and there is evidence for greater growth rates in the presence of salmon tissue. To address the question of long-term MDN subsidy on trichopterans, we investigated the growth of three limnephilid caddisflies in the spring in the Harris River on Prince of Wales Island, Southeast Alaska. The Harris River has a natural waterfall barrier to salmon and receives large runs of pink (O. gorbuscha) and chum (O. keta) salmon each fall. We selected two shredding caddisflies (Onocosmoecus unicolor) and (Psychoglypha spp.) and one facultative scraper, (Dicosmoecus atripes) for our study. We had two objectives : 1) compare the spring growth of larval caddisflies in a stream section that receives a large autumn run of salmon with their growth in a stream section that is blocked from receiving salmon (due to an impassable waterfall), and 2) compare the growth of shredders with that of a facultative scraper when provided either leaves or biofilm on rocks as food.
Insects were placed in growth boxes in May 2001 with either conditioned alder leaves or stream rocks as food sources. The boxes were placed along with temperature loggers in both the salmon (below the waterfall) and non-salmon (above the waterfall) reaches. The boxes were removed 40 days later. In-stream samples were taken of each caddisfly initially and at the end of the experiment to establish in-stream growth versus growth in the boxes. All larvae were coaxed from their cases, measured for total wet length, dried and weighed. Only D. atripes and Psychoglypha spp. were growing during our experiment and both showed very high relative growth rates in the Harris River. Psychoglypha spp. and O. unicolor were both significantly larger in the leaf boxes and D. atripes was significantly larger in the rock boxes. Both D. atripes and Psychoglypha spp. had significantly greater relative growth rates between food types (on biofilm on rocks and leaves respectively). These results support the notion that D. atripes are most likely facultative scrapers at least in their first year of growth. None of these caddisflies showed differences in their final mean weights or relative growth rates between stream sections, suggesting no effect of MDN on their spring growth in the Harris River. Further research on caddisfly communities in the fall and winter will help clarify if MDN has an influence on the abundance and life history of these species closer to the salmon run. This study questions the long-term influence of MDN on stream communities, particularly those populations that do most of their production in the spring, months after salmon carcasses are no longer visible."

Luedtke,RJ and Brusven,MA 1976 Effects of sand sedimentation on colonization of stream insects. Journal of the Fisheries Board of Canada, 33(9), pp.1881-1886. PDF
     Abstract: " Driftnets, basket samplers, and artificial streams were used to investigate the influence of heavy sand accumulations on insect drift, colonization, and upstream movements in Emerald Creek, northern Idaho. Most riffle insects successfully passed through low-velocity, sandy reaches 80 m long. Upstream movements on sand were impeded by flows as low as 12 cm/s, except for the heavily cased caddisfly Dicosmoecus sp."

Mihuc,TB; Mihuc,JR 1995 Trophic ecology of five shredders in a Rocky Mountain stream. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 10 (3) 209-216. PDF
     Abstract: " The trophic ecology of five shredder taxa found in Mink Creek, Idaho was determined in laboratory food quality experiments to assess the obligate or facultative nature of resource utilization among lotic taxa commonly referred to as detritivores. The experiments tested resource assimilation for each taxon among three major resources available to primary consumers in streams; periphyton, fine particulate detrital material (FPM) and coarse particulate detrital material (CPM). Growth of each taxon was determined on each resource in laboratory experiments conducted at 10° C.
Growth results indicate that only one of the five taxa (middle-late instar Dicosmoecus atripes) was an obligate CPM detritivore. The remaining four taxa (Amphinemura banksi, Lepidostoma sp., Podmosta delicatula, and Zapada cinctipes) were generalists capable of growth on at least two of the three resource types. All four generalists exhibited growth on periphyton and CPM resources suggesting that these taxa can utilize both autochthonous and allochthonous resources. Our results do not support the idea that taxa with similar mouthpart morphology, specifically shredders, exhibit similar trophic relationships."

Wiggins,GB, and Richardson,JS 1982 Revision and synopsis of the caddisfly genus Dicosmoecus (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae: Dicosmoecinae). Aquatic Insects 4:181-217.
     Abstract: "Six species of Dicosmoecus are recognized: the palatus species group of Siberia and Japan [palatus (McL.), obscuripennis Banks, and jozankeanus Mats.)]; and the atripes species group of western montane North America [atripes (Hagen), gilvipes (Hagen), and pallicornis Banks]. D. obscuripennis is re-established as a valid species distinct from palalus and recorded from the Yukon Territory and Alaska, and also Siberia. Keys are provided for identification of males, females, and larvae. Hypotheses of phylogeny and biogeography are proposed, stating that the palatus and atripes species groups evolved independently in Asia and North America respectively; and that obscuripennis of the palatus group extended its range to North America during the Pleistocene Beringian land connection between the two continents.
Data on food, life cycle, habitat, and distribution are given for the North American species. Most Dicosmoecus appear to be generalized predator-shredders with robust, toothed mandibles; but fifth instar larvae of D. gilvipes feed mainly by scraping rocks for diatoms, a behaviour which is evidently responsible for eroding the slender blade and weakly formed teeth of the mandible, unique to this species, to a uniform scraping edge. D. gilvipes is further distinctive in usually having a 1-year life cycle, whereas atripes and the other North American species usually have a life cycle of 2 years. "

Wiggins,GB, and Richardson,JS 1989 Biosystematics of Eocosmoecus, a new Nearctic caddisfly genus (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae, Dicosmoecinae) Journal of the North American Benthologicavl Society, 8(4) 355-369. Abstract and first page
     Quote from abstract: "Keys distinguishing Eocosmoecus, Onocosmoecus, and Dicosmoecus are given for adults, pupae, and larvae. "

Brown,WS 2005 Trichoptera (Caddisflies) of Gunnison County, Colorado, USA