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Trichoptera: Limnephilidae of Gunnison County, Colorado

Hesperophylax occidentalis - Silver Striped Sedge

(Banks) 1908
Updated 20 Apr 2020
TSN 116006


Scientific papers from the first 60 years of the 20th century refer to this animal as Platyphylax occidentalis.

Good Links

On this website:
Introduction to the Limnephilidae

Other Websites:
Photos, Map, Museum specimens, DNA - Barcodinglife.org

Seriochemicals of the genus Hesperophylax http://www.pherobase.com/database/genus/genus-Hesperophylax.php


Balik,JA; Taylor,BW; Washko,SE and Wissinger,SA 2018 High interspecific variation in nutrient excretion within a guild of closely related caddisfly species. Ecosphere, 9(5) p.e02205. PDF

Banks, N. 1908 Neuropteroid insects - notes and descriptions. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 34:255-267.
     Described as Platyphylax designata var. occidentalis.

Bergey,EA and Ward,JV 1989 Upstream-downstream movements of aquatic invertebrates in a Rocky Mountain stream, Hydrobiologia, Volume 185( 1) 71-82. Abstract
     Helicopsyche borealis and Hesperophylax occidentalis were the only species to show a net upstream movement during the course of this study.

Blinn,DW and Ruiter,DE 2006 Tolerance values of stream caddisflies (Trichoptera) in the lower Colorado river basin, USA. The Southwestern Naturalist 51(3):326-337. Abstract

Bjostad,LB, Jewett,DK and Brigham,DL 1996 Sex pheromone of caddisfly Hesperophylax occidentalis (Banks) (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology 22:103-121.
     Abstract: " The main component of the sex pheromone of the caddisfly Hesperophylax occidentalis (Banks) (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae) was identified as 6-methylnonan-3-one (enantiomeric composition has not yet been determined). Extracts of adult females elicited strong electroantennogram (EAG) responses from adult male antennae, but elicited significantly smaller EAG responses from adult female antennae. Extracts of adult males did not elicit appreciable EAG responses from antennae of either sex. Racemic 6-methylnonan-3-one was synthesized and elicited EAG responses from male antennae as strong as those obtained with female extracts. In field tests with baited sticky traps near lakes and streams, traps baited with synthetic racemic 6-methylnonan-3-one caught significantly more males than control traps. Female adults contained approximately 1 g of 6-methylnonan-3-one per individual. Related ketones and alcohols of other chain lengths were also tentatively identified, being present in tiny amounts in female extracts. Extraction of different body parts showed that 6-methylnonan-3-one occurs only in a region near the intersegmental membrane between the fourth and fifth abdominal sternites of the female (no discrete glands were observed). Extracts of males did not contain 6-methylnonan-3-one, nor did pupae of either sex."

Ferry,EE; Hopkins,GR; Stokes,AN; Mohammadi,S; Brodie Jr,ED and Gall,BG 2013 Do all portable cases constructed by caddisfly larvae function in defense?. Journal of Insect Science, 13(1), p.5. html
     Abstract: " The portable cases constructed by caddisfly larvae have been assumed to act as a mechanical defense against predatory attacks. However, previous studies have compared the survival of caddisflies with different cases, thereby precluding an analysis of the survival benefits of "weaker" case materials. The level of protection offered by caddisfly cases constructed with rock, stick, or leaf material, as well as a no-case control, was investigated against predatory dragonfly nymphs (Anax junius Drury (Anisoptera: Aeshnidae)). A valid supposition is that the cases made of stronger material are more effective at deterring predators. Yet, observations revealed that there was no difference in survival between the case types. All caddisflies with a case experienced high survival in comparison to caddisflies removed from their case. In addition, larvae with stick-cases experienced fewer attacks and captures by dragonflies. These results showed that the presence of a case, regardless of the material used in its construction, offers survival benefits when faced with predatory dragonfly nymphs."

Gall,BG and Brodie,ED, Jr. 2009 Behavioral avoidance of injured conspecific and predatory chemical stimuli by larvae of the aquatic caddisfly Hesperophylax occidentalis. Canadian Journal of Zoology 87: 1009-1015. PDF

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 is present in Gunnison County.

Hornig,CE; Brusven,MA 1984 Effects of Mount St. Helens volcanic ash on leaf utilization by Hesperophylax occidentalis (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae). Journal of the Idaho Academy of Science 20:1-10.

Hornig,CE and Brusven,MA 1986 Effects of suspended sediment on leaf processing by Hesperophylax occidentalis (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae) and Pteronarcys californica (Plecoptera: Pteronarcidae). Western North American Naturalist 46 (1) 33-38 PDF
     Abstract: "The effects of suspended sediments on stream invertebrate detrital processing were investigated under replicated conditions in light and temperature-controlled chambers in the laboratory. The leaf-shredding insects Pteronarcys californica and Hesperophylax occidentalis were studied. Mean daily ingestion rates were lower among insects subjected to suspended sediments (1.5 and 3.0 g/l) than insects held in suspended sediment-free environments for seven of the eight trials. In five of the eight trials, mean ingestion rates were suppressed by 41% when compared to insects held in suspended sediment-free environments. Feeding inhibition was typically greater at the end of the feeding trials (14 days) than at the beginning (0-4 days). The effects of suspended sediments on ingestion were apparently related to the feeding status of the insects at the time of a trial. Insects in an active feeding mode were less influenced by suspended sediment than those in an inactive feeding mode. We conclude that, depending on the season and the duration of impact, suspended sediment can suppress processing of coarse particulate organic matter and thus adversely influence important nutrient and energy pathways in low-order streams. "

Jewett D, Brigham DL, Bjostad LB. 1996 Hesperophylax occidentalis (Banks) (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae) sex pheromone structure-activity study with electroantennograms. Journal of Chemical Ecology 22: 123-138.
     Abstract: " Electroantennogram (EAG) analyses of Hesperophylax occidentalis male and female antennae were used to generate dose-response curves for synthetic, racemic 6-methylnonan-3-one and to demonstrate the chemical specificity of male antennal olfactory cells. Male antennae responded to 6-methylnonan-3-one, the main female pheromone component. Females also demonstrated a response to 6-methylnonan-3-one, but a smaller one than males. The chemical specificity of male antennal receptors was determined by comparing EAG activity of synthetic, racemic 6-methylnonan-3-one and a series of structural analogs. The three structural parameters considered, including keto position, chain length, and methyl-group position, were demonstrated to contribute significantly to the reception of synthetic, racemic 6-methylnonan-3-one by male antennae. For straight-chain nonanones with keto groups at different positions, nonan-3-one elicited the greatest EAG responses from male antennae. For straight-chain alkan-3-ones with different chain lengths, the EAG responses of male antennae to nonan-3-one and decan-3-one were the same, but greater than those to other chain lengths. For methyl-branched nonan-3-ones, 6-methylnonan-3-one elicited greater EAG responses from antennae than analogs with the methyl group at another position."

Kolar, CS and Rahel, FJ 1993 Interaction of a biotic factor (predator presence) and an abiotic factor (low oxygen) as an influence on benthic invertebrate communities. Oecologia 95(2) 210 - 219 DOI: 10.1007/BF00323492

Martinson,RJ; Ward,JV 1982 Life history and ecology of Hesperophylax occidentalis (Banks) (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae) from three springs in the Piceance Basin, Colorado. Freshwater Invertebrate Biology 1:41-47.

McCullagh,BS; Wissinger,SA and Marcus,JM 2015 Identifying PCR primers to facilitate molecular phylogenetics in Caddisflies (Trichoptera). Zoological Systematics, 40(4) 459 PDF

Parker, CR and Wiggins,GB 1985 The nearctic caddisfly genus Hesperophylax (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae). Canadian Journal of Zoology 61(10): 2443-2472. Abstract
     Hesperophylax spp. taxonomy, distribution, diet, phylogeny and biogeography are discussed.

Wissinger,SA; Brown,WS and Jannot,JE 2003 Caddisfly life histories along permanence gradients in high altitude wetlands in Colorado (U.S.A.). Freshwater Biology 48(2). Abstract Pdf Icon (427 KB)
     " SUMMARY 1. Larvae of cased caddisflies (Limnephilidae and Phryganeidae) are among the most abundant and conspicuous invertebrates in northern wetlands. Although species replacements are often observed along permanence gradients, the underlying causal mechanisms are poorly understood. In this paper, we report on the distributional patterns of caddisflies in permanent and temporary high-altitude ponds, and how those patterns reflect differences in life history characteristics that affect desiccation tolerance (fundamental niches) versus constraints related to biotic interactions (realised niches).
2. Species (Hesperophylax occidentalis and Agrypnia deflata) that were encountered only in permanent ponds are restricted in distribution by life history (no ovarian diapause, aquatic oviposition, and/or inability to tolerate desiccation). Although the egg masses of H. occidentalis tolerate desiccation, the larvae leave the protective gelatinous matrix of the egg mass because adults oviposit in water.
3. Three species (Asynarchus nigriculus, Limnephilus externus and L. picturatus) have life history characteristics (rapid larval growth, ovarian diapause and terrestrial oviposition of desiccation-tolerant eggs) that should facilitate the use of both permanent and temporary habitats. However, A. nigriculus is rare or absent in most permanent ponds, and L. externus and L. picturatus are rare or absent in most temporary ponds. Experimental data from a previous study on the combined effects of salamander predation and interspecific interactions among caddisflies (e.g. intraguild predation) suggest that biotic interactions limit each species to a subset of potentially exploitable habitats.
4. Many wetland invertebrates exhibit species replacements along permanence gradients, but few studies have separated the relative importance of the effects of drying per se from the effects of biotic interactions. Our results emphasise the complementary roles of comparative data on life histories and experimental data on competition and predation for understanding invertebrate distributions along permanence gradients."

Wissinger,SA; Eldermire,C and Whissel,JC 2005 The role of larval cases in reducing aggression and cannibalism among caddisflies in temporary wetlands. Wetlands 24(4) 777-783. PDF
     Abstract: " Larvae of wetland caddisflies supplement their detrital diets with animal material. In some species this supplement is obtained by preying on other caddisflies. In this study, we conducted a series of laboratory experiments to a) compare intraspecific aggression and the propensity for cannibalism among six caddisfly species that occur along a gradient from vernal to autumnal to permanent high-elevation wetlands, and b) determine the importance of cases in preventing or reducing cannibalism and intraguild predation. We predicted that cannibalism and overall levels of aggression should be highest in species that occur in temporary habitats. We found that all of the species that use temporary habitats (Asynarchus nigriculus ,Hesperophylax occidentalis, Limnephilus externus, Limnephilus picturatus, Limnephilus secludens) were extremely aggressive towards and cannibalized conspecifics without cases. Species that typically occur in short-duration temporary wetlands were more aggressive than those in long-duration temporary wetlands. Cases prevented cannibalism in four of these temporary-habitat species, and reduced cannibalism among Asynarchus larvae. The latter species occurs in extremely ephemeral habitats where cannibalism provides a dietary supplement that probably facilitates emergence before drying. Asynarchus also preys on Limnephilus spp., and we found that cases dramatically reduced vulnerability to intraguild predation. Larvae of Agrypnia deflata, a species that occurs only in permanent wetlands, were least aggressive and rarely cannibalized conspecifics. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that intraspecific aggression and the potential for cannibalism are highest in species that live in habitats with developmental time constraints. Many wetland invertebrates face developmental time constraints and selection for aggression in temporary habitats should be especially strong for taxa that rely on animal material to supplement a mainly detrital diet."

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