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Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae of Gunnison County, Colorado

Parapsyche almota
Net spinning caddis

Ross 1938
Updated 3 Jan 2017
TSN 115563

Parapsyche larvae from the small streams on the east side of Gothic Mountain in July of 2012.
Usually this animal lives in a little retreat built from silk and bits of debris.

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Parapsyche elsis

Locations Collected

Lives in small, cold headwater streams. Rustlers Gulch, Upper East River and tributaries.

Parapsyche larvae from the Upper East river in August of 2011.


Alstad,DN 1980 Comparative biology of the common Utah Hydropsychidae (Trichoptera). American Midland Naturalist 103, 167-174.

Deutsch,WG 1985 Swimming modifications of adult female Hydropsychidae compared with other Trichoptera Freshwater Invertebrate Biology 4(1) 35-40.
     Abstract: "Mesothoracic legs of 10 of 12 species of adult female Hydropsychidae (not Parapsyche almota or P. elsis) are modified for swimming; at least four of the ten species are known to swim to stream substrates to oviposit. Modified tibiae and tarsi of females differed from those of males in being widened, concave, and often, with a fringe of longer hair on the posterior edge. Modified mesothoracic legs were also found on some adult female Glossosomatidae, Polycentropodidae, and Psychomyiidae. Differences in swimming modifications found among hydropsychids and glossosomatids suggest a diversity of ovipositing behavior within these families. "

Dudgeon,D and Richardson,JS 1988 Dietary variations of predaceous caddisfly larvae (Trichoptera: Rhyacophilidae, Polycentropodidae and Arctopsychidae) from British Columbian streams. Hydrobiologia 160 (1)33-43.
     Abstract: " The diets of larval Rhyacophilidae (Rhyacophila inculta), Polycentropodidae (Polycentropus variegatus) and Arctopsychidae (Parapsyche almota and P. elsis) from five streams in the University of British Columbia Research Forest, British Columbia (Canada), are recorded and related to feeding mode/constructional activities and prey representation in the habitat. Particular attention was paid to the extent of dietary overlap and the degree of intraspecific dietary variations between streams. An overall similarity of the diets of the study species was notable and all commonly consumed chironomid (Diptera) larvae, Simulium (Diptera) and Zapada (Plecoptera), although there was interspecific variation in the relative importance of these items. Polycentropus variegatus and Parapsyche spp. ate Baetis and Paraleptophlebia, the latter predators also consuming Hydrachnellae (Acarina). Other prey were generally of minor importance and consequently interspecific dietary overlaps were high.
Differences in the range of prey consumed by predaceous Trichoptera were apparent. Free-foraging R. inculta which selectively consumed sedentary simuliid larvae had the narrowest niche breadth. Parapsyche spp. and Polycentropus variegatus foreguts generally contained an over-representation of chironomid larvae compared to their proportionate occurrence in the benthos, and these caddisflies exhibited high niche overlap. The relative importance of chironomids as food for Parapsyche spp. and Polycentropus variegatus is attributed to prey behaviour, i.e. drift, and poorly developed escape responses when they are caught on the predator's net. "

Givens,DR 2015 Parapsyche species (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae: Arctopsychinae) of western North America. Zootaxa, 4057(4) 451-489.
     Abstract: "The adult female, pupa, and larva of the 5 western North American species of the arctopsychine genus Parapsyche - P. almota Ross 1938, P. elsis Milne 1936, P. extensa Denning 1949a, P. spinata Denning 1949b, and P. turbinata Schmid 1968 - are reviewed. The female and larva of P. extensa are described for the first time. The larvae of P. spinata and P. turbinata are described for the first time. The chaetotaxy of the larval forms of western North American Parapsyche is discussed and scanning electron micrographs are presented. Keys to the females, known pupae, and larvae are provided. Distributional and biological data are also included."

Givens,DR and Smith,SD 1980 A synopsis of western Arctopsychinae (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae). Melanderia 35:1-24.

Here is the abdomen of a Parapsyche almota larvae. Notice the small tufts of setae on the sides of the abdonminal segments. This is visible without a microscope on larger animals.

Herrmann,SJ; Ruiter,DE and Unzicker,JD 1986 Distribution and records of Colorado Trichoptera. Southwestern Naturalist 31 4, 421-457.
     They note the habitat for this species is streams and rivers, the altitudinal range is 1981 to 2804m and adult collection dates are 18 to 26 July. Quote from page 430: "In Montana Roemhild (1982) reported this species from cold streams and rivers of the alpine and intermountain zone."

Milne,LJ and Milne,MJ 1938. The Arctopsychidae of continental America north of Mexico (Trichoptera). Bulletin of the Brooklin Entomological Society 33:97-110.

Roemhild, G. 1982 The Trichoptera of Montana with distributional and ecological notes. Northwest Science 56: 8-13.

Ross, HH 1938 Descriptions of Nearctic Caddisflies. Bulletin of the Illinois Natural History Survey 21:101-183.
     Original description of P. almota.

Smith,SD 1968 The Arctopsychinae of Idaho. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 44, 102-112.
     Has a key that includes this species.

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