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Order Trichoptera - The Caddisflies
Microcaddisfly larvae and case Longhorned Case Maker larvae and case  
The caddisflies are a diverse group whose larvae are best known for their sometimes elaborate retreats and cases they build. They are thought to be close relatives of the moths and butterflies. The wings of adults often are covered with small hairs and they do have the appearance of rather small, dull colored moths.

General Life cycle - The caddisflies undergo complete metamorphosis, which means they have distinct larval, pupal, and adult stages. The larvae usually form cases or retreats which are usually specific for a particular type of caddisfly. Often times the identity of a larval caddisfly can be determined just by looking at its' case. Some types do not make larval cases but will make net like retreats. Caddisfliy larvae often make silken nets that they deploy in the water to catch food items. The larvae will pupate usually by sealing its' case or by building a specific case for pupation. During the pupal stage the insect transforms from the larval form into the adult. When it is time to emerge the adult will cut its' way out of the pupal case, swim or crawl to the surface, emerge from its pupal skin, and fly away. It must do this all rather quickly because the insect is vulnerable to becoming a tasty meal for a fish during this process. Adults usually live near the water and most feed on plant juices. They will mate and usually the female will oviposit the eggs directly in the water or lay them in such a place that they will fall into the water.

Identification - The larvae are caterpillar like, but their legs are much longer and they have no prolegs on the abdomen. They have a pair of distinctive hooks on the end of their abdomen that they use to anchor themselves with. Some species have prominent finger-like gills on the abdomen, but others may have little or none visible. The antennae of caddisflies are usually very short and inconspicuous. Cases can help greatly in identifying larval caddisflies.

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