British Insects: the Families of Caddis flies (Trichoptera)


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


This data set is generated from a DELTA database (Dallwitz 1980; Dallwitz, Paine, and Zurcher 1993). The original intention of the ‘British Insects’ suite of packages, of which it forms part, was primarily to present scans of the fine hand-coloured engravings of insects in John Curtis’s British Entomology: illustrations and descriptions of the genera of insects found in Great Britain and Ireland (1824–1840). The first 12 volumes of the first edition (up to 1835) were directly available to us, and pages issued from 1836–1840 have been accessed from other sources (see Notes on John Curtis’s British Entomology). Curtis is credited with the original taxonomic descriptions of 7 of the Caddis Fly genera and 37 of the species recognised in modern checklists, many of which can be seen in the scans accompanying this data set; and the description of Agrypnia pagetana (see B. Ent. 540) contains generic keys to the larvae and adults. The latter, which Curtis attributes to M. Pictet, utilizes several of the characters featuring prominently in modern classifications and keys.

The present package is a preliminary, interactive treatment to family level of the adults and larvae, aligned nomenclaturally with the Steel et al. (1964) update of the Kloet and Hincks Check List. The descriptive data are derived mainly from Mosely’s (1939) account and Hickin’s (1952) keys, supplemented from Mosely and Kimmins (1953), Riek (1970) and the usual textbooks (see References), and further cross referenced with a Field Studies Council publication by Barnard and Ross (2008). Sadly, these accounts do not provide reliable comparative descriptive data at family level (or at any other level, for that matter), and persistent repetition of the same mistake regarding maxillary palp structure near the beginning of supposedly authoritative keys for different world regions does not inspire confidence. However, all the compilations in our ‘British Insects’ series, including this one, are organized under the Delta system and are readily accessible for extending, improving and making corrections. Informed criticism and constructive input are of course welcome, and will be appropriately acknowledged. Alternatively, the complete Delta data set can be donated if required for teaching purposes, or to any professional or amateur entomologist or organization interested in developing them further.