What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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The family is known from all faunal regions; it is subdivided into 3 subfamilies-Hydropsychinae, Diplectroninae and Macronematinae-and contains more than 900 species in 50 genera of which 27 species in 10 genera, representing all three subfamilies, occur in Australia.


A large family, found throughout the world in a great variety of habitats; some species small, but the majority medium to rather large with wing span 8-40 mm. Ocelli absent. Maxillary palps 5-segmented in both sexes, but reduced or absent in certain genera of Macronematinae; segment 5 usually as long as, or even longer than, the other 4 segments together, in a few genera about the same length as segment 4. Antennae slender, filiform, about as long as fore wing, except in Macronematinae, where they are much longer. Mesoscutum without setal warts; scutellum with one median setal wart. Wing venation complete; discoidal and median cells closed in fore wing; hind wing from slightly to much wider than the fore wing. S5 in both sexes of many taxa with slender lateral filament, lobe or obtuse projection, with aperture of internal gland apically. Males of some genera with pair of large, reticulated, membranous, internal sacks in abdominal segments 6 and 7; their functions are not known. Tibial spurs variable 0-2:2-4:2-4.
Larvae construct fixed retreats of plant and rock fragments; a capture net is constructed in front to strain food particles from flowing water, therefore almost all species are confined to a variety of lotic water habitats. Thoracic segments covered with sclerites; abdominal segments with lateral and ventral abdominal gills, branched from a single basal stalk. Abdominal segments covered with fine setae; anal prolegs project freely from abdomen, claws with brush of long setae. Two groups of fine transverse ridges present on the ventral surface of the head in most species; ridges produce sound when rubbed by the raised edge of the fore femur. Larvae feed on algae, organic particles and small invertebrates captured in the nets. The pupal chamber is constructed from small stones and sand grains, sometimes incorporating plant debris; the inner lining is spun into a soft silken cocoon.

  • Larvae of Hydropsychinae in case

  • Cheumatopsyche sp.