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

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The family is known from all faunal regions with 6 genera and approximately 100 species, of which one genus with 6 species is known from Australia.


Adults mostly small, greyish brown to black with rather slender wings; wing span 10-16 mm. The integument of at least the first few abdominal sterna has a reticulate pattern. Ocelli absent. Maxillary palps 2- or 3-segmented in males, 5-segmented in females. Head with large, ovoid, posterior setal warts. Mesoscutum with pair of small, rounded setal warts, scutellar warts often merge mesally into one. Wings narrow, coupled by row of hamuli; discoidal cell closed in fore wing, open in hind wing . Tibial spurs 2:2:4 (Australian species).
Larval head with labrum prominent, pro- and mesonotal sclerites well developed, metanotal sclerites small. Abdominal gills short and few in number; anal claw with comb-like row of teeth. Larvae construct helical, snail shell-like cases of sand grains and live in lotic and lentic waters from cool, fast-flowing streams to warm, littoral zones of lakes. The larvae feed mainly on algae and fine organic material.

  • Helicopsyche sp. larvae in case