Plants and Animals

Limnephilus pallens A caddisfly

Key Characteristics

Adult Limnephilus caddisflies average 13-15 mm in body length length (LaFontaine 1981). Limnephilus pallens (formerly Zaporata pallens) has a fore-wing length of 7-8 mm, grayish and transparent in the male and reddish-brown in the female. Overall coloration is grey-brown, becoming darker at the sutures (Nimmo 1991). Limnephilus larval cases can be up to about 50 mm in length and  made from a wide range of materials including pebbles, sand, leaves, and wood. Larvae of this genus grow up to 29mm in length, with numerous branched gills covering the body segments. In some species, the dorsal side of the head and thorax is marked with alternating dark and light bands, while others are characterized by dark spotting in this area (Wiggins 1977).

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G3G4 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from vulnerable to apparently secure
State Rank: SU - Unrankable


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Other than a single record from the Michigan shore of Lake Huron, this species is only known to inhabit tundra ponds of the far north (Wiggins and Parker 1997).

Natural Community Types

  • Unknown

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management Recommendations

As little published information is available specific to Limnephilus pallens, research into the habitat requirements, biology and distribution of this species will help to guide future management. As it is currently known to inhabit cold northern ponds during the larval stage, protection of high quality sites will be beneficial. Additionally, temporary pools provide important habitat to a number of Limnephilus species (Wiggins and Parker 1997), and should also be protected. General caddisfly management calls for high water quality and healthy aquatic habitat structure through reductions in point and non-point source pollution, siltation prevention, and maintaining unobstructed and well buffered waterways.

Survey Methods

Adult caddisfly sampling methods include using light traps or aerial nets. Larvae can be collected through substrate sampling using an Ekman or Petersen grab, d-frame net, or naturalists' dredge. Gathering of river stones by hand is another successful method. Collected samples are then rinsed through a series of sieves and specimens hand-picked using forceps (New 1998).


Survey References

  • New, T.R. 1998. Invertebrate Surveys for Conservation. Oxford University Press, New York. 240pp.

Technical References

  • LaFontaine, G. 1981. Caddisflies. The Lyons Press, Guilford, CT. 324pp.
  • Nimmo, A.P. 1991. Seven new species of Limnephilus from Western North America with description of female of L. pallens (Banks) (Tricoptera, Limnephilidae, Limnephilinae, Limnephilini). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 93: 499-508.
  • Wiggins, G.B. 1977. Larvae of the North American Caddisfly Genera (Tricoptera). University of Toronto Press, Toronto. 401pp.
  • Wiggins, G.B. and C.R. Parker. 1997. Caddisflies (Trichoptera) of the Yukon, with Analysis of the Beringian and Holarctic Species of North America. Pp 787-866 in: Danks, H.V. and J.A. Downes (Eds.). Insects of the Yukon. Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods), Ottawa. 1034pp.