Smitten by a caddisfly

Caddis-sketch-page-k-hocker A walk along the road yesterday–partly cloudy day, sun and shadow alternating, temps in the 40s. Although things are melting fast, the ground is still frozen in many spots, and there's some snow left. Ice remains in many of the ditches. Still, a few caddisflies were drifting dreamily across the highway, their pale hindwings flickering.

I followed one until it touched down beside a puddle, then crept up on it, thinking I might be able to capture it gently and take it home to draw. Stealth, as it turned out, was unnecessary. I was able to reach out and scoop up the immobile insect from the puddle edge; it didn't move a bit. I carried it back to the car in my hand, my fingers cramping as I tried simultaneously to avoid crushing it and keep from providing it with escape opportunities.

Once at the car, I couldn't find a container, of course, so I transferred the obliging insect into a blown-up and tied-off plastic bag for the drive home and a drawing session.

What a lovely little beastie! By the lavish maxillary palps, she's female. Based on her early emergence and the pattern of her wings, I'm figuring she's a limnephilid, genus Psychoglypha ("carved mind?" "mind writing?"), known to flyfishers as a "snow sedge." I wound up quite smitten by her, and was pleased to be able to release her unharmed. 

2 thoughts on “Smitten by a caddisfly

  1. Nice find and illustrations – I noticed one of these flying by my house within the last week or so. I had previously photographed a Psychoglypha sp my kids brought to me. I the biologist at Totem Park (who was also an aquatic invertebrate enthusiast) and he said based on what he had found sampling streams, it was probably P. subborealis, but could also be P. alascensis.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Matt. I did notice the Psychoglypha photo linked on your blog… in fact, it was one of the inspirations to do a caddisfly sketch page. Thanks for the additional info on the species, too.

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