Limnephilus secludens

Geographic Range

Limnephilus secludens is found in the Holarctic region of North America (Vshivkova, 2006). The species is most abundant around stagnant or slow-moving freshwater wetlands (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). (Vshivkova, 2006; Wissinger, et al., 2003)


Limnephilus secludens is found in aquatic habitats during larval and pupal stages, and then lives in terrestrial vegetation during the adult stage (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). Members of this species can occupy a variety of freshwater habitats, but they thrive in stagnant or slow-moving (< 5 cm/s) water systems (Wissinger, Brown, Jannot, 2003). Such habitats include autumnal or permanent ponds, wetlands, marshes, and streams (Vshivkova, 2006). (Vshivkova, 2006; Wissinger, et al., 2003)

  • Aquatic Biomes
  • lakes and ponds
  • rivers and streams
  • temporary pools
  • brackish water
  • Range elevation
    400 to 3000 m
    1312.34 to 9842.52 ft
  • Range depth
    0.5 to 1.5 m
    1.64 to 4.92 ft

Physical Description

There is little information available on the physical appearance of L. secludens specifically, but some descriptions have been written regarding the genus Limnephilus that may apply to the species. Like most insects, the body is made up of three segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen. The head contains eyes, ocelli, antennae, and mouthparts (Vshivkova, 2006). Species of Limnephilus are often tan in color, though some species can be dark gray. Additionally, species of this genus are typically 15 to 20 mm in length (Houghton, 2012). A close relative to L. secludens (L. externus) was used as reference for the average mass of the species, which is 6.08 to 14.4 mg for females and 5.8 to 7.6 mg for males (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). The same close relative was also used to obtain the average wingspan, which is 16.2 to 18.0 mm. Sexual dimorphism is present in this species, with females generally being larger than males. Individuals of L. secludens also emerge from their eggs as larvae, develop into pupae, and finally metamorphose into adults (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). (Houghton, 2012; Vshivkova, 2006; Wissinger, et al., 2003)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • Range mass
    0.0058 to 0.0144 g
    0.00 to 0.00 oz
  • Range length
    15 to 20 mm
    0.59 to 0.79 in
  • Range wingspan
    16.2 to 18.0 mm
    0.64 to 0.71 in


Individuals of L. secludens emerge as larvae from their eggs in late autumn. However, they remain in a gelatinous matrix which was deposited with the eggs through winter and spring, and resume further development in the summer (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). Larvae of L. secludens go through 4 or 5 larval stages before they pupate in late summer. They are in the pupal stage for only a brief period before they undergo metamorphosis, become adults and emerge from the water in early autumn. Adults of L. secludens mate soon after emergence, and the females move into the surrounding terrestrial vegetation until later in the season. During this time, females undergo ovarian diapause, in which their fertilized eggs don't develop and are not deposited. Finally, in mid- to late autumn, females deposit their eggs in gelatinous egg masses under rocks and logs near the water's edge (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). (Wissinger, et al., 2003)


The mating systems of L. secludens appears to be unknown at this time.

Breeding occurs between August and September; soon after L. secludens adults have emerged from the water following metamorphosis (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). After mating, the females undergo ovarian diapause and do not deposit their eggs immediately. Instead, the females disperse into the nearby terrestrial vegetation until October. The females then deposit an average of 90 eggs in a gelatinous egg mass under rocks or logs (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). Adults of L. secludens are assumed to die soon after egg deposition, since the lifespan of an adult is only a few weeks (Houghton, 2012). (Houghton, 2012; Wissinger, et al., 2003)

  • Breeding interval
    L. secludens breeds once yearly.
  • Breeding season
    Breeding season of L. secludens is between August and September.
  • Range eggs per season
    34 to 145
  • Average eggs per season
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    7 to 9 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    7 to 9 months

Adults of L. secludens do not provide parental care to their offspring (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). (Wissinger, et al., 2003)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement


From the time they are deposited as eggs to when they die as adults, L. secludens individuals typically have a lifespan of about 1 year (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). Adults of L. secludens only live for a few weeks, from emergence to egg deposition (Houghton, 2012). Predation and freezing are the greatest threats to L. secludens larvae (Wissinger, Brown, and Jannot, 2003). There is no information available on the lifespan of L. secludens in captivity. (Houghton, 2012; Wissinger, et al., 2003)

  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    1 years
  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    0.5 to 1 years


This species is solitary, with its individuals remaining in the same general area for the entirety of its life. Adults are nocturnal, and are most active in the evenings (Houghton, 2012). Interestingly, L. secludens is among the case-building caddisfly species. During development, larvae are able to make cases composed of silk and a combination of organic and mineral material for protection. Larvae also make a case when preparing to pupate (Houghton, 2012). Additionally, L. secludens has been known to be territorial and even cannibalistic during its larval stages when water levels get too low (Bird et al., 2019). (Bird, et al., 2019; Houghton, 2012)

Home Range

Individuals of L. secludens generally do not disperse farther than 100 m from their natal stream or pond (Houghton, 2012). There is no information regarding whether individuals of L. secludens hold territories. (Houghton, 2012)

Communication and Perception

There is little information available regarding how individuals of L. secludens communicate with each other. There is some information about aggressive behaviors, which includes tactile communication such as foreleg wrestling and biting (Bird et al., 2019). The species most likely perceives the environment through visual and tactile cues, since individuals have eyes and antennae (Vshivkova, 2006). (Bird, et al., 2019; Vshivkova, 2006)

Food Habits

Adults of L. secludens actually do not eat (Vshivkova, 2006). As larvae, however, they are known to be herbivores and detritivores. Larvae of L. secludens generally eat aquatic vegetation and detritus (Houghton, 2012), but have been known to prey upon the larvae of other species occupying the same area, or even cannibalize those of its own species when water levels are too low. Some species that L. secludens has been known to prey upon include Asynarchus nigriculus, L. externus, and L. picturatus (Bird et al., 2019). (Bird, et al., 2019; Houghton, 2012; Vshivkova, 2006)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • leaves


The larvae of L. secludens are able to make protective cases by combining silk and organic or mineral materials as an anti-predator adaptation. There is little information about the predators of this species, but it has been found that the larvae of L. secludens and other caddisfly species sometimes prey upon L. secludens larvae (Bird et al., 2019). Other predators of this species include insectivorous fish and animals (Houghton, 2012). (Bird, et al., 2019; Houghton, 2012)

  • Known Predators
    • Insectivorous fish
    • Insectivorous animals
    • Caddisfly species

Ecosystem Roles

This species is important to aquatic environments as secondary producers. Individuals of L. secludens breaks down plant matter and also acts as a food source for insectivorous fish and other animals (Houghton, 2012). There is no information regarding parasitism in this species.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Relatively little is known about the economic importance of L. secludens. However, with further research, the species holds high potential value as a water quality biomonitoring species due to its susceptibility to pollution and habitat destruction (Houghton, 2012). (Houghton, 2012)

  • Positive Impacts
  • research and education

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known negative effects of this species on humans.

Conservation Status

Little is known about the conservation status of L. secludens. The IUCN Red List ranked a close relative (L. atlanticus) as "near threatened." The State of Michigan List gave another close relative (L. pallens) a state status of "special concern," which means the species is either rare or of uncertain abundance. For the U.S. status, however, the species is not listed.


Danielle Chaffee (author), Minnesota State University Mankato, Robert Sorensen (editor), Minnesota State University, Mankato, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


helps break down and decompose dead plants and/or animals

brackish water

areas with salty water, usually in coastal marshes and estuaries.


an animal that mainly eats meat


an animal that mainly eats decomposed plants and/or animals


particles of organic material from dead and decomposing organisms. Detritus is the result of the activity of decomposers (organisms that decompose organic material).


a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


an animal that mainly eats leaves.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


mainly lives in water that is not salty.


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


a distribution that more or less circles the Arctic, so occurring in both the Nearctic and Palearctic biogeographic regions.

World Map

Found in northern North America and northern Europe or Asia.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


remains in the same area


offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


lives alone


a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.


uses touch to communicate


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.


defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement


uses sight to communicate


Bird, M., M. Mlambo, R. Wasserman, T. Dalu, A. Holland, J. Day, M. Villet, D. Bilton, H. Barber-James, L. Brendonck. 2019. Deeper knowledge of shallow waters: reviewing the invertebrate fauna of southern African temporary wetlands. Hydrobiologia, 827/1: 89-121.

Houghton, D. 2012. Biological diversity of the Minnesota caddisflies (Insecta, Trichoptera). Zookeys, 189: 1-389.

Vshivkova, T. 2006. Phylogeny of family Limnephilidae (Insecta: Trichoptera) with emphasis on tribe Limnephilini (subfamily Limnephilinae). All Dissertations, 44: 1-576.

Wissinger, S., W. Brown, J. Jannot. 2003. Caddisfly life histories along permanence gradients in high-altitude wetlands in Colorado (U.S.A.). Freshwater Biology, 48/2: 255-270.