Quick facts

Common name(s): land caddisfly, terrestrial caddisfly

Scientific name: Enoicyla pusilla

Order: Trichoptera 

Habitat: woodland

Diet: decaying leaf litter and moss

Predators: birds, small mammals, other invertebrates

Origin: thought to be native, although some suggest it may have been introduced from Europe

What do land caddisflies look like?

Larvae: the larvae go through five stages (instars) before turning into adults. They spin a special silk to bind together grains of sand and pieces of leaf litter into protective cases which they drag around with them.

Males: adult males have long translucent wings and antennae that are the same length as their bodies.

Females: land cadissfly females are wingless with dark brown bodies and the same long antennae.

Credit: Derek Lefley / WTML

What do land caddisflies eat?

As larvae, these tiny creatures forage through the leaf litter and mosses of the woodland floor, feeding on decaying plant matter, slime molds and algae.

Once they become adults, caddisflies stop feeding to concentrate on breeding, then die after a few weeks. 

How do land caddisflies breed?

Mating takes place in late summer and early autumn once the adults have developed and emerged. As they only live for a couple of weeks in this stage, the business of breeding takes precedence over everything else, even feeding!

Females release pheromones to attract males, and after mating lay their eggs. The eggs hatch after two or three weeks, usually in October and November.

Did you know?

The Finnish word for caddisfly means 'water butterfly'.

Where do land caddisflies live?

Unlike every other of the 200 species of caddisfly in the UK, land caddisflies spend their entire lifecycle away from water. Instead they are found in moist conditions in the leaf litter, bark crevices and mosses of woodland.

Land caddisflies are found across Europe but have a very restricted range in the UK. They are mostly limited to the Wyre Forest and other woodlands in Worcestershire, Shropshire and Herefordshire. Pepper Wood, a Woodland Trust wood near Bromsgrove, proudly counts them among its wildlife.

Signs and spotting tips

Search for the distinctive cases of land caddisfly larvae among the leaf litter between December and April. You'll need to look carefully though - they are only 8-9mm long and are often sandy coloured, meaning they blend in well with their surroundings.

Threats and conservation

As this species has such a limited range, careful woodland management is important to ensure the caddisfly has enough of the habitat and special conditions it needs to thrive.  

Coppicing is a key management tool that helps to open up areas of dense woodland and ensure trees of different ages can add variety and structure.

Help us double the size of Pepper Wood

Your support will mean we can provide more important habitat for the land caddisfly at one of its strongholds.

Help us buy land next door

More on woodland invertebrates