Caddisflies undergo complete metamorphoses. This simply means the caddisfly
starts its life as an egg; then changes to a larva; changes to a pupa; and
finally changes to an adult. Caddisflies and midges have one more stage of life
to imitate than the mayflies and stoneflies.
The caddisfly larva comes in two basic forms - cased and uncased. To get a little
more technical, they come in five basic varieties - the free-living caddises, net
spinners, saddle case makers, purse case makers and tube case makers. The
larvae, uncased or the cased variety, out of their cases look like worms. They
are segmented and have six legs and of course, a head.
When the larvae mature they enter the pupal stage of life for a relatively short
time. The cased variety seal themselves inside their cases. The free-living
variety build retreats and stay there until the metamorphosis is complete. You
may be more familiar with a butterfly that lives in a cocoon in its pupa stage of
life. When the pupae come out of their retreats, they are called pharate adults.
They are fully formed but they are still in a skin with their wings compressed.
This is when most of the species are most subject to being eaten by trout. When
we imitate the pupa, we are imitating the pharate adult.
Most of them emerge on the surface of the water but other species may rise to
the surface and run across the water to the banks. Still others climb out onto
rocks or the bank and hatch into adults.
The adult caddisflies mate in the bushes or on the banks or rocks. The females
return to the water and lay their eggs in different ways. Some deposit their eggs
on the surface. Some skitter across the water, knocking them off. Some crawl or
dive to the bottom and deposit their eggs. Most caddisflies die away from the
water but others die during the egg-laying process. You should know the egg-
laying habits of each caddisfly genus, otherwise, you really do not know what
you are doing when you imitate them.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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