FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Caddis Fly Larvae ID with Microscopes 1: Families

  • Location: FSC London: Bushy Park
  • Tutor: Steve Brooks
  • Date: Thursday 21 November 2019
  • Times: 10 am - 4 pm
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Course Fee: £5
  • Course Fee + Identification Key: £11

This course is fully booked on this date but you can join the waiting list (by scrollling to the bottom of the page) in case space becomes available or it is run on another date.

There are almost 200 species of caddisfly (order Trichoptera) in the UK, the aquatic larval stages are widely used to monitor the health of freshwater. Caddisfly larvae are well-known because they make themselves protective cases by spinning together stones, sand, leaves and twigs with a silk they secrete from glands around their mouths. Most larvae live in these shelters, which can either be fixed or transportable, though a few species are free-swimming and only construct shelters when they’re ready to pupate. Some of the families make distinctive cases or have other distinctive features which can be viewed under a microscope.

This course will provide an introduction to caddisflies, their natural history, how to identify the larvae to family level using microscopes and keys and an introduction to species level ID as well as information on how to record caddisflies. Please feel free to bring any specimens you may have along with you to identify on the course.


Please note that this course may involve the use of specimens that have been killed and preserved.  This course is intended for adults only so it is not suitable for children. 


Steve Brooks has been interested in freshwater insects since an early age. He studied freshwater ecology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and freshwater insect taxonomy during a 38-year career at the Natural History Museum (London). He has since retired but continues to take an active interest in all things freshwater. He is particularly keen to encourage amateur enthusiasts to become involved recording and monitoring freshwater insects, especially through engagement in the riverfly monitoring initiative to assess river water quality. Currently Steve is chair of the Riverfly Partnership, sits on the Conservation Committee of the British Dragonfly Society and is a Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum.

This course is heavily subsidised by the FSC BioLinks Project (funded by the Heritage Fund).

Booking Options:

  • £5.00 to attend the course.
  • £11.00 if you wish to attend and purchase a copy of the FSC AIDGAP Simple Key to Caddis Larvae, intended for use with living specimens, larvae are keyed to species level where this is possible using features visible with a hand lens. Other larvae are keyed out to genus. Copies of the key will be available to use on the course for free, this option is for any attendees who wish to take their interest further after the course. 

Further Information

Course Brochure

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This course is currently fully booked. You can request to join the waiting list.

Course Fee : £5

Course Fee + Identification Key : £11

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