Flightless females probably emit pheromones to attract the winged males. Illustration by Mike Langman
The land caddis is the only British species (of which there are about 200) to remain on terra firma, feeding on rotting leaves in the litter of ancient woods. It’s also our only caddis with a wingless adult female, rather dumpy looking, dark grey above and paler below.
2. Elusive resident
After its discovery in 1858 near Worcester, the land caddis wasn’t seen again in Britain for nearly a century.
3. Location, location
They are fairly widespread in continental woods, but in the British Isles they are found only in Worcestershire, Shropshire, east Herefordshire and far southern Staffordshire. At favourite locations such as the Wyre Forest they can be abundant.
4. Authentic disguise
So convincing is land caddis camouflage that wood ants often carry them off to use as living thatch on nest-mounds.
5. On the case
Young caddis hatch in autumn, a month after the eggs are laid. Each builds a case using silica grains and fragments of vegetation, shaped like a tiny horn of plenty, slightly curved and wider at the mouth.
6. Home improvements
A land caddis larva can turn round in its case and cut off the end if it gets too cramped.
When it rains land caddis have been seen crawling up onto vegetation and allowing themselves to drip-dry.