Harry Green & Brett Westwood

Notes on this interesting and rare species have appeared in earlier Worcestershire Records, reporting on known distribution and asking for records. Over the last few years several people have sent us records and we have searched in many woods ourselves, and are continuing to do so. This work is of course based on earlier work by David Harding and Mike Taylor, and our aim is to exactly delineate the range of the species which is nationally confined to (more or less) north and west Worcestershire with some over the borders into Herefordshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire (especially in Wyre Forest). Land caddis is a Red Data Book 3 species - nationally rare, locally common.

The units of survey are mainly the 1x1 km squares of the national grid, although we are also recording site information. In the last couple of years the presence of land caddis has been confirmed in all the 1 km square of the main Wyre Forest block and in many squares elsewhere. In all we now have records from 135 1 km squares in 14 10 km squares.

As most readers will know the larval stage of this unusual caddis fly lives on dry land amongst leaf litter in woods. When full-grown the larval cases are about 10 mm long by 2-3 mm diameter, and may be slightly curved. The best time to find them is in late winter through to early summer. The larvae are present from around November onwards but in the early stages they are tiny and difficult to see - David Harding describes them as animated All-Bran! After growing through spring and summer they descend through the leaf litter perhaps into cracks in the soil, close-off the case ends with silk, and pupate. The adults emerge in September and October - the females are flightless and the males on the wing for about a fortnight. It is possible to find the old empty larval/pupal cases in leaf litter throughout the year as they seem fairly resistant to decay, especially in dry situations.

So if anyone is scrabbling about in leaf litter and finds anything resembling a caddis case (like the aquatic species it is constructed of small grains of sand, soil, and small fragments of plant material) please collect it and send it to Harry Green. (NB we do not need records from main blocks of Wyre Forest, Shrawley Woods, and Chaddesley Woods (which are well-recorded), but if you visit a wood on the periphery of these sites or elsewhere you may obtain a new record from a place we haven't visited! If you find and please record an accurate grid reference of the finding site, t+-he date, and a note on the type of woodland and its leaf litter.

Many thanks to those who have already sent us records during the last few years.

Worcestershire Record No 2 November 1997
Worcestershire Record No 4 May 1998

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