Identifying and Recording Adult Caddisflies, Stoneflies and Mayflies

Stoneflies (Plecoptera), mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and caddisflies (Trichoptera) are three Orders of insects which are important to aquatic ecosystems. They are used as indicators of the quality of freshwater environments, provide an important food source for fish and are much valued by anglers. Caddisflies, mayflies and stoneflies are often encountered in the moth trapper’s by-catch, but mostly go unrecorded. The course aims to familiarise moth trappers, and others, with these three groups and how they can go about getting into recording them.

The Malham Tarn NNR supports about a third of the British Caddisfly fauna and about two thirds of the British Plecoptera fauna. Participants will be shown how to collect adults in the field using a range of techniques and how to accurately identify them in the laboratory and in some cases in the field. Collecting techniques will include light trapping, sweep sampling, pootering and malaise trapping. Techniques on how best to prepare specimens for identification and how to preserve specimens and store them will be demonstrated. Identification will be taken to species level using the most up to date keys. Juvenile specimens will be available to compare with the adults and the life histories of each Order will be discussed. Specimens of adults from areas other than Malham will also be available for identification.

By the end of the course participants will:

  • be able to differentiate between the three taxa,
  • recognise them in the field and identify some of them to Family and species level
  • know how to handle live specimens in the field
  • know what to look for in a moth trap and have learned how to capture and record the adults in a range of situations.

The course aims to encourage more people to become actively involved in recording these three taxa; which are largely under recorded in their adult stage: thereby contributing to our understanding of their ecology.

Sharon Flint has researched the dispersal and recruitment patterns of Adult Caddisflies, Stoneflies and Mayflies at PhD level and has used a wide range of sampling techniques as well as developing new ways of sampling and preservation of specimens and has over 20 years’ experience in freshwater entomology. She is also the YNU County Recorder for Mayflies, Stoneflies and Caddisflies and the creator of the YNU initiative, “Moth trapping for River Flies”.

Peter Flint is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and a Past President of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union. He has been involved in entomology for over 50 years, has a wide ranging knowledge of both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, and was curator of insects at Lancaster University for over 40 years.

Sharon and Peter Flint are authorities on the Caddisflies at Malham having carried out extensive survey and monitoring of this group over many years and have considerable knowledge of Yorkshire’s relict Caddisfly, The Malham Sedge, Agrypnetes crassicornis, with Malham Tarn its only known location in Britain. They have contributed papers and posters about Caddisfly ecology to the Malham Tarn Research Seminars. They are members of a small group of adult recorders, set up in 2016, by the National Recording Scheme organisers. The group aims to increase adult Mayfly, Stonefly and Caddisfly recording in the UK.

How to Apply

Please book online via or contact the Centre by phone on 01729 830331 or email

Please mention when enrolling in this Course!

Key Information

Start date:

13th September 2019 at 4:00pm


From £255


Field Studies Council




Ecology, Nature & Wildlife


Malham Tarn, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

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