Jay Chauhan, Prof. Paul Wood and Dr Kate Mathers
Aquatic caddisflies are engineers. Not only do they adapt to suit their environment, but they also adapt their environment to suit themselves!
These caddisflies have built cases from a range of materials such as sand, vegetation, gravel, polystyrene balls and snail shells which are held together by silk that they produce themselves. Caddisflies are found in freshwater habitats like rivers, ponds and streams and these cases protect them from predation.
Jay’s Masters dissertation titled “SUD Ponds vs Non-SUD Ponds: Pollution Mitigation and Biodiversity values” used macroinvertebrates to study the biodiversity value of man-made urban ponds (known as Sustainable Urban Drainage ponds or SUD). Caddisflies were found in the ponds he sampled with cases built from vegetation, microplastics/litter, and shrimps.