Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Forestry and Environmental Conservation

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Catherine M. Bodinof Jachowski

Committee Member

Dr. John C. Morse

Committee Member

Dr. Michael S. Caterino

Committee Member

Dr. Brandon K. Peoples


The genus Pycnopsyche Banks, 1905 (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae) is the 2nd most species-rich genus of Nearctic Limnephilidae. Larvae and adults are ecologically diverse and widespread throughout eastern North America. Larvae construct cases from mineral or plant material and are frequently used by biomonitoring professionals at the species level to monitor trends in water quality. However, only two species of Pycnopsyche are currently separable as larvae, with diagnosis limited by the number of unknown larvae associated with known adults. Using morphological and molecular data, the phylogenetic relationships among Pycnopsyche species and species groups were inferred with Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood analyses to revise classification of the genus and to associate unknown larvae with known adults. Although the Bayesian phylogeny was better resolved, tree topologies were generally similar except the position of species groups in the higher phylogeny. The Bayesian consensus tree shows the P. luculenta, P. guttifera, P. limbata, and P. scabripennis Species Groups grouped as a soft polytomy in the higher phylogeny while the Maximum Likelihood tree shows the P. limbata and P. luculenta Species Groups and the P. guttifera and P. scabripennis Species Groups each as short branch monophyletic sister clades at higher-level nodes. Seven species groups are recognized based on current phylogenetic evidence, which include the P. gentilis, P. virginica, P. lepida, P. luculenta, P. guttifera, P. limbata, and P. scabripennis Species Groups. The number of valid Pycnopsyche spp. is reduced from 20 to 17 including synonymization of P. telea Oláh, 2019 [= P. flavata (Banks, 1914)], P. pani Wojtowicz and Flint, 2007 [= P. sonso (Milne, 1935)], P. antica (Walker, 1852) [= P. scabripennis (Rambur, 1842)], P. conspersa Banks, 1943 [= P. scabripennis], and description of a novel species, P. incongrua Wojtowicz & Etnier sp. nov. Adults can be identified morphologically using male and female forewing color patterning. Males can be identified by the presence or absence and shape of spines on tergite VIII, the shape of posterolateral and posterodorsal lobes on segment VIII, and by the shape of the intermediate, superior, and inferior appendages, phallus, and endothecal parameres. Females can be identified by the shape of the vulvar scale, supragenital plate, and segments IX and X. Fourteen species of larvae were associated and identified, including 13 by phylogenetic inference and 1 by metamorphotypes (P. limbata). Larvae can be identified morphologically using head color, setal shape and setal arrangement on the dorsal genae and frontoclypeus, genal muscle scar and scar ring color patterns, length and shape of the ventral apotome and labium, shape and size of the dorsal spacing hump and mesosternal sclerites on segment I, size and shape of the chloride epithelia, and differences in case material composition. Application of the data to biomonitoring is discussed including a posteriori inference of early and final instar larval Pycnopsyche case construction, which is hypothesized to serve as camouflage from predators during feeding and pupation.

Author ORCID Identifier




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