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Open Access Research article

A new classification of the long-horned caddisflies (Trichoptera: Leptoceridae) based on molecular data

Tobias Malm12* and Kjell Arne Johanson1

Author Affiliations

1 Entomology Department, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden

2 Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, SE-106 09 Stockholm, Sweden

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2011, 11:10  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-10

Published: 12 January 2011



Leptoceridae are among the three largest families of Trichoptera (caddisflies). The current classification is founded on a phylogenetic work from the 1980's, based on morphological characters from adult males, i.e. wing venation, tibial spur formula and genital morphology. In order to get a new opinion about the relationships within the family, we undertook a molecular study of the family based on sequences from five genes, mitochondrial COI and the four nuclear genes CAD, EF-1α, IDH and POL.


The resulting phylogenetic hypotheses are more or less congruent with the morphologically based classification, with most genera and tribes recovered as monophyletic, but with some major differences. For monophyly of the two subfamilies Triplectidinae and Leptocerinae, one tribe of each was removed and elevated to subfamily status; however monophyly of some genera and tribes is in question. All clades except Leptocerinae, were stable across different analysis methods.


We elevate the tribes Grumichellini and Leptorussini to subfamily status, Grumichellinae and Leptorussinae, respectively. We also propose the synonymies of Ptochoecetis with Oecetis and Condocerus with Hudsonema.