Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Species-level Identification of Larvae of Cheumatopsyche (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae)

Tracy L. Hill and John C. Morse. Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences, Clemson University, 114 Long Hall, Clemson, SC 29634

The ability of workers to identify aquatic macroinvertebrate taxa to the species level strengthens and refines water quality bioassessment. However, many of the taxa encountered in bioassessment sampling are still not identifiable to the species level due to a lack of diagnostic information for the aquatic life stage. One example is the larvae of species of the caddisfly genus Cheumatopsyche (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae), the adults of which are identifiable to species but the larvae of almost none of which are diagnosable. In this study, museum specimens of Cheumatopsyche spp. larvae from South Carolina were segregated into morphotypes based on an array of characters including color patterns, setal arrangements, and sclerite shapes. To test the genetic congruity of each morphotype, the mitochondrial COI sequences of freshly collected specimens will be compared.  Then, each genetically supported morphotype will be matched with its corresponding species name by comparing its COI sequences with those from freshly caught and identified adults. The ultimate goal is a larval key for species of the genus Cheumatopsyche for the southeastern United States.