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Free-living caddis (Tiphobiosis)

Taxonomic group

Hydrobiosidae: Tiphobiosis

Diagnostic features

The New Zealand hydrobiosid caddis larvae have chelae (‘pincers”) on their forelegs. Tiphobiosis larvae have unusually short legs, small chelae and a small head. The prosternal plate (shield-like plate between the forelegs) is much wider than long and bean-shaped (if visible).

Typical habitats

Tiphobiosis larvae are among the least common hydrobiosids in streams. They are more suited to shallow seepage habitats.


They are predators, feeding on other freshwater invertebrates.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 6
  • Soft bottom: 9.3

The tolerance values (ranging from 0 to 10) give an indication of which are the sensitive taxa (values of 8 or more) and which are the tolerant taxa (values of 3 or less). For more information see: Indicator species

Tiphobiosis larvae are most common in seepage habitats and may therefore not be useful indicators of stream water quality. However, they have been assigned tolerance values of 6 (hard bottom sites) and 9.3 (soft bottom sites).