Historical and contemporary biological diversity of Minnesota caddisflies: A case study of landscape-level species loss and trophic composition shift

David C. Houghton, Ralph W. Holzenthal

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23 Scopus citations


The biological diversity reflected by nearly 300,000 caddisfly specimens collected throughout Minnesota since 1985 was compared with that of 25,000 specimens recorded prior to 1950 and was analyzed based on the 5 caddisfly regions of Minnesota. In the Lake Superior, Northern, and Southeastern regions, .90% of species known historically from each region were recovered and additional species were discovered. In the Northwestern and Southern regions—the most disturbed areas of Minnesota—species recovery ranged from 60 to 70%. Historical and contemporary assemblages were similar to each other in the former 3 regions and markedly different in the latter 2. Prior to 1950, species in all trophic functional groups were widespread in all regions. A similar pattern still exists in the Lake Superior, Northern, and Southeastern regions, whereas the Northwestern and Southern regions are now dominated by filtering collectors in all sizes of lakes and streams. Over 65% of species extirpated from any region were in the long-lived families Limnephilidae and Phryganeidae, and 70% of these same species were in the shredder functional group. Almost 30% of the statewide fauna has been found from,5 localities since 1950, suggesting a degree of imperilment on par with that of freshwater bivalves, gastropods, and fish. These observed losses of biodiversity and changes in trophic composition have probably occurred as a result of anthropogenic disturbance throughout most of the northcentral US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-495
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the North American Benthological Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Primary funding for this research came from a US Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results Fellowship to DCH and substantial support from the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Tax Checkoff and Minnesota State Park Nature Store Sales through the MNDNR Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program. Special thanks are due to R. J. Baker, MNDNR, for assistance with the latter funding source. Further support to DCH came from a Doctoral Dissertation Special Grant from the Graduate School, University of Minnesota (UM); several grants from the Dayton and Wilkie Fund, Bell Museum of Natural History, UM; and from grants from the Chiang Travel Fund, Department of Entomology, UM. Further support to RWH came from the UM Insect Collection grants AES0017015 and AES0017017.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010 by The North American Benthological Society.


  • Aquatic
  • Biodiversity
  • Caddisfly
  • Conservation
  • Extirpation
  • Insect
  • Minnesota
  • Trichoptera


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