Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 747–761 | Cite as

The Use of Fossil Caddisfly Assemblages in the Reconstruction of Flow Environments from Floodplain Paleochannels of the River Trent, England



This paper examines the use of fossil larval trichopteran communities to investigate and describe the flow environment of a paleochannel network in the middle reaches of the River Trent floodplain (UK). Previous research utilising fossil insect communities (principally O. Coleoptera, O. Chironomidae) has focussed upon climate reconstruction. However, larval trichopteran communities (O. Trichoptera) also offer an aquatic signal, giving information regarding channel habitat structure and flow environments. The taxonomic diversity of each fossil community and the categorisation of each taxon into a known flow group, using the “LIFE” methodology, facilitates the reconstruction of the river flow conditions at each site based upon known faunal associations with mean flow velocity. A total of 49 trichopteran taxa were recorded from 17 paleochannels (n = 170 samples). Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) identified a environmental gradient on the first DCA axis that reflected variability in flow, from rapid/fast flow to slow flowing and standing water habitats. In addition, two distinct faunal groups were identified on the second DCA axis characteristic of (i) small nutrient rich lentic habitats; and (ii) larger water bodies displaying features of both lentic, lotic and ephemeral habitats where marginal vegetation is abundant on a mineral substratum. The results demonstrate that larval Trichoptera can be used in paleolimnological research to reconstruct a flow signal and provide additional information regarding the aquatic habitat structure. Their wider use in describing the aquatic environment, in association with other proxies (e.g., Chironomidae and Coleoptera), may provide a more holistic understanding of floodplain paleoenvironment succession.


Flow environments Fossil insects LIFE methodology Paleoecology Trichoptera 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alstad, D.N. 1982Current speed and filtration rate link caddisfly phylogeny and distributional patterns on a stream gradientScience216533534Google Scholar
  2. Bacher, I., Waringer, J.A. 1996Hydraulic microdistribution of cased caddis larvae in an Austrian mountain brookInt. Revue Ges. Hydrobiol.81541554Google Scholar
  3. Barnard, P.C. 1985An annotated check-list of the Trichoptera of Britain and IrelandEntomol. Gaz.363145Google Scholar
  4. Beamish M., Monckton A., Brown A.G., Greenwood M.T. and Smith D.N. 2002. Late Glacial, Neolithic, Bronze Age and medieval environments from Hemington Quarry (Eastern Extension), Castle Donington, Leicestershire. University of Leicester Archeological Services, Report No. 2002/166. 83 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Brooks, S.J., Birks, H.J.B. 2000aChironomid-inferred Late-glacial air temperatures at Whitrig Bog, southeast ScotlandJ. Quater. Sci.15759764CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brooks, S.J., Birks, H.J.B. 2000bChironomid-inferred Late-glacial and early Holocene mean July air temperatures for Kråkenes Lakewestern NorwayJ. Paleolimnol.237789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooks, S.J., Birks, H.J.B. 2004The dynamics of Chironomidae (Insecta: Diptera) assemblages in response to environmental change during the past 700 years on SvalbardJ. Paleolimnol.31483498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brooks, S.J., Udachin, V., Williamson, B.J. 2005Impact of copper melting on lakes in the southern Ural Mountains, Russiainferred from chironomidsJ. Paleolimnol.33229241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown A.G. 1997. Alluvial Geoarcheology: Floodplain Archaeology and Environmental Change. Cambridge Manuals in Archeology. Cambridge University Press, 377 pp.Google Scholar
  10. Brown A.G. 1998. Fluvial evidence of the Medieval warm record and the Late Medieval climate deterioration in Europe. In: Benito G., Baker V.R. and Gregory K. (eds), Palaeohydrology and Environmental Change, pp. 43–52.Google Scholar
  11. Brown A.G. and Quine T. 1999. Fluvial processes and environmental change: an overview. In: Brown A.G. and Quine T.A. (eds), Fluvial Processes and Environmental Change, pp. 1–27.Google Scholar
  12. Brown, A.G., Cooper, L., Salisbury, C.R., Smith, D. 2001Late Holocene channel changes of the middle Trent: channel response to a thousand-year flood recordGeomorphology396982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brown, S.A., Ruxton, G.D., Pichup, R.W., Humphries, S. 2005Seston capture by Hydropsyche siltalai and the accuracy of capture efficiency estimatesFreshwater Biol.50113126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bunn, S.E., Arthington, A.H. 2002Basic principals and ecological consequences of altered flow regimes for aquatic biodiversityEnviron. Manage.30492507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Castella, E., Richardot-Coulet, M., Roux, C., Richoux, P. 1984Macroinvertebrates as describers of morphological and hydrological types of aquatic ecosystems abandoned by the Rhone riverHydrobiologia119219225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Clausen, B., Biggs, B.J.F. 1997Relationships between biota and hydrological indices in New Zealand streamsFreshwater Biol.38327342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Clay P. 1992. A Norman mill dam at Hemington Fields, Castle Donington, Leicestershire. In: Needham S. and Macklin M.G. (eds), Alluvial Archeology in Britain. Oxbow Monograph 27, Oxford, pp. 163–168.Google Scholar
  18. Coope, G.R. 1986

    Coleoptera analysis

    Berglund, B.E. eds. Handbook of Holocene Palaeoecology and PalaeohydrologyWileyChichester703714
    Google Scholar
  19. Coope, G.R. 2000Middle Devensian (Weichselian) coleoptera assemblages from Earth, Cambridgeshire (UK) and their bearing on the interpretation of ‘Full glacial’ floras and faunasJ. Quaternary. Sci.15779788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Coope, G.R. 2004Several million years of stability among insect species because of, or in spite of, Ice Age climatic instabilityPhil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B359209214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Coope, G.R., Field, M.H., Gibbard, P.L., Greenwood, M., Richards, A.E. 2002Palaeontology and biostratigraphy of Middle Pleistocene river sediments in the Mathon Memberat Mathon, Herefordshire, EnglandProc. Geol. Assoc.113237258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cooper, L.P. 2003

    Hemington Quarry, Castle Donington, Leicestershire, UK: a decade beneath the alluvium in the confluence zone

    Howard, A.J.Macklin, M.G.Passmore, D.G. eds. Alluvial Archeology in EuropeA.A.Balkema PublishersLisse2741
    Google Scholar
  23. Czachorowski, S. 1994aClassification of small water bodies on the basis of the presence of caddisfliesEkologia Polskas424159Google Scholar
  24. Czachorowski, S. 1994bHabitat distribution of caddis larvae in the northeastern Polish lakesBraueria211516Google Scholar
  25. Decamps, H., Larrouy, G., Trivellato, D. 1975Approche hydrodynamique de la microdistribution d’invertebres benthiques en eau couranteAnn. de Limnol.1179100Google Scholar
  26. Dinnin M. 1997. Holocene Beetle Assemblages from the Lower Trent Floodplain at Bole Ings, NottinghamshireUK. In: Ashworth A.C., Buckland P.C. and Sadler J.P. (eds), Quaternary Entomology – An Inordinate Fondness for Insects. Quaternary Proceedings, No. 5, pp. 83–104.Google Scholar
  27. Drysdale, R.N., Carthew, K.D., Taylor, M.P. 2003Larval caddis-fly nets and retreats: a unique biosedimentary paleocurrent indicator for fossil tufa depositsSediment. Geol.161207215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Edington, J.M. 1968Habitat preferences in net-spinning caddis larvae with special reference to the influence of water velocityJ. Anim. Ecol.37675692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Edington, J.M., Hildrew, A.G. 1995Caseless Caddis Larvae: A Key with Ecological NotesFreshwater Biological Association, Scientific Publication 53Ambleside1134Google Scholar
  30. Ellis, C.E., Brown, A.G. 1998Archaeomagnetic dating and palaeochannel sediments: data from the Medieval channel fills at Hemington, LeicestershireJ. Archeol. Sci.25149163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Environment Agency2004Hydroecology: Integration for modern regulationEnvironment AgencyBristol130Google Scholar
  32. Extence, C.A., Balbi, D.M., Chadd, R.P. 1999River flow indexing using British macroinvertebrates: a framework for setting hydroecological objectivesRegul. Rivers: Res. Mgmt.15543574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Frissell, C.A., Liss, W.J., Warren, C.E., Hurley, M.D. 1986A hierarchical framework for stream habitat classification: viewing streams in a watershed contextEnviron. Manage.10199214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Greenwood, M.T., Bickerton, M.A., Petts, G.E. 2001Assessing adult Trichoptera communities of small streams: a case study from Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire, UKAquatic Conserv.: Mar. Freshwater Ecosyst.1193107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Greenwood, M.T., Agnew, M.D., Wood, P.J. 2003The use of caddisfly fauna (Insecta: Trichoptera) to characterise the Late-glacial River TrentEnglandJ. Quaternary. Sci.18645661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Greenwood M.T. and Smith D.N. 2005. A survey of coleoptera from sedimentary deposits from the Trent Valley. In: Smith D.N., Brickley M.B. and Smith K.W.S. (eds), Fertile Ground: Papers in Honour of Professor Susan Limbrey. Symposia of the Association for Environmental Archeology 22,Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 53–67.Google Scholar
  37. Hickin, N.E. 1967Caddis larvaeHutchinsonLondon476Google Scholar
  38. Hiley, P.D. 1973The taxonomy of certain caddis-fly larvae: together with an investigation into factors limiting the distribution of selected speciesDepartment of Zoology, University of Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon Tyne204Unpublished ThesisGoogle Scholar
  39. Hiley, P.D. 1976The identification of British Limnephilid larvae (Trichoptera)Syst. Entomol.1147167Google Scholar
  40. Howard R. 1997. Dendrochronology. In: Cooper L. and Ripper S (eds), The Hemington Bridges. University of Leicester. ULAS report 97/27.Google Scholar
  41. Howard, A.J., Bateman, M.D., Garton, D., Green, F.M.L., Wagner, P., Priest, V. 1999aEvidence of Late Devensian and early Flandrian processes and environments in the Idle Valley at Tiln, North NottinghamshireProc. Yorks. Geol. Soc.52383393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Howard A.J., Smith D.N., Graton D., Hillam J. and Pearce M. 1999b. Middle to Late Holocene Environments in the Middle to Lower Trent Valley. In: Brown A.G. and Quine T.A (eds), Fluvial Processes and Environmental Change. John Wiley and Sons Ltd., pp. 165–178.Google Scholar
  43. Ivol, J-M., Guinand, B., Richoux, P., Tachet, H. 1997Longitudinal changes in Trichoptera and Coleoptera assemblages and environmental conditions in the Loire River (France)Arch. Hydrobiol.138525557Google Scholar
  44. Knight, D., Howard, A.J. 1995Archeology and Alluvium in the Trent ValleyTrent and Peak Archeological TrustNottingham206Google Scholar
  45. Knight, D., Howard, A.J. 2004Trent Valley Landscapes. Trent Valley GeoarcheologyHeritage Marketing and Publishers Ltd.King’s Lynn, UK202Google Scholar
  46. Langdon, P.G., Barber, K.E., Lomas-Clarke (previously Morriss), S.H. 2004Reconstructing climate and environmental change in northern England through chironomid and pollen analyses: evidence from Talkin Tarn, CumbriaJ. Paleolimnol.32197213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lepneva, S.G. 1970Fauna of the U.S.S.R. Trichoptera 1, Larvae and Pupae of Annulipalpia. Translation from 1966 Russian editionIsrael Program for Scientific TranslationsJerusalem635Google Scholar
  48. Lepneva, S.G. 1971Fauna of the U.S.S.R. Trichoptera 2, Larvae and Pupae of Integripalpia Translation from 1966 Russian editionIsrael Program for Scientific TranslationsJerusalem559Google Scholar
  49. Lytle, D.A., Poff, N.L. 2004Adaptations to natural flow regimesTrends Ecol. Evol.1994100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mobes-Hansen, B., Waringer, J.A. 1998The influence of hydraulic stress on microdistribution patterns of zoobenthos in a sandstone brook (Weidlingbach, Lower Austria)Int. Rev. Hydrobiol.83381396Google Scholar
  51. Moseley, K.A. 1978A Preliminary report on Quaternary fossil Caddis larvae (Trichoptera)Quaternary News26212Google Scholar
  52. Nilsson, C., Svedmark, M. 2002Basic principles and ecological consequence of changing water regimes: riparian plant communitiesEnviron. Manage.30468480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Osborne, P.J. 1974An Insect Assemblage of Early Flandrian Age from Lea Marston, Warwickshireand its bearing on the Contemporary Climate and EcologyQuaternary Res.4471486Google Scholar
  54. Petersen, L.B-M. 1987Field and laboratory studies of the biology of three species of Hydropsyche (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae)University of LundSwedenPh.D. ThesisGoogle Scholar
  55. Petts, G.E, Amoros, C. 1996Fluvial HydrosystemsChapman and HallLondon322Google Scholar
  56. Puckridge, J.T., Sheldon, F., Walker, K.F., Boulton, A.J. 1998Flow variability and the ecology of large riversMar. Freshw. Res.495572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Roux, C., Castella, E. 1987

    Les peuplements larvaires de Trichopteres des anciens lits fluviaux dans trios secteurs de la plaine alluviale du Haut-Rhone Francais

    Bournaud, M.Tachet, H. eds. Proc. of the 5th Int. Symp. on TrichopteraDr W. JunkDordrecht, The Netherlands
    Google Scholar
  58. Sadler J.P. and Jones J.C. 1997. Chironomids as Indicators of Holocene Environmental Change in the British Isles. In: Ashworth A.C., Buckland P.C. and Sadler J.P (eds), Quaternary Entomology – An Inordinate Fondness for Insects. Quaternary Proceedings No. 5, pp. 219–232.Google Scholar
  59. Salisbury, C.R. 1985Taming the TrentEast Midl. Archeol.1512Google Scholar
  60. Salisbury, C.R. 1992

    The archeological evidence for palaeochannels in the Trent valley

    Needham, S.Macklin, M.G. eds. Archeology Under AlluviumOxfordOxbow Books155162
    Google Scholar
  61. Smith, D.N., Howard, A.J. 2004Identifying changing fluvial conditions in low gradient alluvial archaeological landscapes: can coleoptera provide insights into changing discharge rates and floodplain evolutionJ. Archaeol. Sci.31109120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Smith, D.N., Roseff, R., Bevan, L., Brown, A.G., Butler, S., Hughes, G., Monckton, A. 2005Archaeological and environmental investigations of a Lateglacial and Holocene river sedimentary sequence on the River Soar at Croft, Leicestershire, UKHolocene15353377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Solem, J.O., Birks, H.H. 2000Late–glacial and early Holocene Trichoptera (Insecta) from Kråkenes Lakewestern NorwayJ. Paleolimnol.234956CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tachet, H., Usseglio-Polatera, P., Roux, C. 1994Theoretical habitat templets, species traits and species richness: Trichoptera in the Upper Rhone River and its floodplainFreshwater Biol.31397415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. ter Braak, C.J.F., Šmilaure, P. 1998CANOCO reference manual and users guide to Canoco for Windows: Software for Canonical Community Ordination (Version 4)Microcomputer PowerIthaca, NY, USA170Google Scholar
  66. Nat, D., Tockner, K., Edwards, P.J., Ward, J.V., Gurnell, A.M. 2003Habitat change in braided flood plains (Tagliamento, NE-Italy)Freshwater Biol.4817991812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Volez, N.J., Ward, J.V. 1992Feeding habits and food resources of filter-feeding Trichoptera in a regulated mountain streamHydrobiologia231187196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wallace, B., Wallace, I.D. 1985A key to larvae of the genera Micropterna and Stenophylax (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae) in Britain and IrelandEntomol. Gaz.36127133Google Scholar
  69. Wallace, I.D. 1980The identification of British Limnephilid larvae (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae) which have single-filament gillsFreshwater Biol.10171189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wallace, I.D. 1981A key to the larvae of the family Leptoceridae (Trichoptera) in Great Britain and IrelandFreshwater Biol.11273297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wallace, I.D. 1991A Review of Trichoptera of Great BritainResearch and Survey in Nature Conservation No. 32, Nature Conservancy CouncilPeterborough, UKGoogle Scholar
  72. Wallace, I.D., Wallace, B., Philipson, G.N. 1990A Key to the case-bearing Caddis Larvae of Britain and IrelandScientific Publication 51, Freshwater Biological AssociationAmblesideGoogle Scholar
  73. Wallace, J.B., Webster, J.R., Woodall, W.R. 1977Role of filter feeders in flowing streamsArch. Hydrobiol.79506532Google Scholar
  74. Ward, J.V., Tockner, K., Abscott, D.B., Claret, C. 2002Riverine landscape diversityFreshwater Biol.47517539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Waringer, J., Graf, W. 2002Trichoptera communities as a tool for assessing the ecological integrity of Danubian floodplains in Lower AustriaProc. 10th Int. Symp. Trichoptera – Nova Suppl. Ent., Keltern.15617623Google Scholar
  76. Wiberg-Larsen P. 2004. Danish Trichoptera-species diversity biological traits and adult dispersal. Ph.D. Thesis. Freshwater Biological Laboraory, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Copenhagen and Fyn County, Dept. Nature and Aquatic Environment, 220 pp.Google Scholar
  77. Wiberg-Larsen, P., Bennike, O., Jensen, J.B., Lemke, W. 2001Trichoptera remains from early Holocene river deposits in the Great Belt, DenmarkBoreas30299306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wiberg-Larsen, P., Brodersen, K.P., Birkholm, S., Gron, P.N., Skriver, J. 2000Species richness and assemblage structure of Trichoptera in Danish streamsFreshwater Biol.43633647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wilkinson, B. 1987

    Trichoptera sub-fossils from temperate running water sediments

    Bournaud, M.Tachet, H eds. Proc. of the 5th Int. Symp. on TrichopteraDr W JunkDordrecht, The Netherlands5760
    Google Scholar
  80. Williams D.D., Cromar G.L. and Williams N.E. 1993. Structure of the trichopteran assemblage in a Welsh mountain stream: can temporal/spatial separations and food partitioning account for high diversity?. In: Otto C. (ed). 1992. Proc.7th Int. Symp.. Trichoptera, Backhuys, Leiden, pp. 197–205.Google Scholar
  81. Williams N.E. 1987. Caddisflies and Quaternary palaeoecology – what have we learned so far? Series Entomologica In: Bournaud M. and Tachet H. (eds), Proc. 5th Int. Symp. Trichoptera, Lyon. 39: 57–60.Google Scholar
  82. Williams, N.E. 1988The use of caddisflies (Trichoptera) in palaeoecologyPalaeogeogr. Palaeoecol.62493500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Williams, N.E. 1989Factors affecting the interpretation of caddisfly assemblages in Quaternary sedimentsJ. Paleolimnol.1241248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Winters, C.A. 1999The Late Quaternary palaeohydrology of the middle Trent – a sedimentological studyLoughborough UniversityUKUnpublished M.Phil. thesisGoogle Scholar
  85. Wood, P.J., Agnew, M.D., Petts, G.E. 2000Flow variations and macroinvertebrate community responses in a small groundwater-dominated stream in south-east EnglandHydrol. Process.1431333147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Wood, P.J., Hannah, D.M., Agnew, M.D., Petts, G.E. 2001Scales of hydroecological variability within a groundwater-dominated chalk streamRegul. Rivers: Res. Mgmt.17347367CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyLoughborough UniversityLoughborough, LeicestershireUK

Personalised recommendations