Adults are 7-18 mm long, brown to pale brown, and segment 5 of the maxillary palp is elongate. Larvae are filter feeders, but a few are predators. They live in fast-flowing streams and rivers.

Common netspinner, Potamyia flava Adults are about 10 mm long and pale brown. The wings are uniformly brown, with a short fringe of setae; ocelli are absent, and the antennae are long. Full-grown larvae are about 25 mm long, and the abdomen usually has a lateral fringe of short setae, but never with gills. Larval retreats consist of nets shaped like trumpets; they have a large opening and then taper to the end. This is one of the most common and abundant species in central and southeastern North America. Adult emergence occurs from May to September, sometimes in massive numbers.

OtherTrichoptera Adults ofHydropsyche bifida and H. colonica swarm around trees and lights atnight, and often enter houses. H. bifida occurs in western USA; H. clonica occurs in New Zealand.

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