Agapetus tomus Ross, 1941
Basis for Listing
Agapetus tomus (a species of caddisfly) was first known in Minnesota from five specimens collected at a single Pine County location in 1963 (Mille Lacs Uplands). More recently (2000-2002), there were 195 specimens collected from several localities in the eastern-central portion of the state, including near the original collection site in Pine County (Hardwood Hills and Mille Lacs Uplands subsections). It is not clear why A. tomus is geographically restricted to such an enigmatic distribution in Minnesota yet is locally abundant at some of these sites. The species has a widespread distribution in the southeastern United States and has also recently been collected from a few sites in Michigan and Wisconsin. Further inventory work is needed to find additional populations of this species and delineate its full range in Minnesota. Agapetus tomus was listed as a special concern species in Minnesota in 1996.
Caddisfly species can only be identified by examining their abdominal processes under a microscope. Houghton (2012) has developed an identification manual and key to Minnesota caddisfly species. Macroscopically, adults of A. tomus have light brown wings and are about 6 mm (0.24 in.) long. Larvae of A. tomus are unknown, but larvae of the genus typically range 5-7 mm (0.20-0.28 in.) long and construct cases of small rocks that superficially resemble tortoise shells (Wiggins 1996).
This species has not been positively correlated with its natal microhabitat. Agapetus larvae are typically found on exposed rock surfaces of fast-moving areas of clean, cold streams (Wiggins 1996). The Pine County site is near several small streams as well as the Snake and Kettle rivers. A site in Charles Lindberg State Park is located at a medium-sized stream that flows through a variety of agricultural and forested lands. The portion of this stream where the 2000 collection was made appears fairly undisturbed as it flows through the park.
Biology / Life History
Collections of A. tomus adults in Minnesota have occurred in late June and mid-July. Larvae have not been collected but likely reach peak maturity in late spring. No specific life history data are known for this species beyond its collection date, but larvae likely feed on epilithic algae, diatoms, and particulate organic matter (Wiggins 1996).
Conservation / Management
No specific conservation measures or management strategies can be developed for this species until the larval habitat is confirmed. However, Agapetus larvae are some of the least tolerant of caddisflies to anthropogenic disturbances such as warming water temperature, increased siltation, organic pollution, and changes in stream flow (Hilsenhoff 1987; Wiggins 1996; Barbour et al. 1999).
Conservation Efforts in Minnesota
Field surveys in conjunction with a University of Minnesota study on the Caddisflies of Minnesota (Houghton et al. 2001), have been conducted to search for additional populations of this species, and an identification manual and key to Minnesota caddisflies has been developed (Houghton 2012).