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The family was first described as a subfamily within Rhyacophilidae by Tillyard (1925) to accommodate the species Chathamia brevipennis Tillyard, a species endemic to the Chatham Islands, a group of 10 small islands 800 km east of New Zealand. It was later moved to the Philanisidae by Wise (1965), a family erected by Mosely (in Mosely & Kimmins 1953) to accommodate Philanisus plebeius Walker, first described in Hydropsychidae and later included in Sericostomatidae by Ulmer (1907). Riek (1976) synonymized Philanisidae with Chathamiidae and provided a comprehensive review of the family, including a discussion of phylogeny and the description of 2 new species. Ward (1995) described a 3rd species of Philanisus, such that the family contains 5 species, distributed as follows: Chathamia brevipennis Tillyard (Chatham Islands), C. integripennis Riek (New Zealand), Philanisus plebeius Walker (New Zealand, southeast Australia), P. fasciatus Riek (Kermadec Islands, ca. 1000 km NNE of New Zealand), and P. mataua Ward (New Zealand). Taken From Holzenthal et al. (2007).


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