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The snail-case caddisflies of the family Helicopsychidae were first recognized as the subfamily Helicopsychinae of Sericostomatidae by Ulmer (1906) and were retained there by a number of European workers well into the 1950s, most notably Ulmer himself (Ulmer 1955). Ross (1944) and other American workers considered the group a distinct family, reflecting its current status. As presently constituted, the family contains only 2 genera, the cosmopolitan Helicopsyche von Siebold with about 250 species, and the New Zealand endemic genus Rakiura McFarlane, with a single species, R. vernale McFarlane. Several previously recognized genera, including Cochliopsyche Müller (Neotropical), Petrotrichia Ulmer (Afrotropical, including Madagascar and the Seychelles, but absent from southern Africa), and Saetotrichia Brauer (Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia), were relegated as subgenera of Helicopsyche by Johanson (1998). In the same paper, Johanson described 2 additional subgenera of Helicopsyche: Feropsyche (Nearctic, Neotropical) and Galeopsyche (Korea, Vietnam). The nominotypical subgenus occurs in the Palearctic and Oriental regions. As a whole the family is poorly represented in the Northern Hemisphere, but reaches its greatest diversity in the tropics of the Old and New Worlds (Johanson 1997); the Neotropics alone hosts about 100 species. Taken from Holzenthal et al. (2007).


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