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This family is widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and extends southward to Panama, New Guinea, and the Afrotropical region. It was originally described by Ulmer (1903) as a subfamily of Sericostomatidae. The nominotypical subfamily contains 3 genera and most of the species: Hummeliella Forsslund is a monotypic genus from China; Lepidostoma Rambur contains most of the diversity in the family (ca. 380 species; Afrotropical, Australasian, Palearctic, and Nearctic); and Paraphlegopteryx Ulmer (ca. 20 species) is widespread in the East Palearctic and Oriental regions. The subfamily Theliopsychinae Weaver, 1993 contains 4 genera: Crunoecia McLachlan and Martynomyia Fischer are West Palearctic genera with only a handful of species each; Theliopsyche Banks is a Nearctic genus with half a dozen species; and Zephyropsyche Weaver is a small genus (4 species) from South and Southeast Asia. Larval cases are generally square in cross section and constructed of quadrate leaf or bark pieces. Some species build cylindrical cases of sand grains as early instars and switch to 4-sided cases as they mature; a few retain the sand grain cases throughout larval development. Larvae are generally inhabitants of cool streams and springs, but they may also occur along the shorelines of lakes. They are primarily detritivores. Weaver (1988) provided a synopsis of the North American species and a review of the world species (Weaver 2002), where he synonymized several genera, formerly separated by secondary sexual characters of the male, with Lepidostoma. Myers and Sperling (2002) looked at the relationships of the subgenera of Lepidostoma, based on mitochondrial DNA sequence data. (From Holzenthal et al., 2007)


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