Searching for and identifying caddisflies can be challenging, particularly if they are found near moths such as at lights. However, caddisflies can be distinguished from moths and butterflies by their underdeveloped mouthparts; butterflies and moths have a coiled proboscis.
It can be challenging to identify caddisfly larvae because they are similar in appearance to some other aquatic invertebrates, as well as to other species of the order Trichoptera. However, caddisfly larvae are aquatic and spend most of their time underwater. Some species are also easily identifiable by their larval casings, which are formed from twigs, leaves, sand and other scavenged materials.