My daughter

Alfred Smee, My Garden : its plan and culture together with a general descriptin of its geology, botany, and natural history, Londres, Bell and Daldy, 1872, pp. 480-481.


In a division of the order Neuroptera, and separated into the sub-order Tricoptera, we have creatures of some importance to us, as they afford abundant food for our trout. In the larva state they live in the water, and are then called Caddis-worms; in the perfect state they become winged creatures, and in both conditions are eagerly devoured by trout. In the larva state they live in a beautiful house, which they construct themselves of little bits of sticks, shells, or other materials, which they select according to the force of the stream in which they reside.

My daughter was so much interested in watching these creatures in their strange houses, as they moved along the bottom of the little streams, that a number were procured for more exact observation. The caddis-worms were turned out of their dwellings, and each was placed in a separate glass of water, with various materials suitable for the construction of their house, when the nude creature immediately set to work to make a new house.

By giving to each creature on kind of material alone, they were unable to exercise any choice: hence Miss Smee was able to compel the creature to make houses of a considerable variety of objects. Beautiful cases were made of fragments of coloured glass, amethyst, cairngorm, cornelian, agate, onyx, coral, marble, shells, and mother-of-pearl. When the little creatures were supplied with brass shavings or gold and silver leaf, they were sorely puzzled, and with the latter they could only make an irregular case. With coralline a pretty basked-like case was constructed. With fragments of a tortoise-shell comb one formed a case like a hedgehog. They were unable to make cases at all of round beads, although they have been known to use a cherry-stone. Neither could they succeed with slate, coal, brick, lead, or copper; and if supplied with chips of resinous wood, the creatures were always destroyed.