Recording Schemes

Riverfly Recording Schemes (RRS)


The Riverfly Recording Schemes, established by the national recorders for caddisflies (Trichoptera), mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and stoneflies (Plecoptera), celebrates the common ground that exists between the three groups of insects.

Caddisflies, mayflies and stoneflies form a natural group and are found in similar habitats as both young and adults. The Riverfly Recording Scheme aims to:

  • champion caddisflies, mayflies and stoneflies;
  • produce identification guides to the groups;
  • encourage and facilitate recorders to widen their expertise across these groups;
  • run joint and specific training/recording events;
  • contribute information to inform UK conservation priorities;
  • and play an instrumental role in the Riverfly Partnership.

These are supported by The Biological Records Centre (BRC).

RRS Contacts

The RSS Coordinator is Craig Macadam. For RSS specific enquiries please contact Craig via

  • Trichoptera(Caddisfly) Recording Scheme - Dr Ian Wallace
  • Adult Caddisfly Occurence Scheme - Stuart Crofts
  • Ephemeroptera (Mayfly) Recording Scheme - Craig Macadam
  • Plecoptera (Stonefly) Recording Scheme - Craig Macadam

Trichoptera (caddisfly) Recording Scheme

Cased caddis larvae make elaborate cases out of silk which they adorn with pieces of vegetation, stones or other material. Adult caddisflies are moth-like insects which generally fly at night. They hold their wings above their body in a roof-shape when at rest. Many are attracted to light and the Scheme particularly welcomes records from moth enthusiasts using light traps.

The Trichoptera Recording Scheme aims to map the distribution in England, Scotland and Wales of the 199 species, and note the habitats where they live.

The Scheme currently holds around a quarter of a million records which are used to produce county checklists and help direct conservation efforts.

Records, particularly from still waters and small water-bodies of any type are welcomed by the Scheme.

Dr Ian Wallace, leading caddisfly expert based at Liverpool Museums and Coordinator of the Trichoptera Recording Scheme, has kindly offered to identify your caddisfly larvae. Send your images (larvae, larvae cases or adults), noting the site name, grid reference and date that the image was taken, to Ian at: Note that each image should not exceed 2 MB and emails should not exceed 6 MB.

Ian will identify the taxa as far as the image allows - this will generally be to species or group of species level and include information about their biology. This will help you develop knowledge of your particular waterbody and its inhabitants.

The sedge of the water by Dr Ian Wallace, published by Salmo Trutta 2004 pp 70-73, includes a popular introduction to the group, with details of the life cycle and a calendar of when species are most likely to be seen in flight. The article has been made available by The Wild Trout Trust.

Adult Caddisfly Occurrence Scheme

Stuart Crofts, a great supporter or the Partnership, is an eminent entomologist, fly-fisher and Riverfly Tutor. Please contact Stuart for recordings of adult caddis flies

Annual Reports - click on a year below to link to the corresponding ACOS report


Plecoptera (stonefly) Recording Scheme

As the name suggests, stoneflies are typically found in stony rivers and streams, although some species occur on the shores of stony lakes and in ponds and marshes. Adults are more commonly found crawling amongst stones and vegetation on the bankside rather than in flight. They fold their wings flat over their bodies when at rest.

Thirty four species of stonefly are known from the British Isles, one of which, The Northern February Red (Brachyptera putata), is found no-where else in the world.

The Plecoptera Recording Scheme was established in 2003 to encourage interest in, and the recording of stoneflies in the UK. The Scheme aims to produce species distribution maps and assess the status of the species.

Many of the species occur in high uplands and the Scheme is particularly interested in records from these areas.

Craig Macadam is the Plecoptera Recording Scheme Coordinator

Stoneflies by David Pryce, published in Salmo Trutta 2005 pp 41 - 44, includes an introduction to the group, details of the life cycle and a calendar of when species are most likely to be seen in flight. The article has been made available by The Wild Trout Trust.

Ephemeroptera (Mayfly) Recording Scheme

Ephemeroptera are more commonly known as mayflies or up-wing flies. Here, the term mayflies is used for the taxa group, of which there are 51 species. The true mayfly is the species Ephemera danica. The mayfly has a fascinating life cycle, and is the only insect that has two adult stage, the sub-imago (or dun) and imago (or spinner).

With fossils dating back over 300 million years, mayflies are some of the oldest winged insects known. There are 51 species of these delicate insects known from the British Isles.

Their larvae are found in a wide range of freshwater habitats including rivers, lakes, canals and ditches. Adults are oſten seen dancing alongside the water on warm summer days, however some species can be seen in flight throughout the year. Their wings are held upright, butterfly-like above their body.

The Ephemeroptera Recording Scheme was established in 2000 to promote the study and recording of Ephemeroptera species found in the British Isles. Records are used to study species distribution and status and to direct conservation effort. To date approximately a quarter of a million records have been collated, the majority of which are of larvae in running waters.

The Ephemeroptera Recording Scheme is calling for you to record and submit adult Ephemeroptera records to help inform knowledge of the current flight periods of the various Ephemeroptera species. More people recording and more records are needed to get a better picture, including collecting specimens after the close of the fishing season so that we can see what is happening throughout the year.

The Scheme welcomes all records and has a particular interest in those from still water or of adults.

For more information and collection tubes contact Craig Macadam via email: