A taxonomic key to the families of caddisfly larvae (Insecta: Trichoptera) of Costa Rica. The use of aquatic macroinvertebrates as bioindicators for water quality and environmental degradation of aquatic ecosystems has become more and more important in Costa Rica during the past years. For this reason, taxonomic and ecological investigations on the different groups of bioindicators, such as aquatic insects, is gaining more and more importance and can be considered as indispensable in the use of indices for biomonitoring. One of the most abundant and diverse groups of aquatic insects are the caddisflies, with their larvae living in a great variety of the country’s varied aquatic habitats. Therefore, in this work a taxonomic key for the identification of the families of Trichoptera larvae of Costa Rica is presented. Additionally, commentaries on the taxonomic diversity and ecology of each family are included, in order to facilitate the use of this important group of bioindicators. Such publications also help fill the general need for taxonomic keys to many groups of insects from tropical countries. Rev. Biol. Trop. 54 (Suppl. 1): 273-286. Epub 2006 Sept. 30.
Keywords: aquatic insects, taxonomy, entomology, caddisflies, identification key