On that cased caddis I found yesterday -- Dave Ruiter pointed out that the case just didn't seem right for Limnephilid. I had to agree. So, I've continued to work on this one, and I finally figured it out.
This is a new species of caddis for me: family, Apataniidae; genus, Apatania; species, incerta. In Wiggins' first edition of Larvae of the North American Caddisfly Genera (Trichoptera), (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), published in 1977, Apatania was considered a Limnephilid genus: it was changed to a family (Apataniidae) in his 2nd edition, published in 1996 (see pp. 190-191), in which Apatania is one of five genera, all formerly Limnephilid genera.
Like all members of the Limnephilid (Northern case-maker) family, Apataniid caddisfly larvae have: 1) a pair of mesonotal plates while the metanotum is fleshy; 2) a dorsal hump and lateral humps; and 3) a prosternal "horn," a sharp projection at the base of the head (ventral). We can see those features in the following photos:
However, Apatania is distinct in lacking sa1 sclerites (dark anteromedial spots on the metanotum): rather, it has a transverse row of setae.
Now let's see what Beaty says about Apatania (genus) incerta (species) in his discussion of Apataniidae ("The Trichoptera of North Carolina," p. 85).
Genus Diagnosis: Mesonotum with two plates; metanotal sa1 sclerites absent; arrangement of sa1 associated setae in a linear transverse row; head oval and with many secondary setae; mandibles usually with uniform scraper blades (not toothed). Larvae collected fall through winter. Mountains only.
Case: composed of mineral particles and strongly curved, cornucopia-shaped; larger mineral particles laterally.
The genus description is right on -- though I did not try to photograph the mandibles. And the case description is exact.
I called it "cone-shaped".
(By the way, you can see the "hood" on the case in Wiggins' illustrations.) Now let's look at Beaty on A. incerta.
A. incerta -- larvae 6-9 mm; head dark brown to black; nota brownish-black; anterior metanotal plates replaced by row of about 20 setae; legs yellow brown; anal claw lacking well defined accessory teeth.
The colors of the head, nota, and legs are all clear in the live photos that I've provided. I can count 20-21 setae in the transverse row on the metanotum. As for the anal claw: it's tiny, and I can not see any accessory teeth.
Exciting! A new one. I will add this to the EPT lists provided in earlier entries (9/8 and 10/8). Apataniidae, Apatania incerta. Common name: Early Smoky Wing Sedge. Tolerance value: 0.6.