Athripsodes cinereus has more or less the standard Caddis Fly size, for it is 12 to 15 mm in length. It is cinnamon brown with a variable set of ochrous spots near the tip of the wing. Looking from above there is a yellowish or white spot in the middle of the wing. The antennae are extremely long: well as twice the front wing size. The first third of the antenna is ringed. Unlike many other Caddis Flies mating takes place during day light. Males swarm above the water, waiting for a female. She is grabbed by one of the males and the copulation takes place above the water. Some males may take the females ashore to complete copulation. The first eggs are often deposited with the male still holding on to the female. But he soon lets go and she finishes the job by herself. Usually the eggs are simply dropped into the water, but females may dive in order to lay eggs.
The larvae of Athripsodes cinereus live in a self made case. They spin a little net to collect small particles of food out of the water.
This is one of the most common Caddis Flies in Western Europe. It is found in slowly streaming waters, but in standing water as well, especially on sandy soils. Described as 'countless on Thames and tributaries'. Athripsodes cinereus is present all over the British Isles, including the North of Scotland and Orkney.