Scarce Footman Arctiidae

Eilema complana (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 30-36mm. Forewings silvery grey with yellow streak of uniform width on whole length of the costa of the forewing. The thorax is grey with an orange collar. Hindwings pale ochreous yellow. Rests with wings rolled tightly around body.

Similar Species: Common Footman Eilema complana is very similar but the yellow streak on the costa of the forewing clearly tapers into a point near the apex of the forewing. Adult Common Footman also rests with wings held flat and not rolled around body.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Mainly July with occasional records in some years from late June and early August.

Status: Local and confined to coastal localities of Down and Antrim including Castleward, Kilclief Village and John's Island in the Copelands, Down and at the West Lighthouse on Rathlin I., Antrim.

Ecology: A scarce species, found in N. Ireland at rocky coastal sites, but elsewhere can be found in woods and sand dunes. Adults become active from dusk onwards and are attracted to flowers especially Knapweed Centaurea nigra and thistles; they appear at light in small numbers. The larvae feed on lichens. It overwinters as a larva.

World Distribution: Throughout northern and central Europe east to Asia.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2047 Agassiz number: 72.046

Additional information:

UK Moths account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland