Four-spotted Footman Arctiidae

Lithosia quadra (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 35-55mm. Both sexes differ in appearance and size, the males being smaller than females. The male has bluish grey forewings and orange head and thorax. The hindwing is pale lemon yellow. Female has a yellow head and thorax, ochreous yellow forewings marked with two conspicuous dark spots. One is centrally on the costal margin, the second close to the hind edge of the forewing. These spots can vary in size, but are seldom ever absent. The hindwing is pale lemon yellow.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  female upperside

Flight Period: Unknown in N. Ireland, Skinner gives July to September as the main flight period.

Status: A rare species in N. Ireland, which has not been seen since the early 1970s when it was recorded from Tollymore Forest by Captain Wright. There is also another record for Down in the 1950s and one from the Belfast area in 1940. The species is a well-known immigrant and these records probably refer to migrant indivduals as there is no evidence for any resident population in N. Ireland. There are resident populations in the south and west of Ireland.

Ecology: A rather distinctive species that favours woodland where lichens are common. Adults are attracted to light and are known to appear in small numbers at well-known localities. The larvae feed on various species of lichen from autumn until the following June. It overwinters as a larva.

World Distribution: Throughout the Palaearctic region.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2051 Agassiz number: 72.041

Additional information:

UK Moths account

Caterpillar: 

 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland
http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/lepidoptera/species.asp?item=6137

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