Ground Lackey

  • Ground Lackey
    Ground Lackey
  • Ground Lackey
    Ground Lackey
  • Ground Lackey
    Ground Lackey
  • Ground Lackey
    Ground Lackey

Scientific name: Malacosoma castrensis

July to August. Nocturnal. A nationally scarce moth similar in colour to commoner and more widespread Lackey.

The forewing margin of the Ground Lackey is chequered brown and buff, with the hindwing fringes paler than the wing (these darker in the Lackey). The cross-lines on the forewing, these sometimes weak or absent, form a waist near the centre, more obvious in the male.

The adults are incapable of feeding. They fly at night and are occasionally attracted to light. They overwinter as a single layer of eggs around a standing stem of a herbaceous saltmarsh plant and can withstand being flooded by the sea.. The caterpillars can be found from April to July, the young larvae being gregarious and living in a silken web. Pupation takes place among saltmarsh plants in a slight transparent cocoon.

Size and Family

  • Family Eggar moths (Lasiocampidae)
  • Small / Medium Sized 
  • Wingspan Range 31-41mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Scarce (Nationally Scarce A)

Caterpillar Food Plants

Sea Plantain (Plantago maritima), Common Sea-Lavender (Limonium vulgare), Sea Wormwood (Seriphidium maritimum), Sea-purslane (Atriplex portulacoides), Grass-leaved Orache (Atriplex littoralis) and Golden-samphire (Inula crithmoides). Also Wild Carrot (Daucus carota).

Habitat

Saltmarshes, also recorded from coastal shingle.

Distribution

  • Countries – England
  • Nationally Scarce A. Largely confined to the saltmarshes of the south east coast of England; northern Kent marshes,the estuaries of Essex and the Suffolk marshes. Found locally at Axmouth, Devon.
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = Britain: Suspected stable