Cheshire Macro-Moths - The Lackey

Lackey Moth (Malacosoma neustria) larvae in a larval nest (Photo by: Steve J. McWilliam) The Lackey - Malacosoma neustria Linnaeus

Imago / Adult:

The adult moth (imago) varies between 30mm and 41mm wingspan. The ground colour is generally a reddish-brown though it can vary from a pale yellow through to a dark reddish-brown. It is a resident moth which is single-brooded and normally flies in July through to the end of August. A scarce moth in the Vice-Counties of Cheshire (VC-58) and South Lancashire (VC-59). Both sexes of the moth come readily to both MV and actinic light sources.


The larvae are usually 50 to 55 millimetres in length. The ground colour of the larva is a deep blue colour with a thin white line along the back which is bordered with stripes of black and orange-brown. Along the spiracle line are long, dense gingerish hairs which bend down to obscure the legs and pro-legs.


The foodplants consist of many species of deciduous trees and shrubs including: Sallow, Hawthorn, Bramble, Blackthorn, Apple, Oak, and others deciduous trees. The larvae live in communal silk webs on the foodplants leaving the web for a solitary existence as they approach pupation time.


The moth overwinters in the egg (ovum) stage on the twigs of the foodplant.












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