The four footmen of my garden

There are a group of moths known as the Footman moths and last night I had four different species in my trap. All footman species have caterpillars which feed on lichens.

Four-spotted footman
This is a Four-spotted Footman – this is the male (the female has two spots on each forewing). It is a large moth being around twice the size of other footman species – as a result it is unmistakable. Nationally this is a rare moth but there are strong colonies in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It has the designation of National Scarce A which means it occurs as a breeding species in between 16-30 10 km squares. However it is also a known immigrant species so numbers can be bolstered by animals from the continent. Impossible to say whether this is a breeding species in my garden or an immigrant.

Scarce footman
This is a Scarce Footman – a much more compact species which has the habit (which is the ID clincher) of appearing very thin as it rolls its wings around its abdomen. It is a local species but is more common than its name suggests.

Common footman
This is the Common Footman – the commonest footman in the UK. Its wings are light grey and are fringed by yellow lines on the forewing.

Rosy footmanAnd this is the Rosy Footman – a very distinctive and attractive species.