Lasiocampidae : Malacosomatinae
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Photo © Ben Sale,  Stevenage, Hertfordshire (24/06/19) (Male)

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Similar Herts & Middlesex Species: None
Malacosoma neustria

(Linnaeus, 1758) 1634 / 66.003

General comments:
Widespread but increasingly local and has vanished from many former sites. Notwithstanding the cyclical nature of populations, which rise and fall over the years with the moth abundant from time to time before returning to longer periods of scarcity, the Lackey does seem to be in serious and steep decline in our two areas. The national population of this species has declined (population strength = numbers of moths) by 90 per cent since the year 1970. The larvae live gregariously in silk webs on the foodplant and can give a false illusion of abundance, causing severe defoliation in a small area whilst being quite absent for some considerable distance in the surrounding area.

Hertfordshire Notes:
Foster (1937) listed the Lackey as being 'common in all districts'.
Plant (2008) noted that the distribution was somewhat patchy and that there were apparently suitable areas where the moth seems to be lacking; he raised cause for concern over its apparent decline.

Middlesex Notes: Still widespread, though conspicuously absent from Thames-side areas, in stark contrast to the situation from South Essex eastwards along the north bank of the river where the species is a typical and expected component of the fauna.

Recorded in 32 (78%) of 41 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1887.
Last Recorded in 2023.
Additional Stats

< Pale Eggar  |  Ground Lackey >

List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
28/07/2023120TL22 - Stevenage
11/07/2023120TL22 - Stevenage
08/07/2023121TQ09 - Watford / Rickmansworth
05/07/2023120TL22 - Stevenage
01/07/2023120TL22 - Stevenage
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
Express Record Lackey
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VC20 VC21 VC21 VC20
Click Map for Details
Forewing: 13-16mm.
Flight: One generation. July-Aug.
Foodplant:   Broadleaf trees & shrubs inc Rose family
Red List: Vulnerable (VU)
GB Status: Common
BAP Status: Declining (Research only)
Verification Grade:  Adult: 2
 Immature Adult   [Show Flight Weeks]
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