The Moths of Suffolk
1635 Ground Lackey, Malacosoma castrensis, (Linnaeus, 1758)

National Status : Notable Na

Local Status : Resident (SMP Status 3)

Distribution and abundance : Abundant at suitable coastal sites

Habitats : Coastal saltmarsh

Flight Period : Single-brooded, mainly July and August with odd records in June and September.

Larval foodplants : Sea Plantain, Common Sea-lavender, Sea Wormwood and Sea Purslane

Comments : The larvae live gregariously in their earlier stages forming larval masses. These masses of larvae move over the saltmarsh as they feed leaving a trail covered with silk. As the larvae enter the later instars they tend to disperse. The larval webs can still be found some time after the larvae have pupated.

Morley's Final Catalogue : This north-west European Lackey is restricted in Britain to maritime salterns in Yorks, Sheppey and our own coast, where it was "bred from larvae taken on or near the salt-marshes north of Aldeburgh, but neither this species nor Dew Moth have been met with the last few years " (Hele in lit., sine dat. sed ante 1890: Bloomfield, 12). Rediscovered to be locally abundant at Aldeburgh in 1905 (Moss, Ent. Rec. 1905, 213); at Bawdsey and Shingle-street in Hollesley, whence many were bred in 1905, and still occurs till at least 1928 (Waller, May 1935), 1930-4 (Bp.).

Wingspan details : Forewing male 13-16mm, female 17-21mm, Wingspan 31-41mm

Identification

Confusion species
    AdultLackey, Malacosoma neustria

Compare confusion species
    Adult

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Kirton (31.vii.2002) © M Deans

Flight chart
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3 52 100 1

Life history chart
JFMAMJJASOND
ova ova ova ovalarva ovalarva larva larvapupaimago imago ova ova ova ova

Further Photographs

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Larva - Boyton (1.vi.2003) © A Prichard
Larval clump - Boyton (1.vi.2003) © A Prichard
Larval web - Boyton (1.vi.2003) © A Prichard
 
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Larva on Sea Wormwood - Havergate Island, Suffolk (vii.2004) © N Sherman
Orfordness, Suffolk (14.viii.2009) © Lee Gregory
Egg tray crammed full of Ground Lackeys - Orfordness , Suffolk (24.vii.2010) © Matthew Deans
 
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Female - Orfordness, Suffolk (24.vii.2010) © Neil Sherman
Large numbers on egg box from trap placed on saltmarsh - Orfordness, Suffolk (24.vii.2010) © Neil Sherman
Male - Orfordness, Suffolk (3.viii.2012) © Neil Sherman