Scarce Footman - Eilema complana


Wingspan 28-35 mm. Similar to the Common Footman (E. Lurideola) in appearance but holds its wings furled tightly around the body and presents a much slimmer outline than the flatter appearance of E. lurideola.

Similar Species

Common Footman, Dingy Footman, Scarce Footman and Buff Footman are all similar but can be distinguished by shape and colour - see Identification Aids below; c.f. Hoary Footman - Eilema caniola

Identification difficulty
Identification aids
Footman Moths

From left to right: Common Footman, Scarce Footman, Dingy Footman, Buff Footman.

Of these Common Footman is by far the commonest, and the Buff Footman probably the most scarce. The Dingy Footman shows a wide 'melonseed' shape, so stands out versus Common Footman. Even for a Dingy Footman in the yellower colour form, the shape should help separate from Buff Footman. On the Buff Footman, there is a distinct 'crease' coming from the thorax down the center of the basal part of the forewing, and in the resting posture the back end always looks 'squarer' than on the Common Footman. The Scarce Footman pretty much speaks for itself with its tightly wrapped resting posture.

Credit: Mark Skevington


Tends to inhabit more heathy and moorland habitats.

When to see it

It flies in July and August.

Life History

The larvae feed on lichens mostly but also will eat moss and the leaves of some low plants.

UK Status

It is distributed in England, mainly in the south and east, and in Wales and Ireland where it is more coastal. In a recent survey to determine the status of all macro moths in Britain this species was classified as local.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent but not common in Leicestershire and Rutland. L&R Moth Group status = B (scarce resident or restricted distribution or regular migrant)

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map