- Subfamily: Arctiinae, Arctiini, Spilosomina
- Wingspan: 35-55 mm
- Flight period: Jun - Sep
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Lichens
Lithosia quadra also called Four-Spotted Footman is a moth of the Erebidae family, subfamily Arctiinae, with a wingspan of 35-55 mm.
Visible throughout Europe, in Italy it is absent from the islands. *
It is also visible in temperate Asia up to Japan.
The species has a very pronounced sexual dimorphism.
Males, smaller in size, have gray wings with the basal region of the wing yellow in color, and a blue-black stripe in the costa region of the front wing. The hind wings are dull yellow with the rib area gray.
The females, on the other hand, have yellow front wings with two blue-black points, one on the costa and the other in the anal area in the discal region. The hind wings are yellow. In both sexes, the head, thorax and abdomen are yellow.
In exceptional cases one of the dots (ab. Unipuncta Spul. ) or both (ab. Impunctata Spul. ), may be absent in the female, or replaced from a transversal fascia (ab. Fasciata Spul, confluens Dumont ) **
Univoltine this moth flies from June to September depending on the location. It overwinters in the larva stage and completes development between May and June. The caterpillar, grayish in color with whitish lines and with orange dots in the dorsal area from which hairs appear. The larvae feed on lichen and algae that grow on trees such as forest and deciduous conifers, especially oaks.
In particular of Parmelia caperata, Peltigera canina and Xanthoria parietina, when the year is particularly favorable and the number of larvae increases, they also attack the host plant of the lichens resulting harmful. As already mentioned, this moth is polyphagous and the caterpillars have a predilection for maple (in particular Acer negundo) and mulberry, but spared tree species are rare, It has also been reported on maize, soybeans, Prunus sp., Malus (apple tree), Pyrus (apple tree), Alnus (alder) and Populus sp. (poplars).
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/
** Seitz, A. Ed. Die Großschmetterlinge der Erde, Verlag Alfred Kernen, Stoccarda Band 2: Abt. 1, Die Großschmetterlinge des palaearktischen Faunengebietes, Die palaearktischen Spinner und Schwärmer, 1912-1913