This species has a wingspan of 31–38 mm. The forewings are grey with a yellowish-buff streak along the costa. The hindwings are a uniform cream colour. Like other footman, it rests with its wings wrapped around its body (The common name footman comes from a supposed resemblance to the uniform of such a servant).
Technical description and variation
Wingspan 31–38 mm. Forewing broadened towards the outer margin, bright glossy lead-grey with broad, regular, light yellow costal band, somewhat dulled at the apex, and pure yellow fringes; hindwing, head and neck and anal tuft of male ivory yellow. Beneath,the forewing is only suffused with sooty grey at the base and on the disc, so that a broad outer border is pale yellow. Hindwing pale yellow with a slightly dark costal margin.
Larva dark lilac-grey with black dorsal line and black head, bearing black and yellow hairs; subdorsal lines black, stigma-line orange. It usually feeds on various lichens including Parmelia, although it has also been recorded feeding on buckthorn and oak. The species overwinters as a larva, hibernating, until the end of May. Pupa reddish brown and glossy. According to Schmidt the larvae prefer the trunks of beeches and oaks, but (Seitz) " I often beat the moths out of the lower branches of high, solitary larches in the Alpine valleys; locally very common, especially in the mountains"
- Seitz, A. in Seitz, A. Ed. Die Großschmetterlinge der Erde, Verlag Alfred Kernen, Stuttgart Band 2: Abt. 1, Die Großschmetterlinge des palaearktischen Faunengebietes, Die palaearktischen Spinner und Schwärmer, 1912- 1913
- Chinery, Michael Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe 1986 (Reprinted 1991)
- Dubatolov, Vladimir Lichen-moths (Arctiidae, Lithosiinae) of Russia and adjacent countries. 
- Skinner, Bernard Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles 1984
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