Apprentice forester

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday 27 February 2019 21:03

Whilst grubbing about for spiders at Devil's Dyke this afternoon, I noticed a few of these hairy little larvae in among the Common Rock-rose. They looked a little bit like small, dull burnet moth larvae. The food plant clinched it though, they must be the larvae of Cistus Foresters. We have three species, Cistus Forester, Scarce Forester (feeds on Knapweeds) and the Forester (that feeds on Common Sorrel). Collectively known as foresters (note that this is a really important example of why species names should be capitalised, so that a distinction between forester in the generic sense can be made from the species the Forester). Cistus Forester is probably the most restricted in Sussex with Devil's Dyke and Malling Down being the main sites. The larvae feed on Common Rock-rose and it's one of the dominant plants there on the south facing slope. If you go at the right time of year, you can see clouds of the metallic green adults.

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