Zygaenidae : Procridinae
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Similar Herts & Middlesex Species: None
 
Forester
Adscita statices

(Linnaeus, 1758) 163 / 54.002

General Comments:
In both counties probably an extremely local and overlooked resident and so designated ENDANGERED".

The sudden reappearance of this moth in 2020/2021 is a mystery. It could perhaps have been a breeding resident at all four modern sites (details below) yet it has not been seen at any of them since then. Could it be a resident in extremely low density and just really hard to find? Or could it have wandered from elsewhere. The species has declined nationally; if breeding is confirmed for either of our two counties, habitat-based conservation measures will need to be put into place [this may, of course, mean doing nothing if it is felt that the moth has selected a particular site because it is already ideal!].

Hertfordshire Notes:
Plotting all the records on the map shows clearly that it was once resident in the south and west of the county on clay-dominated soils. A record from Lilley Hoo, made in 1893 by F. Latchmore and represented by the most northerly open circle on our map, in TL 1226, is in a chalk-dominated landscape, but reference to the soils map of the county on page 8 of The Moths of Hertfordshire shows that the site in fact rests on a small band of decalcified boulder clay that runs between two chalk outcrops then extends south-eastwards and also supports a Knebworth record at TL 2120. Our first record is the painting of an example taken at 'Hertford' (Stephens, 1828); the last reliable record of the Forester in Hertfordshire prior to the recent discoveries in 2021 was made in 1947, at Cheshunt. In between, dated records are from the Sandridge area (Griffith, 1884), Wormley, 1894 by Edelsten, Haileybury, 1888 by Bowyer, Goffs Oak (Boyd, 1901), Green Street and Shenley prior to 1902 by A. E. Gibbs and Knebworth in 1916 by Durrant (Foster, 1916). Foster (1937) also lists undated records from Berkhamsted School, Rowse [sic] Barn Lane, Watford (Spencer, Heaton) and a railway bank at Oxhey (Rowland-Brown), Aldbury (Rothschild). It is clear that most of these last few pre-date the 1937 publication by several years; although the last record was as late as 1947, a year that sits well with the last Middlesex record (below) in 1948. An apparent absence for the next 74 years was broken on 12th July 2021 with the unexpected discovery of an adult at Maple Cross, closely followed by examples at Chorleywood Common on 16th and 19th July 2021. Both sites contain appropriate habitat and wee suspect that there is a very small breeding population in the area.

Middlesex Notes: The area between Mill Hill School and Harrow provides an historic record at a period, a century ago, when suitable habitat undoubtedly persisted there. This species was also recorded at Horsenden Hill in June 1948, prior to the construction of the two reservoirs in 1951/2 which destroyed much of the suitable habitat crowning the hill. A record from Bushey Park in the south of Middlesex on 20th June 2020 is the first county record for 72 years. This was followed by one a year later in the north-east, at New Fields in Trent Park on 16 July 2021.

Retained Specimen / Photograph will be Required.

Recorded in 13 (32%) of 41 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1832.
Last Recorded in 2021.
Additional Stats

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List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
16/07/2021121TQ29 - Barnet / Finchley
12/07/2021120TQ09 - Watford / Rickmansworth
12/07/2021120TQ09 - Watford / Rickmansworth
20/06/2020121TQ16 - Sunbury / Hampton Court
05/08/1996121TQ08 - Uxbridge
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
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VC20 VC21 VC21 VC20
Click Map for Details
Forewing: M 12-15mm. F 11-13mm.
Flight: One generation. May-July.
Foodplant:   Common and Sheeps Sorel
Red List: Least Concern (LC)
GB Status: Common
Former Status: Local
Verification Grade:  Adult: 3
 Immature Adult   [Show Flight Weeks]
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