Zygaenidae : Procridinae
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Similar Herts & Middlesex Species: None
 
Cistus Forester
Adscita geryon

(Hübner, [1813]) 164 / 54.003

General Comments:
Extinct.
Restricted to chalk downlands with Rock Rose Helianthemum nummularium. Declining nationally. Not geographically expected in Herts or Middlesex.

Hertfordshire Notes:
Our only recent records are from Aldbury Nowers in the extreme west of the county on the border with Buckinghamshire. Alan Bernard last saw it there on 13th June 1981 and again during June 1982 whilst two were seen by Trevor James on 6th June 1992. Thorough site searches in this area during 2004 failed to reveal any at all, which was not especially surprising given the exceedingly degraded state of the chalk grassland. Records from 'Tring' by Goodson in 1904, given in Gibbs (1905) and in Foster (1937) all relate to Aldbury Nowers. It was abundant at Pegsdon Hills on both the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire side in the period around the First World War (Foster, 1916), but the last record held by the current Bedfordshire macro-moth recorder for Pegsdon Hills was made on 23rd June 1947 by the late Sydney Bowden. Foster's 1937 county list gives records from Hitchin, Lilley Hoo and hills near Hexton, Berkhamsted, Apsley End and Tring. Two years later, Hodgson (1939) lists this moth as locally common on the downs at Ashridge and Aldbury Nowers. There are records between 1977 and 1982 for Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire, but the moth does not appear to have flown across the Whipsnade to Dunstable road on a day when an entomologist was present and so we cannot count any Dunstable records for the Hertfordshire vice-county! The last Bedfordshire record in any case was in 1987 - also just outside our boundary (at Bison Hill, SP 9918). It seems then, that the Cistus Forester was once a feature of the narrow band of chalk grasslands that affect the extreme north-west edge of Hertfordshire on the border with Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. This is no longer the case and there can be no doubt that the moth has been lost. The cause of this decline is likely to relate to habitat loss through scrub-invasion. This may have been a direct consequence of the loss of rabbits through myxomatosis during the 1950s, but there is an unfortunate gap in the records from the early part of the twentieth century to the 1980s. If nothing else, this provides a real-life example of why repeat records from the same site year after year are important.

Middlesex Notes: Never recorded

Retained Specimen / Photograph will be Required.

Recorded in 3 (7%) of 41 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1899.
Last Recorded in 1992.
Additional Stats

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List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
06/06/1992120SP91 - Tring
1982120SP91 - Tring
31/12/1940+20SP91 - Tring
1940+20TL12 - Hitchin (S) / Whitwell
1938120SP91 - Tring
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
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Foodplant:   Common Rock-rose
Red List: Least Concern (LC)
GB Status: Nationally Scarce
Verification Grade:  Adult: 3
 Immature Adult   [Show Flight Weeks]
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