Tim Norriss knew some time ago it was a wish of mine to see this moth and in his usual helping way I received his email expressing this was the right time to find the quarry.They live on calcareous grassland, but I was very surprised to find on the site there were clumps of ant mounds with the larval food plant Common Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium) growing out of the sides or tops of these clumps. What an unusual habitat and one that must be like a balancing act to maintain.
Cistus is the genus name for flowering plants of the Rockrose family so no prizes for guessing where the moth name derives from.
I had in my mind that the only difference was the size of the Cistus Forester that was different, and certainly in the case of the male that is true but the female is about the same size I was informed, as no females were found.
A strange phenomenon with some of the males added what seemed to be apial streaks on the forewing but on careful examination it can be seen to be a fold or crease and can be seen on the photos.
A final difference to me was when the moth was seen in sunlight it changes to a golden yellow/green moth that is different to the Forester even though that moth turns metallic under the same conditions.
This small habitat seemed very rich in places with a good selection of plants like the delicate Germander Speedwell where Tim found the delightful longhorn moth Caucas fibulella but more on that issue on today's finds.
Other micros were on site which required the assistance of a man who knows,pretty amazing when I suffer to remember a single Latin name.
There was one that needed further investigation but came back with genetalia inspection needed and most know I prefer to leave those things to the purists who know what they are doing.
At another point Tim remarked on a Speckled Yellow when immediately another came into view and they were in cop immediately, so we were looking at a very active scene and a very special one I feel.
Another well marked micro was the delightful Scoparia pyralella but this was just a few of the micros that were being found, and with so much going on its difficult to be everywhere as well as protecting the plants & moths from trampling, when you are still trying to photograph that special moth.
Thanks Tim for a delightful trip to see that special moth.