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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

03 August, 2010

Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae)

he Common Ragwort has the scientific name of Scenecio jacobaea so little wonder that the Cinnabar Moth, whose larvae depend solely on Common Ragwort should be named Tyria jacobaeae! The Cinnabar Moth is undoubtedly the Tyria of the Common Ragwort.

Twenty years or so ago these caterpillars would be seen everywhere this time of year stripping Ragwort of just about everything but the tough stem. Nowadays, you have to look very hard to find these distinctive looking caterpillars dressed in their yellow and black whooped jerseys!

I can't help thinking that the modern day obsession with ragwort pulling has had a dramatic effect on these striking larvae, and so too, on the numbers of this attractive moth in its adult stage.