One of three similar species, this iridescent green moth can be difficult to distinguish from related species. Generally larger than the Cistus Forester (which is usually found near Common Rock-rose). Can be distinguished from the Forester on antennal characters, those of the male Scarce Forester being more pointed, whereas those of the Forester are rounded and broader.

The male flies in sunshine, although the female is generally more lethargic, and visits flowers such as knapweeds and Salad Burnet. In duller weather the moth sits around on flowers and other vegetation. The male occasionally flies at night.

Size and Family

  • Family – Burnets and Foresters (Zygaenids)
  • Small Sized 

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Scarce (Nationally Scarce A)

Caterpillar Food Plants

Common Knapweed and Greater Knapweed, at least initially mining the leaves.


Found on permanent chalk grassland, usually in areas of longer turf.


  • Countries – England
  • Restricted to two areas of chalk downland. One centred on Wiltshire, with populations in Hampshire and formerly in Gloucestershire. The other is in Sussex, with an outlying population near Dover, Kent.
Scarce Forester (female) by Dave Green

Scarce Forester (female)

Scarce Forester - Leigh Prevost

Scarce Forester