Cinnabar Moth Larvae Devouring Groundsel

IMG_20130711_132115_698Started to pull a groundsel plant from an Oca bed and realized Cinnabar Moth larvae were actively defoliating it. Cinnabar moths, native to Western Europe, were introduced¬† to Western Oregon some thirty years ago to control Tansy Ragwort, Senecio jacobaea and G alternate food source for moth larvae. Tansy ragwort is exceptionally vigorous, non native and will edge in and cover a pasture. The abundance of toxic alkaloids in ragwort can cause fatal liver damage in both cattle and horses. I’m leaving this weed in my garden to nourish these beneficial larvae but will clip off flowers and seed heads. The drama of nature plays out in the garden.

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