Ascotis fortunata (Blachier, 1887)


Ascotis fortunata: Female, e.l. December 2010, La Palma, ex Cistus [S] Ascotis fortunata: Female (La Gomera, e.l December 2009) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Female (La Gomera, December 2010) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Female (La Gomera, December 2010) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Female (La Gomera, December 2010) Ascotis fortunata: Female (La Gomera, December 2010) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Male (e.l. La Palma, December 2010, ex Bystropogon canariense) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Male (e.l. La Gomera) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Male (e.l. La Gomera, December 2011) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Female (La Gomera, December 2011) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Male (e.l. Madeira 2013) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Female (e.l. Madeira 2013) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Adult (e.l. Tenerife 2012) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Young larva at Erica arborea (La Gomera, December 2011) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Half-grown larva (La Gomera, December 2011) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Half-grown larva (La Gomera, 2011) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Half-grown larva (La Gomera, December 2011) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Palma, December 2010, at Bystropogon canariense) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Palma, December 2010, at Bystropogon canariense) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva, brown form (La Palma, December 2010) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Palma, December 2010) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Gomera, December 2009) [N] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Gomera, December 2009) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Gomera, December 2011) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Gomera, December 2011) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Palma, ex Cistus, December 2010) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva caudal (La Palma, ex Cistus, December 2010) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva cranial (La Palma, ex Cistus, December 2010) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Gomera, December 2011) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Gomera, December 2011) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (La Gomera, March 2006) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (Madeira, Encumeada, March 2013) [N] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (Madeira, March 2013) [N] Ascotis fortunata: Larva (Madeira, Encumeada, March 2013) [M] Ascotis fortunata: Pupa (La Palma, December 2010, ex Cistus) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Pupa (La Palma, December 2010) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Pupa (e.l. La Gomera, December 2009) [S] Ascotis fortunata: Habitat in the laurisilva (laurel forest) of La Gomera, December 2010: larvae at trunks. [N] Ascotis fortunata: Larval habitat in La Gomera: Myrica faya in open pine forest, December 2008. [N] Ascotis fortunata: Larval habitat in La Gomera: Myrica faya at its drought border [N]

Host plants:
The caterpillar lives polyphagous on shrubs and herbs. I found it in La Gomera in late March along with Episauris kiliani on Myrica faya, which was just beginning to blossom. In La Palma, I found caterpillars on Bystropogon canariense (Lamiaceae) and a caterpillar on Cistus. In 2011, I found many larvae in La Gomera on Erica arborea, Hypericum canariense and other species. A frequent host plant is also Salix, especially on Madeira.

Habitat:
Ascotis fortunata colonizes laurel forests, light bush forests with Myrica and many other woody habitats. It penetrates even in settlements.

Life cycle:
Ascotis fortunata flies throughout the year and is often very common. The caterpillar is also found year-round and is one of the most common caterpilalrs on the Atlantic Islands. During the day, the very variable caterpillars are either resting well camouflaged on the plant or the trunk or - for small bushes - even on or in the ground. In La Palma, I found during the day a caterpillar superficially digged in the ground at the base of an about 30cm high Cistus shrub that was partial defoliated. In the subsequent breeding it still ate for 5 days.

Remarks:
The distribution covers the western Canary Islands to Gran Canaria as well as Madeira and the Azores.

Hints on determination:
Ascotis fortunata is extremely variable both as larva and imago.