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moth Six-Spot Burnet Moths

Identify It >   Moth Section >   Six-Spot Burnet Moths >

Scientific name:  Zygaena filipendulae

Size:  Wingspan approximately 35mm

Distribution:  Found throughout England and the coasts of Wales and Scotland

Months seen:  June to August

Habitat:  Meadows, downland and heathland

Food:  Nectar, usually on purple or blue flowers.  The caterpillars feed on trefoil and vetch

Special features:  Six-spot burnets are day flying moths.  The six bright red spots on each of the moths irridesent dark green wings are a warning to predators that this moth tastes bad.  The caterpillars feed on trefoil and vetch which contain traces of the poison hydrogen cyanide.  These toxins are carried on through to the adult moth.

The caterpillars pupate on grass stems, forming a yellow coloured chrysalis.

There is also a rarer form of the six spot burnet which has yellow spots (see photos).

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