Six-Spot Burnet Moths
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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).