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Zygaena filipendulae

month:Jun month:Jul month:Aug

29th June 2009, Nob End SSSI, Clammerclough, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
In Clover

19th Aug 2010, St Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
On Yarrow

19th Aug 2010, Lytham, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
On Lucern

6th July 2007, Tentsmuir Nature Reserve, Fife. Photo: © John Brailsford
These two are probably up to no good in public...

5th Aug 2009, Lytham, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
There was a small swarm of them on this Common Ragwort plant on sand dunes by the sea.
Your Author mistook these next four photographs from Lytham on the 5th Aug 2009 for Transparent Burnet moths, but he has been informed by Dr. Liz Still (ex-County Moth Recorder for VC69/70) that these are just Six-Spot Burnets where the wings have worn. Moreover she kindly tells your Author that Transparent Burnet moths are not only very rare and restricted to the West Coast of Ireland and the West Coast of Scotland, but also completely different.

5th Aug 2009, Lytham, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Similar to a 5-spot Burnet.

5th Aug 2009, Lytham, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
On this specimen the red markings are even fainter and even more transparent because of wear (but no tear).

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The six red spots, not five.

Burnet Moths contain two defensive chemicals or poisons, hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and pyrazines, which they exude from parts of their bodies such as the mouth or joints of the legs when under attack by other predators. The pyrazine compounds are pungent, and help repel enemies by smell; they need not be tasted first. Birds refuse to touch them because of these chemicals; they recognise them from their red (or sometimes yellow) warning spots. The Burnet moths obtain the HCN from Bird's-foot Trefoil and Clover when in the larval stage, munching away but they synthesize the pyrazines themselves.

The six red spots can be quite variable, even merging into a single splurge in some individuals.

The hindwings of all Burnet moths have a large red mark.

These moths fly on hot sunny days; one of the few day-time flying moths.

  Zygaena filipendulae  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Zygaenidae  



Zygaena filipendulae

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