Sunday, 6 September 2015

Day 298 - Sublimely Super and Beautiful Six-Spot Burnets

Six -Spot Burnet Moth (Zygaena filipendulae)
Hey everyone today's Day 298, getting close to the big 300! Now, today, where I am, was very sunny and it reminded me of my time in Norfolk. So, I thought that I would do a beautiful creature for a beautiful day. This is one I spotted on my walk down to Blakney Point, which was quite hard considering it was completely on shingle! I spotted this on the way back when I had time to poke around the sandy areas. When looking in some Knapweed I managed to find a lovely Six-Spot Burnet!

So, here are the facts:

  • I saw this in the bright sunshine around 9 o'clock in the morning. So you might think this is a lovely butterfly, but it's actually a day-flying moth.
It was busy feeding on the Knapweed
so I got some good shots
  • This is a very brightly coloured moth, an these bright colours warn potential predators that they are poisonous. Predators need to take this seriously as apparently they contain Cyanide (a very toxic chemical!)
  • They are called Six-Spot Burnets, but the number of spots can vary, and sometimes , the spots are fused. This is jolly confusing because there are also Five-Spot Burnets!
  • Antennae on this moth are club shaped, which is apparently unusual. They use them for feeling and smelling
  • They like to live in grassy areas where they can find the wild-flowers that they and the caterpillars feed on. They like the coast where I found this one but are found inland too.
  • The adults have a wingspan of 30mm - 38mm and the caterpillars measure but 22mm.
It was very busy so I got very close
  • Adults will take nectar from a range of wildflowers but the larvae are a bit more fussy and tend to feed on Bird's Foor Trefoil, Clover and Kidney Vetch.
  • In July of August the adults lay their eggs on the food plants. 

    • Caterpillars hatch quickly, in just a few days, and get busy eating! They hibernate as caterpillars.

    • As they are growing, they will moult several times, and may even stay as caterpillars for two Winters.
    • Once they are fully grown, the caterpillars spin cocoons with silk from a special gland called a spinnaret. In this cocoon, called a pupa, they undergo the transformation to adults.
    • Adult Moths emerge in June or July and fly around on sunny days. 
    Saw another one on a different plant too
    • Sadly the Adults only live for a short time. Once they have mated and the Females lay their eggs, they die.
    • They aren't a moth that is threatened at present but the grasslands that they live in are disappearing so they could be in future.
    Here are a few links to some more information:

    Hope you enjoyed,