Six-spot Burnet (with yellow spots)

Seen on Bepton Down in late August 2015.
Seen on Bepton Down in late August 2015.

The Six-Spot Burnet -( Zygaena filipendulae flava.)

This diurnal moth is brightly coloured with red spots and these warn potential predators that it is poisonous.  There are variations and some individuals will have more or less spots.  In the case of the individual in the photograph is a little seen colour form known as filipendulae flava with yellow instead of red spots.

It is on the wing from June until August in meadows, heathland and downland and is found throughout England.  The wingspan is about 35mm.  The adults feed on the nectar of knapweed, thistles and other grassland flowers.

The female will lay her eggs of the larva’s foodplants.  The caterpillars feed on fetch and Bird’s-foot Trefoil.  This specie overwinters as larvae before pupating in a papery cocoon attached to foliage.