15th July 2014

Back in the land of the internet connection, we were so lucky to be on the Limestone Way in Derbyshire last week, at a peak time for hatching Six Spot Burnet Moths. This day-flying moth is the most common Burnet Moth in England. The spots are usually red but occasionally yellow. The hind wing is a beautiful carmine red, as are the six spots on each forewing. We were even lucky enough to see one which had recently pupated. The larvae over-winter and feed on the leaves of the pea family in early summer, especially the Birds Foot Trefoil, of which more another day. They then form a chrysalis on the stalks of grasses, and the stunning adult moths emerge, with their buzzing flight, in July and August. They feed on the nectar of thistles, Knapweed and Scabious. These are the only British moth species which have prominently clubbed antennae, like butterflies do. They are brightly coloured to warn predators of their toxicity. Conditions: A cloudy day with sunny intervals and a light breeze, like most of the past week. Temperature: Max 20- Min 14C.

Six Spot Burnet Moth recently emerged from its chrysalis, which is visible the grass stem.

Six Spot Burnet Moth recently emerged from its chrysalis, which is visible the grass stem.

There were dozens of Burnet Moths feeding on the Scabious and Thistles.

There were dozens of Burnet Moths feeding on the Scabious and Thistles.

Six Spot Burnet Moths showing the red hnd-wing

Six Spot Burnet Moths showing the red hind-wing

Two Six Spot Burnet moths on a Creeping Thistle, showing their clubbed antennae, unusual for moths.

Two Six Spot Burnet moths on a Creeping Thistle, showing their clubbed antennae, unusual for moths.

 

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