Cornwall day-flying moths – Burnet moths

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What’s that red and black butterfly? It’s that time of year again when we are often asked this question by people we meet whilst out taking photographs. They are the Five (shown above left) and Six-spot Burnet (shown above right) moths that are commonly seen flying during the day around the coastal grasslands here in Cornwall.

Insight into Burnet moths: The Five-spot Burnet (Zygaena trifolii) and Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae) moths are the commonest Burnet species found in the UK. The Six-spot has a wider distribution extending northwards into parts of Scotland whereas the Five-spot has a more restrictive range being more common in the west and south west.

The caterpillars of both species mainly feed on Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil and their cocoons are often seen attached to the top of tall grass stems. The Burnet family is unusual amongst moths in that they have club ends to their antennae similar to butterflies.

Other Moth Sightings

Moth Galleries

Illustrated Guide to British Moths

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