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Burnet moths in general

Burnet moths, within the family Zygaenidae, are diurnal Lepidopterans easily recognised by their slow, buzzing flight and characteristic appearance. All life stages produce and release cyanide compounds as a defensive strategy, and their conspicuous features are considered to be aposematic.

Burnets usually prefer open and sunny biotopes; areas often being the direct or indirect results of human activities (meadows, woodland clearings and road verges), where their respective host plants and nectar sources are abundant.

Larvae of the subgenera Zygaena feed almost exclusively on plants of the pea family (Fabaceae), and the adults are attracted to red and violet composite flowers (Asteraceae), but also to Origanum vulgare, Valeriana officinalis and Inula salicina. Individuals are generally univoltine and larvae that hatch from eggs laid in the end of the flying season hibernate from late autumn to spring, when they resume feeding again. Pupation occurs in mid summer.

Zygaena filipendulae (Six spot burnet), Zygaena lonicerae (Narrow-bordered five-spot burnet), Zygaena viciae (New forest burnet)


Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/11/09