Saturday, May 27, 2006

Two burnets

Yesterday in urban Brighton I found the larvae of two different burnet moth species on two sites about 1km apart. The top one is almost certainly a six-spot burnet, Zygaena filipendulae (it is difficult as a larva to tell apart from the five-spot burnet, Z. trifolii). The lower one is the narrow-bordered five-spot burnet, Z. lonicerae. This is easily distinguished by the much longer hairs as well as by the body pattern.

Larvae of burnet moths accumulate the poisons contained in the vetches and other leguminous plants that they eat making them distasteful to predators. The day-flying moths have a characteristic red and black warning colouration.

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