Sunday, May 27, 2012

Six-spot Burnet Moth

Zygaena filipendulae
Today's animal is a small, colorful insect with a name that describes it pretty much to the tee. The six-spot Burnet Moth does in fact have six spots on each wing... though sometimes they get a bit merged together, which can result in some spot-count confusion.

Six-spot Burnets live throughout Europe and are incredibly common on the continent. There are over 20 different subspecies! Most of the subspecies have dark bodies with wings of a metallic sheen. The wing spots are red, which warns predators that these Moths are poisonous! Sometimes the spots are yellow or brown, but only rarely.

Six-spot Burnets are active during the day, when they live in colonies and feed on the nectar of large flowers. They prefer sunny days, and fly from June to August. The Moths only reproduce once, and the caterpillars overwinter before pupating and becoming Moths in June. (Sometimes they will even overwinter twice!) Caterpillars are very plump and greenish-yellow, with black spots.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Europe
Size : Wingspan up to 1.6in (4cm)
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Insecta -- Order : Lepidoptera
Family : Zygaenidae -- Genus : Zygaena -- Species : Z. filipendulae

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