The Balgonie Bleachfield Project near Glenrothes, Fife, has a wealth of flowers and insects, including the Six-spot Burnet Moth.
For the location of the small nature reserve, see the post “Early Summer Insects and Flowers of Balgonie Bleachfield Project”.
This common moth is the only British Burnet with six red spots on it’s dark metallic green fore-wings (red patches at base are divided by a vein and counts as two spots). Very occasionally they occur with yellow spots or even black spots.
The Six-Spot Burnet has a wingspan of 30-38mm, and is found flying about from June to August on flowery grasslands, meadows, including downland, cliff-edges, woodland clearings, woodland rides, roadside verges and sand-dunes.
It flies with a slow buzzing motion mainly when the sun is out, and is attracted to a range of flowers including thistles, knapweeds and scabious.
It is distributed throughout Britain, but is mainly found on the coast in Scotland. The Balgonie Bleachfield is an exception, being approx 5 miles inland of the Firth of Forth and the North Sea.
The species overwinters as a larva.
The larva is plump and hairy with variable markings, usually pale green with rows of black spots and feeds mainly on Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil.
Six-Spot Burnet Moths pupate in papery cocoons attached to foliage, such as grass stems.