20 Jul 2020

Pollinator of the day #1 – Five-spot burnet moth (Zygaena trifolii)

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

Easily mistaken for a butterfly, this distinctive red and black moth flies during the day throughout July and August and can be seen in great numbers within our meadows this year. The striking colouration warns predators of the fact that they are poisonous, releasing hydrogen cyanide when attacked. The larvae feed on plants within the pea family such as bird’s foot trefoils (Lotus spp.).  There are two other very similar species, the six-spot burnet moth and the narrow-bordered five spot moth which can be easily mistaken for this species.