Six-spot Burnet

Zygaena filipendulae


The Six-spot Burnet Moth is a medium-sized, day-flying moth, commonly found in grasslands, woodland rides and sand dunes, where the caterpillars feed on Common Bird's-foot Trefoil. The adults feed on the nectar of knapweed, thistles and other grassland flowers, and females lay their eggs on the caterpillars' foodplants. The caterpillars hatch and feed, hibernating over at last one winter. They emerge the following spring and pupate in a papery cocoon attached to grass stems.

How to identify

The adult Six-spot Burnet Moth is glossy black with red spots on the long, narrow wings. There are six similar species of burnet moth in the UK: this is the only one with six red spots on each forewing; the other common species have five spots. Flies with a slow buzzing and fluttering pattern.

Where to find it

Widespread in England and Wales, rarer in Scotland where mainly found near the coast.


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

The Six-spot Burnet Moth relies on sensitive grassland and dune habitats that are disappearing from our countryside. However, The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices. We have a vision of a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Six-spot Burnet
Latin name
Zygaena filipendulae
Butterflies and moths
Wingspan: 3-4cm
Conservation status