Six-spot burnet

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Six-spot Burnet
Zygaena filipendula 240503.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Zygaenidae
Genus: Zygaena
Species: Z. filipendulae
Binomial name
Zygaena filipendulae
(Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Sphinx filipendulae Linnaeus, 1758
  • Sphinx maior Esper, 1794
  • Sphinx polygalae Esper, 1783
  • Sphinx stoechadis Borkhausen, 1793

The Six-spot Burnet, Zygaena filipendulae, is a day-flying moth of the family Zygaenidae. It is a common species throughout Europe.

The sexes are similar and have a wingspan of 30–40 millimetres (1.2–1.6 in). The forewings are dark metallic green with 6 vivid red spots (sometimes the spots are merged causing possible confusion with other species such as Five-spot Burnet). Occasionally the spots are yellow or even black. The hindwings are red with a blackish fringe. The adults fly on hot, sunny days from June to August,[Note 1] and are attracted to a wide variety of flowers such as knapweed and scabious as well as the larval food plants bird's foot trefoil and clover. The species overwinters as a larva.

The larva is plump and hairy with variable markings, usually pale green with rows of black spots. It pupates in a papery cocoon attached to foliage.

Life cycle


  • Z. f. altapyrenaica Le Charles, 1950
  • Z. f. arctica Schneider, 1880
  • Z. f. balcanirosea Holik, 1943
  • Z. f. campaniae Rebel, 1901
  • Z. f. duponcheli Verity, 1921
  • Z. f. filipendulae
  • Z. f. gemella Marten, 1956
  • Z. f. gemina Burgeff, 1914
  • Z. f. gigantea Rocci, 1913
  • Z. f. himmighofeni Burgeff, 1926
  • Z. f. liguris Rocci, 1925
  • Z. f. maior Esper, 1794
  • Z. f. mannii Herrich-Schaffer, 1852
  • Z. f. noacki Reiss, 1962
  • Z. f. oberthueriana Burgeff, 1926
  • Z. f. polygalae (Esper, 1783)
  • Z. f. praeochsenheimeri Verity, 1939
  • Z. f. pulcherrima Verity, 1921
  • Z. f. pulcherrimastoechadis Verity, 1921
  • Z. f. pyrenes Verity, 1921
  • Z. f. seeboldi Oberthur, 1910
  • Z. f. siciliensis Verity, 1917
  • Z. f. stephensi Dupont, 1900
  • Z. f. stoechadis (Borkhausen, 1793)
  • Z. f. zarana Burgeff, 1926


  1. ^ The flight season refers to the British Isles. This may vary in other parts of the range.


  • Chinery, Michael. Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe 1986. (reprinted 1991).
  • Skinner, Bernard.Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles 1984.
  • Fauna Europaea