Six-spot burnet

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Six-spot burnet
Six-spot burnet moth (Zygaena filipendulae) fresh.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 mm (1.2–1.6 in). The fore wings are dark metallic green with six vivid red spots (sometimes the spots are merged causing possible confusion with other species such as the five-spot burnet). Occasionally, the spots are yellow or even black. The hind wings 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.

Young adult
Mature adult
Adult (underside)


  • 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