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David Clarke

Joined March 2009

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The air traffic around our lavender is heavily congested in the summertime, as can be seen by this moth and a small bee both heading for the same flower head.
I haven’t identified the bee, but thanks to the advice of my moth expert friend John Firth, I now know the moth is a Six-spot Burnet Zygaena filipendulae. According to John, and to Mr Wikipedia, the Burnet’s are grass, clover and bird’s foot trefoil feeders, but they are clearly partial to a tasty morsel of lavender as well, as shown in the supplementary image below.

Image captured 1July 2011in my garden, south of Arezzo, Italy.
Canon 1DMkII with a Canon 300mm f2.8 IS lens, Canon 1.4x extender and Canon 25mm tube; ISO 250 f4 1/4000

Uploaded 9 July 2011
Number of views on 8 December 2011: 124
31 January 2012: 200

Mr Wiki’s wisdom on the subject is (partially) as follows:
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.

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