Country Corner

Narrow Bordered Five Spot Burnet Moth photographed by Ann Pollard from Macmerry
Narrow Bordered Five Spot Burnet Moth photographed by Ann Pollard from Macmerry

Anne, who works at Macmerry Industrial Estate,sent me this moth photographed on her phone during lunchtime walks in summer.

Anne says there were lots of these around the area and wondered what they are.

Funny enough,I have seen them myself not far from there in a previous summer.

This is Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet moth, a bit of a mouthful for such a wee insect!

You may recall I have explained how this species has taken over from Six-spot Burnets, the common Burnet species in much of the Lothians.

This is because the relatively recently arrived Narrow-bordered Five-spot is far less fussy about which plants it lays its eggs on.

Six-spot Burnets are very loyal to bird’s foot trefoil, so tend to be confined to areas where that plant grows.

Narrow-bordered Five-spots will use most of the trefoils, clovers and vetches.

Clovers and vetches, in particular, are very common enabling this recent coloniser to spread widely.

Colourful though the moth appears in Anne’s vivid photograph, they are even more spectacular when they fly.

What you do not see in this picture are the smaller, but much brighter underwings.

These underwings are a deep reddish pink, turning flying moths into creatures as bright as any butterfly.

Burnet moths are thought to be butterflies by those who spot them flying around.

Anne had been a wee bit more observant than that, and even described to me the pale, papery cocoons attached to dry grass stalks.

You may still see evidence of this beautiful species in your own locality.

Many thanks for your photo Anne, it gives me the excuse to return to a summer subject in the depths of winter!