More Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnets discovered

A second colony of Zygaena lonicerae, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet, has been found in Devon at Mincinglake Valley Park, Exeter by Sam Stripp and her son Tim.

Mincinglake Valley Park

Mincinglake Valley Park, Exeter in Devon

After reading about the first discovery of this beautiful day-flying moth in Devon in 2011 (near Sampford Peverell), they decided to pay closer attention to Burnet moths. Shortly afterwards, whilst dog-walking in Mincinglake Valley Park, Exeter, they were surprised to find a host of adult burnets on thistle flowers. A few individuals were potted up to try to confirm their identity, before being released unharmed the following day.

Distinguishing adults of the Five-spot Burnet, which is the usual one in Devon, from the Narrow-bordered Five-spot, which is widespread over much of the rest of Britain, is very difficult and the Mincinglake moths remained unidentified.

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet larva

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet larva

However, when released, it was discovered that one of the moths had laid eggs in the pot. These were cared for by the Stripps and, in due course, larvae emerged which could be positively identified as being Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnets (larvae of which have much longer hairs than the other species).

Devon now has two known locations for Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet, but surely more must remain as yet undiscovered.