Red-and-black insect, size of grasshopper
July 28, 2009
I saw this lovely red and black insect swaying around on the top of a flower in a fairly strong wind. Size of a grasshopper, but didn’t seem to be typically grasshopper-y, to my eyes at least. Location was grassland and scrub around clay pit in the Surrey Hills ANOB, time was late afternoon late July.
Hambledon, Surrey Hills ANOB
We believe your lovely diurnal or day flying moth is the Six-Spot Burnet, Zygaena filipendulae. There is a wonderful website for the identification of UK Moths that has a quick way to reference moths by families, the thumbnail index, and the Six-Spot Burnet was quickly located in the family Zygaenidae, the Leaf Skeletonizer Moths. According to UK Moths, the Six-Spot Burnet has a “Wingspan 30-38 mm. This is the commonest of Britain’s day-flying Burnet moths, and is found throughout Britain, with a coastal bias in the North. Occupying meadows, woodland clearings and sea-cliffs, it flies from June to August. The larvae feed mainly on bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).“ Thanks for educating us today that AONB stands for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.