Burnet Moths

The most frequently encountered species is the 6-spot Burnet Moth in late July on the downs,
but 5-spot Burnet Moths occur earlier in the year

2 July 2010
At Old Shoreham, one Six-spotted Burnet Moth was seen to have recently emerged from its cocoon on a Wild Carrot on the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath south of the the old Toll Bridge.  
25 June 2010
A Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moth was spotted on a Hardhead flower on the short path through the broken gate between the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath and the towpath on the bend of the River Adur

A Burnet Moth was seen on the towpath just north of the Toll Bridge earlier in the day. But it flew around constantly and its identity could not be determined. 

20 June 2010
On the open part of the path that runs parallel with the dual carriageway at the top of the southern embankment of the the Slonk Hill Cutting, the first Six-spotted Burnet Moth settled on the first Tufted Vetch noted in flower this year. 
8 June 2010
In the late afternoon, 5:45 pm, Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil hosted a small Burnet Moth caterpillar on the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting.

16 July 2009
Six-spotted Burnet Moths were frequently seen both on Buckingham Cutting (south), north Shoreham, and on Mill Hill.

1 July 2009

Five-spot Burnet Moth
Holmbush Close Field, north Southwick
Six-spotted Burnet Moth
Buckingham Cutting (south), 
north Shoreham 

29 June 2009
On the Adur Levels, in a field north of Cuckoo's Corner, a few Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moths, Zygaena lonicerae, visited Tufted Vetch, for the first record in 2009.
Six-spotted Burnet Moth
Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moths

12 June 2009
 My first of the year Six-spotted Burnet Moth was one of two on Creeping Thistle at the back of Dacre Gardens next to Anchor Bottom, Upper Beeding.

14 July 2008
On Greater Knapweed, the first confirmed Six-spotted Burnet Moths were spotted on the south-facing Horseshoe Vetch slope of Anchor Bottom, Upper Beeding.

29 July 2007
Frequent 6-spot Burnet Moths were seen on the breeze-swept plateau on Mill Hill, most often visiting Greater Knapweed and Field Scabious.

Burnet Moths on Scabious on Anchor BottomReports with dates:

22 July 2007
On Anchor Bottom, Upper Beeding (Dacre Garden entrance) there were over twenty Six-spot Burnet Moths. Their preferred choice of flower was Scabious.

14 July 2007
There were a handful of 6-spot Burnet Moths whirring around south of Old Shoreham Toll Bridge.

13 July 2007
I stopped at the Downs Link Cyclepath verge meadow just south of the Cement Works where there were a handful of 6-spot Burnet Moths whirring in between the herbs.They showed a preference for landing on Creeping Thistle.
8 July 2007
This 6-spot Burnet Moth was seen on Mill Hill. 

1 July 2007
My first 6-spot Burnet Moth of the year visited a flowering Buddleia on the Downs Link path south of the Toll Bridge.

23 July 2006
At least, in the late morning it was a bit cooler (after the thunderstorms of 22 July 2006) mostly overcast at 24.1 ºC from 11:00 am,  and tolerable for watching Lepidoptera. Six-spot Burnet Moths were frequently seen and frequently overlooked on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
Adur Moths

12 July 2006
6-spot Burnet Moths were seen on the Coastal Link Cyclepath.
6-spot Burnet Moth

11 July 2006
6-spot Burnet Moths and Silver Y Moths were frequently seen on Slonk Hill south and Mill Hill.

28 June 2006
A handful of the first Burnet Moths of the year were seen on Lancing Ring meadows and around the dewpond. The abdomens of these were moths were bright blue. The spots were not counted as they were too flighty.

8 July 2005

Burnet Moths were flying over Mill Hill and emerging from their cocoons. Most seemed to be Six-spot Burnets, and some seem to have faded their last spot, and one could have been a 5-spotted one.

29 June 2005
On the rough ground south of the Elm Corridor in New Monks Farm (west) a dozen of the first Burnet Moths of the year were first recorded. However, this was just the first time I had seen them settled and some of the earlier Cinnabar Moths reported were Burnets. They were most likely to have been the Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moth, Zygaena lonicerae.

20 July 2004
A sea mist rolled over the Lancing Ring meadows and there were a few spots of rain. 6-spot Burnet Moths were emerging from their cocoons.

19 July 2004
There were over 40 Six-spot Burnet Moths on Mill Hill.

15 July 2004
On the upper slopes of Mill Hill, there was a very faded Burnet Moth illustrated below.

29 June 2004
There was a Burnet Moth with a striking blue striped abdomen (below right). This was originally thought ( I made this identification because of the blue colour which was most striking and I was disappointed that I did not chase the moth around enough to get a decent photograph) to be the Narrow-bordered Five-Spot Burnet Moth, Zygaena lonicerae. However, it it was perhaps even more likely to be a late flyer of the Five-Spot Burnet Moth, Zygaena trifolii ssp. palustrella.
Message from Trevor Boyd on UK Leps
Report with Image
Adur Burnet Moths
Images (Photographs by Mike Wall)
Burnet larvae feeding on Clover (May 2003)
Burnet Moth with a very bluish abdomen (not shown) If the larval food plant is Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil and the habitat is marshy, it sounds like Five-spot Burnet (Zygaena trifolii) subsp. decreta, but this is no longer found east of the New Forest as far as I know. The flight time is late June to early August, but as your picture shows a rather worn specimen at end June, it might indicate something else. Subsp. palustrella is found on chalk downland south of the Thames (this includes Sussex) and flies earlier - mid May to mid June. Larval foodplant in this case is Bird's-foot Trefoil.
The Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet (Zygaena lonicerae subsp. latomarginata) is certainly in your area, found on both marshes and chalk downs, and flies from late June to July.
Both species have a blue-green sheen, but Z. lonicerae rarely shows confluence of the two middle spots while Z. trifolii often shows them merged, and there is much more variability of the spots.
Altogether not conclusive either way! They are not easy to tell apart.

19 June 2004
On the southern bank of the A27 Shoreham By-pass (Buckingham to Slonk Hill South) there was one Burnet Moth caterpillar crawling up the stalk of a Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil plant. The height of this plant was at least 24 cm. It was not upright though but either wind blown or prostrate. The recognised food plants of the 6-spot Burnet Moth (flies in June and July) caterpillars in England is Bird's Foot Trefoil, but for the 5-spot larger subspecies decreta (flies in July and early August) it is the Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil, and for the smaller subspecies palustrella (flies on downland in May and June) it is Bird's Foot Trefoil.
Common Bird's-foot Trefoil  Lotus corniculatus 
Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus uliginosus

Photograph by Ray Hamblett18 June 2004
A caterpillar discovered crawling over the Dogwood on Lancing Clump is one of the Burnet moth larva, but which one, the 6-spot, Zygaena filipendulae?

Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on UK Leps (Yahoo Group)

27 July 2001
I went up the the Lancing Ring chalk pits (east side) (TQ 187 063) to try and find out what burnet moths they were by counting the spots. This was difficult because these moths would not settle.  There were about 15 moths in a couple of small meadows, attracted to Greater Knapweed.
UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)
Cornish Moths

18 July 2001
The only insect of note on Mill Hill was a solitary Burnet Moth south of the car park (TQ 212 072). It quickly flew away, the bright red most distinguishable. One of the reasons for my identification was the cocoon photographed at the end of July 2002 and shown below (this replaced an earlier photograph of July 2000).

Burnet Moth Cocoon (Photograph by Ray Hamblett 27 July 2002)

Burnet Moths at Mill Hill and Lancing Ring(late July 2000)
feeding on Greater Knapweed
6-spot Burnet Moth, Zygaena filipendulae


Sussex and the Downs Smart Group  (Discussion Group)Adur Valley Nature Notes 2002