Bonking burnets!

The small male, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet moth (Zygaena lonicerae), did not seem to mind being dragged around by the much larger female as she nectared on thistle flowers whilst they remained in copula!

Burnet moths (Zygaena spp.) can remain in copula for considerable periods of time, up to 24 hours according to HofmAnn and Kia-Hofmann (2011), and presumably need to feed during this time.

Female burnet moths often mate more than once in an effort to accumulate toxins, cyanogenic glucosides, which are provided by males as a nuptial gift; as I discussed in a previous blog (Black and red and poisonous!) on these brightly coloured moths.

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet moths (female above)

These images were taken on the grounds of Scarborough Castle on 7th July 2022.

Scarborough Castle, North Yorkshire


HofmAnn, A., & Kia-Hofmann, T. (2011). Ovipositing, egg-batch formation and embryonic development in burnet moths (Zygaena Fabricius, 1775)(Lepidoptera: Zygaenidae). Entomologists Gazette62(1), 35.

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