Stuart1960's picture

Unknown moth?

Observed: 29th July 2009 By: Stuart1960
unknown moth?

About an inch in length and apologies for poor photo.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Roger Gilbert's picture

Why subsp. stephensi......

the moth site I find useful UK Moths doesn't mention any subspecies for any of the Burnet Moths.

Howardian Local Nature Reserve

Nature girl's picture


I was unaware that there were subspecies for the burnets as well until now, but it seems there are quite a lot despite them not being mentioned on that very useful site. In my moth book (Townsend & Waring) there are 3 subspecies mentioned: Z. f. stephensi, Z. f. unitella and Z. f. flava. The stephensi one seems to be the most common form (it's the "default" in my book), whereas ssp. unitella has the two red spots at the end of the forewing fused together and ssp. flava has yellow spots instead of red.

I agree with Max now that it is in fact the six-spot because there are two spots at the end of the forewing, whereas the five-spot would only have one.

Roger Gilbert's picture

Thank you ....

I agree with Six-sopt Burnet and looking more closley I see flava is on UK Moths. I shall have to look out for these varieties. Has this not got one spot on the forewing?

Howardian Local Nature Reserve

Nature girl's picture

Number of spots

When I say the "end" of the forewing that's probably not the best description - there must be a technical term, but my knowledge of moth anatomy is limited... By "end", I mean the part of the forewing furthest from the head. The five-spot, as far as I'm aware, has the single spot at the "end" of the forewing, whereas the six-spot has two spots there.

There does appear to be a single spot at the head-end of the forewing on the six-spot, but in fact (as my book tells me) this is actually two spots separated by a membrane so this is technically defined as two spots.

Hope I haven't confused you further!

Roger Gilbert's picture

Thank you Nature girl ........

this gives me renewed interest in Burnets I shall be sure to pay each one attention in future I did find a confluent form posted to ispot
is a form a subsp. ?

Howardian Local Nature Reserve

Nature girl's picture

Forms and subspecies

In the case of the Burnets I believe that a form is a subspecies, but I'm not sure if this applies to forms of all species. From the 3 subspecies of Z. filipendulae mentioned in my book, I would say that your confluent form is most likely ssp. unitella because of the fused spots. However, I'm guessing that there are more than 3 subspecies and I can't seem to find more details about ssp. unitella on the web so it could well be a different subspecies.

Thanks to you too for commenting on this post because otherwise I wouldn't have found out about these subspecies either!

N.B. When I said above that the two spots were separated by a "membrane" I meant by a "vein"