Species

Zygaena loti scotica

Authority

Zygaena loti scotica (Rowland-Brown, 1919)

Family

Zygaenidae

Brief Description

The slender scotch burnet moth is a red and black day-flying moth with a wingspan of 25-30 mm. Larvae are dark grey green, with indistinct yellow and black spots along the side. According to UK moths website the larvae feed from August to early May on common bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), overwintering once or twice as a larva.

Species Category

Fauna - Insect (Moth) - Native

Distribution

Endemic to Scotland and found at fewer than 10 sites on Mull, Gometra and Ulva. It was formerly known from the Scottish mainland near Lochaline and the Morvern in Argyll but has not been seen there since 1945.

Habitat

Steep grassy slopes and banks and hillocks on sunny, south-facing coasts.

Threats

According to SNH the slender Scotch burnet is now restricted to a few island colonies in Argyll, having become extinct on the mainland. The main threats are recorded as inappropriate grazing levels, afforestation and isolation of colonies. Due to under-grazing, bracken invasion has damaged several sites reducing the availability of Lotus corniculatus. Encroachment of the habitat from Cotoneaster species is also recorded as a problem. The species was listed as Declining in 2011 despite the discovery of additional sub-populations at more sites on the islands and sympathetic habitat management on privately owned sites (Parsons et al 2011).

Burnet moth symposium 2014

In 2014 an international symposium on the subject of Burnet moths was held at Glengorm, Isle of Mull. You can read about it here in a summary written by Stephanie Cope, the Glengorm Wildlife Ranger.

References and further reading

Parsons, M., Prescott, T., Shortall, C., Conrad, K. 2011. Scottish Moths - Trend Note. Scottish Natural Heritage.

This page last updated on 19 Nov 2014