Zygaenidae : Zygaeninae
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Similar Herts & Middlesex Species
Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet
Zygaena lonicerae
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Five-spot Burnet
Zygaena trifolii

(Esper, 1783) 170 / 54.010

General comments:
Separating this species from the very similar Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet is likely to prove extremely difficult for the inexperienced. In terms of the wider national picture, the Five-spot Burnet is to be found on the western edge of England and Wales and along the southern edge of England as far east as about Sussex, whilst the Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet is found throughout the rest of England (including our area) and very sparingly in both Scotland and Ireland. There is a limited amount of overlap in the range of the two species, but Hertfordshire and Middlesex are well outside this 'danger zone'. Thus, all records of the pair in our county ought to relate to the Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet and voucher specimens will be required to support any claim that differs. Five-spot Burnet takes the form of two subspecies: ssp. decreta Verity is associated with Large Bird's-foot Trefoil in wet habitats whilst ssp. palustrella Verity is associated with ordinary Bird's-foot Trefoil on chalkland sites.

Hertfordshire Notes: However, there are a number of claimed occurrences of Z. trifolii for Hertfordshire; these require careful examination. Records from Oughton Head and St Ipollyts 'on marshy ground' in 1892 given in Gibbs (1893), are also mentioned by Foster (1916) who says that these relate to 'the marsh form var. palustris' [now called decreta] and credits the records to Tutt (recording the sites as Ippolyts Common and Oughton Head Common). He goes on to say that at the Ippolyts Common site there have been no records for the past five years [to 1916], but that at the Oughton Head site both 'the type and var. palustris are still very abundant'. He concludes by saying that 'Other localities for the type are Pegsdon Hills, Royston, North Road [the A1 Great North Road], near Gravely, Wilbury Hill and Offley Park'. He also lists Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet on the same page, but says that it is very scarce with only one site near Hitchin. Hitchin, Hemel Hempstead, Cheshunt, Bayford, Watford, Berkhamsted and Broxbourne are all listed for this species by Foster (1937). In 1934 - 35 there was said to be a small colony on the south side of Berkhamsted Common, but it had disappeared when this information was published by Hodgson (1939). More recently, at least in terms of publication date, there is one open-circle record shown for ten-kilometre square TL 30, indicating a 1960 record, volume 2 of The Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland (Harley Books). The square TL 30 is entirely within vice county 20 and is the one that includes the Broxbourne Woods complex. This chapter was prepared by the late W. G. Tremewan, one of the world's foremost authorities on the Zygaenidae, to whom I am grateful for helpful correspondence in this matter. Gerry Tremewan wrote to me 'I can no longer remember where in Hertfordshire the record for the open circle came from, but it must have been genuine, otherwise I would not have accepted it. However, I do remember that there was a record for Broxbourne in 1894, (cited by Tutt, 1899, Nat. Hist. Br. Lepidoptera: 498) and I think this must refer to one published in the literature. Tutt cites the recorder as Battley.

Middlesex Notes:
Never recorded

Determination by Genitalia Examination Required

Recorded in 2 (5%) of 41 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1940.
Last Recorded in 1961.
Additional Stats

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List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
1961+20TL21 - Welwyn Garden City
1940+20TL31 - Hertford
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
Express Record Five-spot Burnet
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VC20 VC21 VC21 VC20
Click Map for Details
Forewing: 14-19mm.
Flight: One generation. June-Aug.
Foodplant:   Greater and Common Bird's-foot-trefoil
Red List: Least Concern (LC)
GB Status: Common
Former Status: Local
Verification Grade:  Adult: 4
 Immature Adult   [Show Flight Weeks]
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