Burnets (Zygaenidae) are diurnal moths of which only a few species occur in Europe. These butterflies are poisonous due to the presence of hydrocyanic acid and therefore have a bad taste for enemies, such as birds, bats and spiders. The antennae are often toothed or club-shaped. The adult butterflies vary in size and have a well-developed tongue and often visit flowers for nectar. The wings vary widely in shape and are often metallic in colour. The Zygaenidae consist of two subfamilies, the Zygaeninae (drops of blood) and the Procridinae (metal butterflies).

Subfamily: Procridinae (metal butterflies) – Tribe: Procridini

Blackthorn Aurora – 2017 (NL)

The Blackthorn Aurora (Rhagades pruni) is a very active small butterfly during the day. The front wing is brown-black with the female mainly having a weak green metallic glow. The rear wing is dark grey. The flight time is from June to August in one generation. Host plant: common heather. Dutch name: Bruine metaalvlinder. Frisian name: Brúne metal flinter.


The Forester – 2019 (NL)

The most common type of metal butterflies in the Netherlands is the Forester (Adscita statices). The front wing is metallic green, sometimes bluish, and the rear wing is light brown-grey. The abdomen is red or green with a metallic sheen. Here the metal butterfly differs from the brown metal butterfly (Rhagades pruni) which has a black abdomen. The male has slightly larger, wider and more sprung antennae than the female. The flying period is in one generation from mid-May to early August. Host plant: sorrel. Dutch name: Metaalvlinder. Frisian name: Metal flinter.


Subfamily: Zygaeninae (drops of blood)

Six-spot Burnet – 2016 (NL)

The Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae) is a butterfly with six red spots on the front wing. The red spot at the wing root is separated by a vein and care must taken for identification. Rarely, the red colour is replaced by yellow. The ground colour of this butterfly is blue-grey. The flight time is in one generation from May to September. He flies with a usually slow buzzing flight during sunshine and is mainly attracted to a range of flowers including thistles. Host plant: common clover, Bird’s-foot and Trefoil. Dutch name: Sint-jansvlinder. Frisian name: Sint-jansflinter.