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


Subfamily: Procridinae
Genus: Adscita

The Forester – 2019 (NL)
(NCBI-index: 753147)

The Netherlands’ most common type of metal butterfly is the Forester (Adscita statices). The forewing is metallic green, sometimes bluish, and the hindwing is light brown-grey. The abdomen is red or green with a metallic sheen. Here, the Forester differs from the Blackthorn Aurora Moth (Rhagades prune), which has a black abdomen. The male has slightly more prominent, broader 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.

Flying period:


Subfamily: Procridinae
Genus: Rhagades

Blackthorn Aurora – 2017 (NL)
(NCBI-index: 287213)

The Blackthorn Aurora (Rhagades pruni) is a very active small butterfly during the day. The forewing is brown-black, and the female has a weak green metallic glow. The hindwing 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.

Flying period:


Subfamily: Zygaeninae
Genus: Zygaena

Six-spot Burnet – 2016 (NL)
(NCBI-index: 287375)

The Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae) is a butterfly with six red spots on the forewing. The red spot at the base is separated by a vein, and care must be taken to identify it. Rarely is the red colour 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 various flowers, including thistles. Host plant: Common Clover, Bird’s-foot and Trefoil. Dutch name: Sint-jansvlinder. Frisian name: Sint-jansflinter.

Flying period: