Cute but toxic

DAY 57 (1 JUNE) – Six-spot burnet (Zygaena filipendulae) (Grazalema, Spain)

Very excited to include my first insect, high in the Grazalema mountains today. He (or she) was hanging on tight to a scabious flower in a very strong Levante wind.

Took me ages to identify – there doesn’t seem to be a website, as there is for plants, where you can find out what it is by dropping in a photo. So I identified the scabious instead, then found out which insects like it and he popped up.

The six-spot burnet turns out to be a day-flying moth, common in many parts of Europe except (says the source) in Portugal and western Spain – so either they are wrong or he’s on vacation here…

The bright colours are a warning to predators like birds and lizards that he is toxic. When attacked, he’ll emit a liquid containing cyanide. Glad I didn’t get too close.

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