Saturday, 6 July 2013

Burnet

Yesterday's walk proved to be well worth it, despite the battle with thousands of biting Cleg Flies which seem to have taken to the wing at once.  Walking over the old, disused car parks of what was once the American Adventure Theme Park, I was treated to the sight of hundreds of Five-spot Burnet Moths (Zygaena trifolii).
Common in these parts, it is supposedly more often seen on Southern Britain and Wales, but seems to be doing well around here too.  Named after the five spots on its fore wings, theses attractive moths were all enjoying the nectar from the many Lucerne (Medicago sativa) plants which thrive here.
The larval stage of the Five-spot Burnet Moth, feeds mainly on Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), another member of the Pea family.  Lucerne, sometimes called Alfalfa is thought to have originated in the Middle East - possibly Iran, but has been widely planted throughout the world as a major fodder crop and is now found growing wild almost world-wide.  Alfalfa seed is also used as it starts to germinate, with the resulting sprouts being eaten particularly in salad dishes.
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