Very similar to and sometimes difficult to distinguish from the Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet. Consequently, the distribution of the Five-spot Burnet is imperfectly known. In general, the forewing of the Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet is longer and more pointed, the upper angle of the hindwing being more pointed and the black border of the hindwing being narrower than those of the Five-spot Burnet. Rarely the red colour is replaced by yellow.

Sometimes found commonly, the moth flies with a slow buzzing flight during sunshine and visits a range of flowers.

Size and Family

  • Family – Burnets and Foresters (Zygaenids)
  • Medium Sized 
  • Wingspan range 28-38mm

Conservation Status

    • UK BAP: Not listed
    • Local (only found in some areas)

    Caterpillar Food Plants

    Subspecies palustrella feeds on Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). The caterpillar of subspecies decreta feeds on Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus uliginosus).


    Damp neutral grassland, limestone grassland, chalk downland, breck grassland, sandy heathland, sand dunes, woodland rides and clearings


    • Countries – England, Wales
    • Two subspecies are found in the UK. Subspecies palustrella is distributed along the North and South Downs, Salisbury Plain and the Cotswolds. Also occurs on the Channel Islands. Subspecies decreta is found in southern and south-western England and parts of Wales, often near the coast, north to Anglesey. Also found on the Isle of Man.
    Five-spot Burnet - creaturesnapper

    Five-spot Burnet

    Five-spot Burnet - Frank Vassen

    Five-spot Burnet

    Five-spot Burnet - Heath McDonald

    Five-spot Burnet

    Five-spot Burnet (male & female) - Heath McDonald

    Five-spot Burnet (male & female)

    Five-spot Burnet (caterpillar) - gailhampshire

    Five-spot Burnet (caterpillar)

    Five-spot Burnet (caterpillar) - gailhampshire

    Five-spot Burnet (caterpillar)

    Five-spot Burnet (caterpillar) - Ann Collier

    Five-spot Burnet (caterpillar)

    Five-spot Burnet (cocoon) - Ann Collier

    Five-spot Burnet (cocoon)