Glasgow & SW Scotland Butterflies

Glasgow & SW Scotland Branch Website

March 7, 2010

Transparent Burnet Surveys in Argyll in 2010

Filed under: Moths — Andrew Masterman @ 11:24 am

Transparent Burnet (Zygaena purpuralis) like the other burnet moths is a striking insect. Instead of red spots, the Transparent Burnet sports bars of red on its transparent wings - hence its name.

Transparent Burnet   Credit: Neil Gregory

Transparent Burnet Credit: Neil Gregory

 

The strongholds of this amazing moth are the Hebridean islands of Mull, Skye, Ulva, Eigg, Canna, and Rhum and the only records on the mainland are around Oban and also in parts of Kintyre. It was seen on the islands of Kerrera and Lismore in 1960 but there are no recent records.

Transparent Burnet  Credit: Tom Prescott

Transparent Burnet Credit: Tom Prescott

The adults are day-flying in warm sunshine from early June to July and the caterpillars feed on Wild Thyme (Thymus praecox). It overwinters as a caterpillar. Its habitat is steep, heathy and grassy south and south-west facing slopes and under-cliffs. Sites with Transparent Burnet are normally within a few km of the coast on cliffs or steep hillside where Wild Thyme grows in abundance.

There are two methods of surveying this spectacular moth. Searching for the day-flying adults on sunny days from early June to July is the obvious one and if successful, you get the reward of seeing this beautiful moth. Alternatively, during April and early May, you can look for the full-grown caterpillars which are easy to spot on the low growing Wild Thyme  which is their foodplant.

Transparent Burnet nectaring on wild thyme  Credit: John Knowler

Transparent Burnet nectaring on wild thyme Credit: John Knowler

All the historical Transparent Burnet sites in vice-county 98 (Argyll Main) are shown on the map below but many of them are not recent and these sites need revisting to check that the moth is still present. Also,  it is very likely that Transparent Burnet is under-recorded.  So once you have checked out one of the known sites and have learnt to recognise the habitat and hopefully seen the insect itself, it is hoped that you might go on to look for Transparent Burnet as other potential sites along the coast.

SAFETY ADVICE: steep coastal cliffs which Transparent Burnet inhabits are potentially dangerous places should you slip so don’t put yourself at risk during these surveys. The adults are conspicuous insects and use of a pair of binoculars to scan suitable sites on cliffs is recommended and avoids the need for accessing steep slopes.

 

Transparent Burnet sites in Vice-County 98

Transparent Burnet sites in Vice-County 98

 
A closer up view of most of the records is shown in the two maps below:

Transparent Burnet sites around Loch Feochan

Transparent Burnet sites around Loch Feochan

 

Transparent Burnet sites around Glen Lonan

Transparent Burnet sites around Glen Lonan

 

And the grid references of all the sites and dates of last record are shown in the Table below. You can download the maps and Table in a Word document by clicking here.

Site

Gridref

Quantity

Date

Recorder

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin

NM844229

1

03-Jun-08

Andrew Masterman

Argyll>Kerrara

NM801268

0

1960

Unknown

Argyll>Lismore>Loch Fiart

NM805375

0

1960

Unknown

Argyll>Oban>Loch Nell

NM82

0

1960

Tremewan, W.G.

Argyll>Loch Feochan>Minard

NM820237

0

1960

Unknown

Argyll>Oban>Glen Lonan

NM9128

0

1960

Unknown

Argyll>Oban>Glen Lonan

NM9128

0

1960

Thomson, G.

Argyll>Loch Feochan>Minard

NM8123

0

1978

Agassiz, Rev D.J.L.

Argyll>Oban>Glen Lonan

NM9128

0

1984

Hadley, M. & Church, S.H.

Argyll>Oban>Beinn Lora

NM915372

0

1994

Bourn, N.

Argyll>Oban>Beinn Lora

NM910373

0

23-Jun-88

W G Tremewan

Argyll>Loch Feochan>Minard

NM816237

0

23-Jun-88

W G Tremewan

Argyll>Oban>Loch Nell

NM884276

0

24-Jun-88

W G Tremewan

Argyll>Glen Lonan,>Deadh Choimhead

NM943286

0

24-Jun-88

W G Tremewan

Argyll>Oban>Beinn Lora

NM917372

302

27-Jun-95

David Barbour

Argyll>Oban>Beinn Lora

NM917372

34

04-Jul-95

David Barbour

Argyll>Oban>Beinn Lora

NM917372

32

11-Jul-95

David Barbour

Argyll>Oban>Gallanach

NM827262

1

30-May-04

Helen Bibby

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin  WGS block

NM846229

8

26-Jun-05

Jaimie Mellor

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin

NM842228

4

20-Sep-04

Jamie Mellor

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin

NM842228

10

22-Jun-04

Jamie Mellor

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin

NM842228

4

25-Jun-04

Jamie Mellor

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin

NM846229

3

25-Jun-04

Jamie Mellor

Argyll>Oban>Minard Point

NM817237

0

21-Jun-82

McCormick, Roy F.

Argyll>Glen Lonan>Deadh Chomhead

NM946282

30

28-Jun-02

John Knowler

 

Written by Andrew Masterman

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5 Comments »

  1. Huge numbers of Transparent Burnet Moths on the wing on Eigg this June. Certainly many 1,000 insects around the coastal heaths along the south & west coasts of the island. In 26 years recording I’ve never known them so plentiful.

    Comment by John Chester — June 19, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

  2. Pretty sure I see one of these every day in the Methil area of the Firth of Forth at the moment?

    Comment by Jason Argent — July 7, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

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