More than 3400 species of moths live in Slovenia. Moths differ from butterflies already in appearance. Their wings are coloured predominantly white, silver, black or gold. The antennae are, unlike knobbed antennae of butterflies, shaped like feathers, comb or are threadlike in shape. While all species of butterflies are active only during the day not all of the moths are nocturnal – some species are active mainly during the day.
Moths are divided into several taxonomic groups, among which the most well-known are tineid moths, ermine moths, burnet moths, grass moths, leafroller moths, geometer moths, processionary moths, hawk-moths and owlet moths. Some species are economically significant – they are pollinators of cultivated plants and produce silk - Japanese silk moth (Antheraea yamamai). Others cause damage to crop plants (European corn borer, codling moth) and ornamental plants (box tree moth). Burnet moths are diurnally active and colourfully coloured moths that are poisonous, as they secrete cyanide. Hawk-moths are large moths, this group includes convolvulus hawk-moth (Herse convolvuli), privet hawk moth (Sphinx ligustri) and death’s-head hawk-moth (Acherontia atropos).
Death’s-head hawk-moth M. Podletnik
Jersey tiger (Callimorpha quadripunctaria) is a moth that grows up to 7 cm in size and has a characteristic pattern of white-yellow stripes on the upper side of its wings. The underside of the wings is brick-red in colour. Caterpillars most often feed on the holy rope (Eupatorium cannabinum), though they also eat wild marjoram (also known as oregano) and species from the genera of mints, thistles, buglosses and widow flowers. It lives on the forest edges, along the forest paths and in areas with herbaceous forest vegetation. Species overwinters in the form of caterpillars and is a single-generation species, which is active between July and Septembers. It is a common widespread species in Slovenia. Jersey tiger is endangered by encroachments into the forest edges, overgrowing of forest edges with trees and afforestation of forest clearings, which results in loss of herbaceous layer. It has the status of a vulnerable species and is a qualifying species of the Natura 2000 site Goričko.