The now-extinct Sloan's urania Urania sloanus, from here.

Belongs within: Geometroidea.

The Uraniidae are a somewhat disparate group of moths united by the presence of sexually dimorphic tympanal organs on the abdomen. Members of the subfamily Uraniinae are often large, diurnal and superficially resemble butterflies in appearance.

Characters (from Nielsen & Common 1991): Small to large; head smooth scaled; ocelli absent; chaetosemata present, large; antennae thickened, dentate or pectinate in male, filiform in female; proboscis present, unscaled; maxillary palps minute, one-segmented; labial palps small, slender, upturned; epiphysis present; spurs 0-2-3 or 0-2-4; fore wing without wing-locking microtrichia, R5 well separated from other branches of R and usually forked with M1; CuP absent; 1A+2A sometimes with minute fork; hind wing with or without frenulum, with or without tails, M2 widely separate from M3, CuP absent, one or two anal veins; abdomen with dimorphic paired tympanal organs situated laterally between S2 and S3 in male and at base of S2 in female. Eggs of upright type. Larva with prolegs on segments 3-6 and 10, secondary setae few or absent, prothorax with two L setae, setae on raised pinacula, spiracles on prothorax and abdominal segment 8 much the largest; external feeder. Pupa with dense cover of fine punctures on abdomen, segments 5 and 6 movable, without dorsal spines, with pointed cremaster and divergent anal spines; in cocoon; not protruded at ecdysis.

<==Uraniidae [Uranioidea]
    |  i. s.: Phazaca decorata ZS10
    |         Dirades mamilata H01
    |         Chrysiridia ripheus RD77
    |--Epipleminae [Epiplemidae] GE05
    |    |--Balantiucha decorata NC91
    |    |--Lobogethes interrupta NC91
    |    |--Calledapteryx dryopterata KP19
    |    `--Epiblema F92
    |         |--E. semifuscana F92
    |         `--E. sordidana F92
    |--Microniinae [Micronidae, Strophidiadae] NC91
    |    |--Micronia aculeata NC91, WM66
    |    |--Aploschema discata NC91
    |    |--Acropteris nanula NC91
    |    |--Anteia acrosema Meyrick 1886 M86
    |    |--Strophidia harmonica Meyrick 1886 M86
    |    |--Urapteroides C70
    |    `--Stesichora M86
    |         |--S. puellaria M86
    |         `--S. sphaeristis Meyrick 1886 M86
    `--Uraniinae NC91
         |--Lyssa KP19
         |    |--L. patroclus NC91
         |    `--L. zampa KP19
         |--Alcides NC91
         |    |--A. agathyrsus DS73
         |    |--A. metaurus ZS10
         |    `--A. zodiaca DS73
         |--Nyctalemon C70
         |    |--N. orontes P27
         |    `--N. patroclus DS73
         |         |--N. p. patroclus DS73
         |         `--N. p. macleayi [incl. N. p. goldiei] DS73
         `--Urania GE05
              |--U. croesus DS73
              |--U. fulgens DS73
              |--U. leilus DS73
              |--U. marius R13
              |--U. ripheus [incl. Chrysiridia madagascariensis] DS73
              `--U. sloanus DS73

*Type species of generic name indicated


[C70] Common, I. F. B. 1970. Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers pp. 765–866. Melbourne University Press.

[DS73] Dickens, M., & E. Storey. 1973. The World of Moths. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.: New York.

[F92] Fan Z. 1992. Key to the Common Flies of China 2nd ed. Science Press: Beijing.

[GE05] Grimaldi, D., & M. S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press: New York.

[H01] Hampson, G. F. 1901. The Lepidoptera-Phalaenae of the Bahamas. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 7: 246–261.

[KP19] Kawahara, A. Y., D. Plotkin, M. Espeland, K. Meusemann, E. F. A. Toussaint, A. Donath, F. Gimnich, P. B. Frandsen, A. Zwick, M. dos Reis, J. R. Barber, R. S. Peters, S. Liu, X. Zhou, C. Mayer, L. Podsiadlowski, C. Storer, J. E. Yack, B. Misof & J. W. Breinholt. 2019. Phylogenomics reveals the evolutionary timing and pattern of butterflies and moths. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 116 (45): 22657–22663.

[M86] Meyrick, E. 1886. On some Lepidoptera from the Fly River. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (2): 241–258.

[NC91] Nielsen, E. S., & I. F. B. Common. 1991. Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 2 pp. 817–915. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[P27] Philpott, A. 1927. The maxillae in the Lepidoptera. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 721–746.

[R13] Reuter, O. M. 1913. Lebensgewohnheiten und Instinkte der Insekten bis zum Erwachen der sozialen Instinkte. R. Friedländer & Sohn: Berlin.

[RD77] Richards, O. W., & R. G. Davies. 1977. Imms' General Textbook of Entomology 10th ed. vol. 2. Classification and Biology. Chapman and Hall: London.

[WM66] Wallace, A. R., & F. Moore. 1866. List of lepidopterous insects collected at Takow, Formosa, by Mr. R. Swinhoe. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 355–365.

[ZS10] Zborowski, P., & R. Storey. 2010. A Field Guide to Insects in Australia 3rd ed. Reed New Holland: Sydney.

Last updated: 21 February 2021.


  1. couple of quick points:

    Urania currently has five (six?) species:
    U. boisduvalii
    U. sloanus
    U. poeyi
    U. fulgens
    U. leilus
    ?U. brasiliensis (sometimes considered ssp. of leilus)

    coresus and ripheus have long been transferred to a different genus, Chrysiridia

    Several genera and species are also missing … see Lees et al 1991: http://images.peabody.yale.edu/lepsoc/jls/1990s/1991/1991-45(4)296-Lees.pdf

  2. Thanks Vazrick. Most places on this site are, I'll admit, woefully incomplete; hopefully I'll be able to add to them over time. I've added the reference you gave me to my to-do list.


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