Glass dome Urania rhipheus
6 x Urania rhipheus under glass dome
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SPECIES : Urania rhipheus
Chrysiridia (or Urania) rhipheus, the Madagascan sunset moth, is a species of day-flying moth of the family Uraniidae. It is considered one of the most impressive and appealing-looking lepidopterans. Famous worldwide, it is featured in most coffee table books on Lepidoptera and is much sought after by collectors. It is very colourful, though the iridescent parts of the wings do not have pigment; rather the colours originate from optical interference. Adults have a wingspan of 7–9 cm (2.8–3.5 in).
At first the moth was thought to be from China or Bengal, but was later found to be endemic to Madagascar. It is found throughout the year in most parts of the island, with peak populations between March and August.
GENUS : Chrysiridia
FAMILY : Uraniidae
The family Uraniidae contains both diurnal and nocturnal species. The day-flying species are usually more strikingly colored and vibrant than the nocturnal ones. Many diurnal species also have iridescent scales and multiple tails, which often led them to be mistaken for butterflies.
ORDER : Lepidoptera
Well-known groups of Lepidoptera include plume moths, hawk-moths, loopers, swift-moths, skippers, butterflies, tiger moths, grass moths, clearwing moths, clothes moths and burnet moths. Worldwide there are around 160,000 known species in 120 families; in Britain there are about 2,570 species in 72 families.