Conservation

Conservation status

Urania sloanus is extinct, the species being last seen between1894 -1895 (Lewis, 1944; Perkins, 1944; Lees and Smith, 1991).

Two beautiful specimens (one of which illustrated on first page) are known in Italian collections labelled 1908 and collected in Jamaica by 'local collectors', but it is not certain if this really represents the collection date (Vinciguerra, 2009).

The implication that Andrey Avinoff documented the species in the 1930s in Jamaica is misleading. Avinoff specimens were probably acquired from old collections from the mid 1800’s (J.E. Rawlins, pers.comm.).

Surveys of O. triandra in Jamaica need to be carried out to see:

  • what coastal Omphalea populations remain (a coastal population remains at Dolphin Head: A. Kawakita, pers. comm..)
  • whether the plants have been colonised by apparently immigrant Urania, such as ones recorded at light by Lewis, 1945 (representing either Urania fulgens or Urania poeyi (Lees and Smith, 1991) or from the University of West Indies in 1987 (see also http://www.mbarnes.force9.co.uk/jamaicamoths/images2/urapoe.htm)
Threats

Urania sloanus is almost certainly extinct, its demise thought by Lees and Smith (1991) to be due to four possible factors:

  • loss of host plants, that might include Omphalea diandra, a plant once reported from Jamaica (Lees and Smith, 1991)
  • extreme population cyclicity
  • habitat destruction 
  • possibly cyclones 

It cannot be established if mass clearance of lowland forest or merely of coastal forest led to its demise, but this factor alone seems unlikely because substantial tracts of lowland forest with Jamaican cobnut remain on limestone.

Trends

The moth became increasingly rare in the early 1890's with years passing between sightings (Townend, 1893), the last by schoolboys in 1894 -1895 (Lewis, 1944).