Many people are concerned with saving of notable mammals and bird but hardly of insects and other creepy-crawlies. Invertebrates (insects and allied groups) are the most diverse and abundant, but yet barely know animals. It is believed that up to 44,000 bugs of all varieties could have become extinct during the last 600 years. Of them, only 72 insect extinctions have been documented worldwide since the 15th century. Habitat loss is one of the main reasons responsible for the extinction of insects.
The Sloan’s Urania (Urania sloanus) was one of the most spectacular dayflying moth species, endemic to the island of Jamaica. It was last reported in 1894 or 1895, but possibly surviving until at least 1908. Habitat loss, when Jamaica’s lowland rainforests were cleared and converted to agricultural land during the colonial era, may have contributed to its extinction. Most probably, this species disappeared due to the loss of one of its larval foodplants, as Urania larvae feed exclusively on rainforest lianas belonging to the genus Omphalea.
The photographed specimen is one of the three specimens of this unique species retained in the Manchester Museum. None of them has got any associated label saying when and who collected them. Most probably, these specimens were purchased from one of the London natural history dealers at the end of 19th century. These specimens constitute a valuable part of C.H. Schill World Lepidoptera collection acquired by the Manchester Museum in March 1893.