Types of Castniidae (Lepidoptera) in the Smithsonian Entomology Collection, National Museum of Natural History (Washington, D.C.)


Les types de Castniidae (Lepidoptera) dans la collection d'entomologie de la Smithsonian Institution, Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (Washington, D.C.)


  • Jorge M. González


Résumé Plan Texte Bibliographie Auteur Citation PDF


Abstract / Résumé / Resumen

A list of types of Castniidae housed in the Entomology Collection, National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., USA is provided. The specimens belonging to nine species, as well as details on current taxonomic status, type localities, known distribution, and general comments on the mentioned species, are also included. Holotypes and syntypes are figured.

Keywords: Castniidae – Giant Butterfly-moths – inventory – types – Smithsonian Institution

Une liste des types de Castniidae conservés dans la collection d'entomologie du Musée national d'histoire naturelle de Washington, DC, États-Unis est fournie. Les spécimens appartiennent à neuf espèces. Des détails sur le statut taxinomique actuel, les localités types, la répartition connue et des commentaires généraux sur les espèces mentionnées sont inclus. Les holotypes et les syntypes sont figurés.

Mots clés : Castniidae – Lépidoptères – inventaire – types – Smithsonian Institution

Se proporciona una lista de los tipos de Castniidae alojados en la colección entomológica del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Washington D.C., EE. UU. Se incluyen los ejemplares pertenecientes a nueve especies, así como detalles sobre su estado taxonómico actual, localidades tipo, distribución conocida y comentarios generales sobre las especies mencionadas. Se incluyen fotografías de los holotipos y sintipos presentes en el Museo.

Palabras claves : Castniidae – Taladradores gigantes – inventario – tipos – Instituto Smithsoniano





Material and methods

Type specimens of Castniidae in the Entomological Collection at NMNH




Texte intégral




As of 2023, of over 150.000 species assessed, 42.108 are considered to be at risk of extinction, and the loss of species has been recently estimated to be between 1.000 and 10.000 times higher than the natural extinction rate (Almond et al., 2022; IUCN, 2023). Thus, the preservation of biological collections in museums worldwide is necessary and part of the key to understanding biodiversity, since such institutions are preserving critical information about past and present organisms (Buerki et al., 2015; Drew et al., 2017; González, 2023). Information on biodiversity found in museums is relevant to the study of taxonomy, evolution, conservation, and even sustainable livelihoods (Drew et al., 2017). Even though it seems that the emphasis on preserving organisms has diminished recently, the advances in technology, such as highly developed computing systems and newer molecular techniques are helping museums to overcome shortcomings, allowing easier access to their preserved materials to researchers worldwide (Buerki et al., 2015; Cho et al., 2015; Drew et al., 2017; Rohwer et al., 2022; González, 2023).

The U.S. National Insect Collection, also known as the Entomology Collection (EC) of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C., USA, is part of the world’s largest complex of museums, education, and research centers of the Smithsonian Institution (Lesso, 2022). The EC is said to be one of the largest entomological collections in the world, with over 35 million specimens (NMNH, s.d.).

Being such a large and important collection, the EC contains numerous vouchers, primary types, allotypes, and paratypes, which have been deposited in it since the collection started (Mallis, 1971; Conner Sorensen et al., 2018). The United States National Museum, the precursor of today’s NMNH, was created in 1842, four years before the foundation of the Smithsonian Institution. It did not have an Insect Collection. Then, the National Insect Collection (NIC) was kept by the Patents Office until the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) was formed, after hiring the entomologist Townend Glover (1813-1883) as Chief Entomologist. Only after that, the USDA became responsible for the NIC. Once the appointed Chief Entomologist retired in 1877, Charles Valentine Riley (1843-1895), one of the first entomologists to practice biological pest control, who largely “contributed to insect ecology, economic entomology, and insect systematics and taxonomy,” filled that position but resigned in 1879, only to be replaced by John Henry Comstock (1849-1931) (Essig, 1931; Mallis, 1971; Hagen & Franz, 1973; Miller et al., 2022). Riley would be later reinstated as Chief Entomologist, and also appointed Honorary Curator of the then-created Division of Insects at the United States National Museum (USNM) (Essig, 1931; Mallis, 1971; Conner Sorensen et al., 2018).

During its earlier years, the Smithsonian Institution, due to limited funding, allowed its insect collection to be distributed among its collaborating scientists. But by the 1870s, and after Riley became appointed Honorary Curator, the USDA became the repository of the Smithsonian Insect Collection (Essig, 1931; Mallis, 1971; Conner Sorensen et al., 2018). Eventually, Riley’s collection together with the USDA’s and Smithsonian Institution’s holdings became the “nucleus” of the current EC (Conner Sorensen et al., 2018; Miller et al., 2022).

Among the millions of Lepidoptera holdings, the EC has an awe-inspiring Castniidae collection. Ten type specimens belonging to nine castniid species are deposited in NMNH. Six of them were described by William Schaus (1858-1942), while Harrison Gray Dyar Jr. (1866-1929) described the other three. Dyar was a brilliant entomologist who excelled in the taxonomy of Lepidoptera and Diptera, most particularly mosquitoes (Culicidae) (Mallis, 1971). He did a great deal of work on the life histories of caterpillars and described butterflies, moths, and mosquitoes. Even though he was on the rolls of the Bureau of Entomology for a few years, he was never paid for his work while associated with the EC (Essig, 1931; Mallis, 1971). Schaus, widely known for his major contribution to the knowledge of Neotropical moths and butterflies, worked for some 40 years to organize the vast collection of tropical Lepidoptera of the NMNH (Mallis, 1971).

Several publications have dealt with Castniidae types deposited in museums, providing light not only on the relevance of such museums and collections but also clarifying information on the whereabouts, characteristics, and even the systematics and biology or ecology of such specimens (Mielke & Casagrande, 1986, 1988a, 1988b, 1999; Lamas, 1995b; Rodríguez-Ramírez et al., 2020; González, 2023).


Material and methods

The Castniidae specimens preserved in the Entomology Collection, National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., USA (NMNH) have been revised, studied, and photographed.

Information for each taxon includes original name, author, year, including sex, and original label information and publication where described. The different labels included with each specimen are indicated by a slash “/” and labels attached to each specimen are figured (Plates 1 & 2). A semi-colon “;” separates the set of labels from one specimen to the next. If sex is not mentioned in any of the labels of the type specimen, it will appear first in square brackets. Also included are the type status, type locality, and the known distribution of each species. Current status, including references related to status changes, are also provided.

Additions to the label information are added in brackets. Any remarks are also included in brackets. Some general comments are also provided. Taxa are listed alphabetically by genera and species. The classification mainly follows Moraes & Duarte (2014). However, the treatment of some of the listed species might be modified based on Miller (1995), Lamas (1995a), Worthy et al. (2019, 2022), González et al. (2021), García-Díaz (2022), García-Díaz et al. (2022), Costa et al. (2023).

All images were taken using a Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP, with a Canon Zoom lens EF-S 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6 II, with a Polarizing filter.

Details of each publication associated with the species discussed can be found in the References section.

Type material of Castniidae in the Entomological Collection at the NMNH consists mainly of single specimens (except for Athis delecta). No other museums have type material of the species listed herein, except for the Natural History Museum, London, England (NHMUK) which has a female Syntype of Castnia drucei (= Telchin atymnius drucei).


Type specimens of Castniidae in the Entomological Collection at NMNH.

Castnia corrupta SCHAUS, 1896
(Plate 1, figs. A & B)
Type material (label information): SYNTYPE: [♂], Colombia / Castnia corrupta type Schs [Schaus] / Collection WmSchaus [William Schaus] / Type No: 12553 U.S.N.M. / USNMENT 01244439.
Type locality: Colombia. Schaus (1896; and type labels) does not provide further information on locality, thus it cannot be restricted further.
Current Status: Castnia corrupta is a junior subjective synonym of Vadina hodeei hodeei (Oberthür, 1881) (Lamas, 1995; Miller, 1995; Worthy et al., 2022). The genus Amauta Houlbert was synonymized with Telchin Hübner, [1825] by Moraes & Duarte (2014). It was later reinstated, and the species Amauta hodeei (= Castnia corrupta) was removed from the genus Amauta and is considered the type species of the genus Vadina Worthy, González & Zilli, 2022 (Worthy et al., 2022).
Other Type material: Only one specimen is deposited at the NMNH, it is best regarded as a holotype by monotypy.
Vadina hodeei seems to be a rare species, and it has been recorded from Bolívar, Santander, Boyacá, and Cundinamarca departments (González et al., 2013; Worthy et al., 2022). Even though a specimen has been recorded from Valle del Cauca, it is probably a doubtful locality (González et al., 2013; Worthy et al., 2022).
Comments: The subspecies Vadina hodeei hodeei (of which C. corrupta is a synonym) appears to be rare (Worthy et al., 2022). Most known specimens of this subspecies are from the Eastern slopes of the Western Cordillera of Colombia, being replaced by V. hodeei kruegeri (Niepelt, 1927) on the western slopes of that mountain range and in western Ecuador (González et al., 2013; Worthy et al., 2022).

Castnia delecta SCHAUS, 1911
(Plate 1, figs. C to F)
Type material (label information): SYNTYPE: ♂ / Castnia delecta, Type ♂, Schs [Schaus] / Esperanza, C.R. [Costa Rica] / May / Slide No 570, ♂ genitalia, Lee D. Miller / Type 12166 U.S.N.M. / USNMENT 01244444; SYNTYPE: ♀ / Castnia delecta, type ♀, Schs / Cordoba, Mex. [Mexico] / May / Collection WmSchaus [William Schaus] / USNMENT 0144445.
Type locality: Esperanza, Cartago Province, Costa Rica; Córdoba, Veracruz, Mexico.
Current status: Synonym of Athis delecta (Schaus, 1911) (Lamas, 1995; Miller, 1995).
Other type material: Both syntypes are in NMNH.
Distribution: Costa Rica north to Mexico. It has been reported/observed in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica (Schaus, 1911; Miller, 2000; González, 2008; González & Hernández-Baz, 2012; Karla Fiallos-Yánez, Santa Cruz de Yojoa, Cortés, Honduras, 25.vii.2022, https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/257878-Athis-delecta)
Comments: The species seems to have a wide distribution throughout Central America, at least from Costa Rica to Mexico, however, it appears to be a rare species and has not been recorded from countries other than those above.

Castnia drucei SCHAUS, 1911
(Plate 1, figs G & H)
Type material (label information): SYNTYPE: [♂] /Castnia drucei type Schs [Schaus] / Rio Grande, C.R.[Costa Rica] Dec.[December] / [19]08, Type No. 11165 U.S.N.M.
Type locality: Rio Grande [= Río Grande de Orosi, Cartago], Guapiles [= Guápiles, Limón], San Geronimo [= San Jerónimo, Alajuela], and Avangarez [= Abangares, Guanacaste], Costa Rica.
Current Status: Synonym of Telchin atymnius drucei (Schaus, 1911) (Lamas, 1995; Moraes & Duarte, 2009).
Other Type material: A female syntype is in NHMUK (Labels with the specimen: Castnia drucei Schs / May / Guapiles CR. At the moment of working on this note, the specimen lacked a label stating that this was the other type mentioned in Schaus (1911). [He probably described/published the new species after sending it to the British Museum for ID or comparison, not notifying them that this was also a type once his work was published.]
Distribution: Costa Rica and Panama. Possibly other countries north of Costa Rica also. It has been also reported from Northeastern South America and Brazil, however, the South American records possibly refer to more reddish T. a. humboldti (Boisduval, [1875]) or are mislabeled (González & Salazar, 2003; Chacón & Montero, 2007; González et al., 2010; González & Domagała, 2019; van den Berghe et al., 2020).
Comments: While working on the Castniidae at EC back in 2003 I noticed that this specimen was a type (it included a Type label) but was in the general collection, and not with the other types. I placed a handwritten note by it reading “Castnia drucei Schaus, 1911 TYPE (actual name: Castniomera atymnius drucei (Schauss, 1911), det. J.M. González. Should be in Type coll.” (not shown in plate 1). Recently, the specimen was finally placed in the Type collection, but the handwritten label has been attached to it. The species seems to be naturally associated with plant species in the genus Heliconia (Heliconiaceae), but has also been found attacking Sugar Cane (Sacharum officinarum L.: Poaceae) (Cadet-Piedra et al., 2015; LAICA, 2016, 2017; Salazar-Blanco et al., 2018).

Castnia govara SCHAUS, 1896
(Plate 1, figs. I & J)
Type material (label information): SYNTYPE: ♂ / Colombia / Castnia veraguana ♂, or Castnia govara Sch type / Collection WmSchaus [William Schaus] / Type No. 12552 U.S.N.M. / USNMENT 01244440.
Type locality: Colombia. No more details on the locality were provided by Schaus (1896; and Type specimen labels).
Current Status: Synonym of Corybantes veraguana govara (Schaus, 1896) (Lamas, 1995; Miller, 1995).
Other Type material: Only one syntype is deposited in NMNH. However, Schaus (1896) wrote “…my specimens…”, thus he must have examined more than one individual (syntypes). Interestingly, he didn’t mention the lack of the discal row of red spots on the HW above, which differentiates govara from veraguana, however, based on what he wrote he wasn’t completely convinced this was a separate species (Schaus, 1896; G. Lamas, pers. comm.)
Distribution: It has been recorded from San José del Guaviare, and “west of Boyacá” (Apolinar María, 1915; Salazar, 1999).
Comments: Schaus (1896) originally described C. govara from Colombia, and separated it from C. veraguana based on the wing markings. Both are currently considered subspecies of Corybantes veraguana (Lamas, 1995a; Miller, 1995; Moraes & Duarte, 2014; Maes & González, 2022).


Plate 1. Figs. A & B. ♂, Vadina hodeei, Colombia (Syntype: Castnia corrupta); Figs. C & D. ♂, Athis delecta, Costa Rica (Syntype: Castnia delecta); Figs. E & F. ♀, Athis delecta, Mexico (Syntype: Castnia delecta); Figs. G & H. ♂, Telchin atymnius drucei, Costa Rica (Syntype: Castnia drucei); Figs. I & J. ♂, Corybantes veraguana govara, Colombia (Syntype: Castnia govara). (Scale: 1 cm; Labels not in scale) [Click on the image to enlarge it]


Castnia gramivora SCHAUS, 1896
(Plate 2, figs. A & B)
Type material (label information): SYNTYPE: [♂] / Castnia gramivora Type Schs [Schaus] / Sȃo Paulo / Sȃo Paulo S.E. Brazil. / Collection WmSchaus [William Schaus] / Type No. 12537 U.S.N.M. / USNMENT 01244443.
Type locality: Sȃo Paulo, Brazil.
Current status: Synonym of Telchin gramivora (Schaus, 1896) (Moraes & Duarte, 2014).
Other type material: Described from only one male specimen, and is best regarded as a holotype by monotypy. Schaus (1896) does not mention the sex of the specimen.
Distribution: Sȃo Paulo and Paraná (South Eastern Brasil), Alto Paraná (Paraguay) (Schaus, 1896; Miller, 1986; Ríos & González, 2011).
Comments: Schaus (1896) mentions that the collector (Edward Dukinfield Jones) who sent him the specimen he described, found it “…flying in the grasses after the manner of certain Noctuidae.” Originally placed in the genus Frostetola (after Oiticica, 1955) it was dumped in Telchin like other genera now reinstated (Moraes & Duarte, 2014; Worthy et al., 2021). This species is very different morphologically from other Telchin species, and should probably be in its own genus. However, since the species is rare in the field and scarce in collections, a thorough morphological and genetic study of a larger number of specimens is needed to shed better light and help assess to which genus it belongs.

Castnia hechtiae DYAR, 1910
(Plate 2, figs. C & D)
Type material (label information): HOLOTYPE: [♂] / Castnia hechtiae Type Dyar / Tehuacan mex [Mexico] / On Hechtia / R Muller Collector / June [19]09 / 2102 / Type No. 13038 U.S.N.M. / USNMENT 01244442.
Type locality: Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico.
Current status: Synonym of Athis hechtiae (Dyar, 1910) (Lamas, 1995; González et al., 2021).
Other type material: Only the Holotype (by monotypy) is in NMNH.
This species seems to be endemic to the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley, in Puebla and Oaxaca, Mexico (González et al., 2021; García-Díaz et al., 2022)
Comments: Dyar (1910) described it originally from Tehuacán, but once the species Athis miastagma (Dyar, 1925) was synonymized under A. hechtiae by Lamas (1995), the distribution of the species included several states and ecological regions in Mexico. However, a subsequent detailed analysis that included morphology, genetics, and an in-depth study of the natural history of both taxa, concluded that they were different species and that A. hechtiae was restricted to the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley in Puebla (González et al., 2021). Since three specimens identified as A. hechtiae and examined by González et al. (2021) were found to have labels stating they were from other Mexican States, the consensus was that they were labeled incorrectly or the localities were very doubtful (González et al., 2021; García-Díaz et al., 2022).
This species is tightly associated with Hechtia tehuacana B.L. Robinson (Bromeliaceae), an endemic plant from the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley (González et al., 2021; García-Díaz et al., 2022).

Castnia miastagma DYAR, 1925
(Plate 2, figs. E & F)
Type material (label information): HOLOTYPE: [♂] [Dyar (1925) mentions it as a female] / miastagma Dyar / Guerrero, Mex.[ico], May, R.Müller, 3523 / Type No. 27905 U.S.N.M. / USNMENT 01244446. [The abdomen of the specimen is lacking and a slide exists at NMNH labeled “Castnia miastagma dissection,” showing a broken aedeagus and a dextral dorsal view of the genitalic capsule, including a broken valva and a partially broken saccus.]
Type locality: Guerrero, Mexico.
Current status: Synonym of Athis miastagma (Dyar, 1925) (González et al., 2021; García-Díaz et al., 2022).
Other type material: Best regarded as a holotype by monotypy. Lamas (1995) sunk A. miastagma under A. hechtiae, which was considered valid until the early 2020s (Miller, 2000; González, 2008; Moraes & Duarte, 2014). A comprehensive work that included not only morphology but also natural history and molecular information helped reinstate it as a valid species (González et al., 2021). Soon after, García-Díaz et al. (2022) described two subspecies of miastagma, the nominal one, and A. miastagma gonzalezi López-Godínez, García-Diaz & Turrent-Carriles, 2022.
Distribution: Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, and Morelos States, Mexico.
The type specimen is very curious. The right forewing and the upper part of the hindwing seem to be “washed” and the colors are not as sharp as in the left wings, and the lower part of the right hindwing (Plate 2, figs. E & F). Was this natural? No one seems to have a good idea of this.
Dyar (1925) separated C. miastagma (=A. miastagma) from C. hechtiae (=A. hechtiae), but more recently García-Díaz et al. (2022) identified two subspecies of A. miastagma. The nominal subspecies is distributed in Guerrero, Morelos, and Oaxaca in low deciduous forests within the Balsas River Basin and their larvae feed on an unidentified bromeliad in the genus Hechtia (Bromeliaceae). The subspecies A. m. gonzalezi is also found in low deciduous forests but outside the Balsas River Basin in the states of Colima and Jalisco (García-Díaz et al., 2022). The latter authors found that the larvae of this subspecies feed on two different, but related, species of Hechtia (Bromeliaceae), H. santanae Ramírez & Carrillo, 2016, in Jalisco, and H. laevis L.B. Smith, 1964, in Colima.

Castnia thysanete DYAR, 1912
(Plate 2, figs. G & H)
Type material (label information): HOLOTYPE: [♂] [As in the previous species, Dyar (1912) stated this type is a female], Castnia thysanete Type Dyar / Tehuacan, Mex.[ico] / June [19]10 / R. Muller Collector / 2438 / Slide No. M-3253 legs Jacqueline Y. Miller / Type No. 14031 U.S.N.M. / USNMENT 01244441.
Type locality: Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico.
Current status: Synonym of Athis thysanete (Dyar, 1912) (Lamas, 1995; García-Diaz, 2022).
Other type material: Described from only one specimen, a holotype by monotypy.
Distribution: Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley, which extends from Puebla to Oaxaca, Mexico.
Comments: Previous to the publication of the work by García-Diaz (2022), not much was known about Athis thysanete, even though a first approximation to some ecological and behavioral information was presented by Vinciguerra et al. (2011). Most specimens known to date, and placed in different insect collections (see Vinciguerra et al., 2011; García-Diaz et al., 2022) have been located, however, some of the specimens seem to have been collected outside of the biogeographically distinct Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley; those specimens were possibly vagrants or mislabeled material (Vinciguerra et al., 2011; García-Diaz, 2022). So far, nothing is known about the host of this species. Vinciguerra et al. (2011) mention that several of the specimens of A. thysanete known to them were collected in or around Yucca tree forests, commonly known as “Izotales” in the region. The authors mention that the latter group of plants is associated with other monocots (i.e. Bromeliaceae) which could be possible hosts of the castniid. However, García-Díaz (2022), misinterpreted that information assuming the authors were suggesting Yucca plants forming those Izotales are hosts of the castniid. Curiously, García-Díaz et al. (2022) speculate that another bromeliad (possibly in the genus Tillandsia) could be the host of A. thysanete because they are hosts of other Athis species (see González & Fernández Yépez, 1992; González, 2004). Athis hechtiae and A. thysanete are endemic species of a vulnerable region with very specific biogeographical conditions, making them (and other endemic species of the region) especially vulnerable (García-Díaz, 2022).

Gazera carilla SCHAUS, 1911
(Plate 2, figs. I & J)
Type material (label information): SYNTYPE: [♂], Gazera carilla Type Schs. / Carillo C.R. [Costa Rica] / May / Type No. 17167 U.S.N.M. / USNMENT 01244438.
Type locality: “Carillo” [= Carrillo, Limón], Costa Rica.
Current status: A junior subjective synonym of Prometheus zagraea salvina (Westwood, 1877) (Lamas, 1995; Moraes & Duarte, 2014).
Other type material: Only one specimen was used as type and should be best regarded as a holotype by monotypy.
Distribution: The subspecies P. z. salvina (= G. carilla) is known from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama (Miller, 1986, 1995; Lamas 1995a; Vinciguerra, 2008; González et al., 2010; Domagała et al., 2017a, 2017b; van den Berghe et al., 2020; Maes & González, 2022). Salazar et al. (2013) reported the subspecies from Colombia, without illustrating the specimen. However, Colombian specimens almost certainly belong to P. z. zagraea, not to P. z. salvina (Maes & González, 2022).
Comments: This taxon, like others with a “tiger pattern” in Castniidae, fly similarly to heliconiid butterflies during sunny days and seem to be part of mimetic rings that include Chetone angulosa (Walker, 1854) (Erebidae), Lycorea halia atergatis Doubleday, 1847, Mechanitis polymnia (L., 1758), Eueides isabella (Stoll, 1781), Heliconius ismenius Latreille, [1817] and Consul fabius cecrops (Doubleday, [1849]) (Nymphalidae), as they all fly together in the same areas (Miller, 1986; van den Berghe et al., 2020). Even though this taxon is currently placed in the genus Prometheus, after Moraes & Duarte (2014), a thorough revision (Worthy & González, in prep.) might tell otherwise.

Plate 2. Figs. A & B. ♂, Telchin gramivora, Brazil (Syntype: Castnia gramivora); Figs. C & D. ♂, Athis hechtiae, Mexico (Holotype: Castnia hechtiae); Figs. E & F. ♂, Athis miastagma, Mexico (Holotype: Castnia miastagma); Figs. G & H. ♂, Athis thysanete, Mexico (Holotype: Castnia thysanete); Figs. I & J. ♂, Prometheus zagraea carilla, Costa Rica (Syntype: Gazera carilla). (Scale: 1 cm. Labels not in scale) [Click on the image to enlarge it]





Museums are pivotal in the study of biodiversity since they contain collections of biological specimens, not only from our present but also from past times. Technology advances have helped museums prevail over the decline in the number of specimens being added to these collections. The Entomology Collection of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C., USA (NMNH) has a formidable collection of insects, one of the largest collections of butterflies and moths in the world. Among the numerous holdings of Lepidoptera, the NMNH includes a significant Castniidae collection that contains holotypes and syntypes of nine species. All of them are presented herein, with comments on those types in the NMNH and information about their origin, distribution, and other relevant details.



I am deeply indebted to the managers and curators of the several insect collections (private and institutional) who have allowed me to study their Castniidae specimens over the years. I am particularly grateful to Donald Harvey (NMNH) who hosted me several times allowing me to study the Castniidae collection at the NMNH. Thanks also to Floyd Schockley and James Young, curators at NMNH, for their comments and help while preparing and working on this manuscript. As always, I am extremely grateful to Gerardo Lamas (MUSM, Peru) for proofreading and providing thoughtful suggestions to the original manuscript.

Regards go also to the editors, Cédric Audibert, and Bram Breure, for their assessment and help, and most especially to reviewer Bob Worthy for his insightful comments and suggestions which greatly contributed to improving the final manuscript.



Almond R.E.A., Grooten M., Juffe Bignoli D. & Petersen T. (Eds), 2022. WWF, Living Planet Report 2022 – Building a nature positive society. Gland, Switzerland: WWF. 115 pp.

Apolinar M., Hermano [né Nicholas Seiler], 1915. Miscelánea. Capturas interesantes. Boletín de la Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales del Instituto La Salle, 3(9): 141-144.

Buerki S. & Baker W.J., 2015. Collections-based research in the genomic era. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 117(1): 5-10. https://doi.org/10.1111/bij.12721

Cadet-Piedra E., Salazar-Blanco J.D. & Oviedo-Alfaro R., 2019. Monitoreo y manejo del barrenador gigante del tallo de la caña de azúcar (Telchin atymnius Lepidóptera: Castniidae) en Costa Rica. Boletín Agroclimático, 1(12): 5–8.

Chacón I. & Montero J., 2007. Butterflies and Moths of Costa Rica. INBIO Press, San José, Costa Rica, 366 pp.

Cho S., Epstein S. W., Mitter K., Hamilton C.A., Plotkin D., Mitter C. & Kawahara A.Y., 2015. Preserving and vouchering butterflies and moths for large-scale museum-based molecular research. PeerJ, 4: e2160. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2160.

Conner Sorensen W., Smith E.H., Smith J. & Weber D.C., 2018. Charles Valentine Riley. Founder of Modern Entomology. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press. 438 pp.

Costa M., González J.M., Viloria A.L., Neild A.F.E., Camico H., Benmesbah M., Attal S. & Worthy R. 2023. Lepidoptera from the Pantepui. Part XIII. Notes on Zegara fernandezi (González, 1992) (Castniidae Castniinae). Antenor, 10(1): 6-20.

Domagała P.J., González J.M., Ziaja D.J. & Dobosz R., 2017a. Castniidae (Lepidoptera) in the collection of the Museum and Institute of Zoology Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. Annals of the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom, Entomology, 26 (004): 1-11. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1025631

Domagała P.J., González J.M. & Ziaja D.J., 2017b. The Castniidae (Lepidoptera) in the collection of the Natural History Museum of the Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow. Acta Entomologica Silesiana, 25(004): 1-9.

Drew J.A., Moreau C.S. & Stiassny M.L.J., 2017. Digitization of museum collections holds the potential to enhance researcher diversity. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1: 1789-1790. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0401-6

Dyar H.G. 1910: Descriptions of some new species and genera of Lepidoptera from Mexico. Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 38(1742): 229-273.

Dyar H.G., 1912. Descriptions of new species and genera of Lepidoptera, chiefly from Mexico. Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 42(1885): 39-106.

Dyar H.G., 1925: Some new American moths (Lepidoptera). Insecutor Inscitiae Menstruus, 13(1/3): 1-19.

Essig E.O., 1931. A history of Entomology. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1029 pp.

García-Díaz J.J., 2022. Synopsis of Athis thysanete (Dyar, 1912) (Castniidae: Castniinae) populations, courtship behavior, and other observations on its biology. Tropical Lepidoptera Research, 32(2): 91-99.

García-Díaz J.J., López-Godínez B. & Turrent-Carriles A., 2022. Revisión de las poblaciones del complejo hechtiae y descripción de una nueva subespecie de Athis miastagma (Dyar, 1925) (Lepidoptera: Castniidae). Revista de la Sociedad Mexicana de Lepidopterología, 10(1): 10-30.

González J.M., 2004. Castniinae (Lepidoptera: Castniidae) from Venezuela. VI. The genus Athis. Diagnosis and Comments. Caribbean Journal of Science, 40(3): 408-413.

González J.M., 2008. Castnidos (Lepidópteros): 1–4, 169–170. In: Ocegueda S., Llorente-Bousquets J. (Eds.). Catálogo taxonómico de especies de México, en Capital natural de México, Vol. 1: Conocimiento actual de la biodiversidad. CONABIO. México, CD 1.

González J.M., 2023. Types of Castniidae (Lepidoptera) in the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity (Gainesville, Florida). Colligo, 6(2): 1–10. https://revue-colligo.fr/?id=88.

González J.M. & Domagała P.J., 2019. A catalogue of the Castniidae (Lepidoptera) in the California Academy of Sciences, with general and historical comments. Annals of the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom, Entomology, 28(001): 1–24. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2587666

González J.M. & Fernández Yépez F., 1992. Descripción de una nueva especie de Athis Hübner de Venezuela (Lepidoptera: Castniidae: Castniinae). Memoria de la Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales La Salle, 52(137): 5-10.

González J.M., Boone J.H., Brilmyer G.M. & Le D., 2010. The Giant Butterfly-moths of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, with notes on the Herman Strecker collection (Lepidoptera: Castniidae). SHILAP Revista de Lepidopterologia, 38(152): 385-409.

González J.M., Vinciguerra R. & Ríos S.D., 2013. Amauta hodeei (Oberthür, 1881) and its subspecies (Lepidoptera Castniidae), with comments on the life and times of Brother Apolinar María. Biodiversity Journal, 4(2): 275-280.

González J.M., López-Godínez B., García-Diaz J.J., Simon S., Sarto i Monteys V. & Worthy R., 2021. Reinstatement of Athis miastagma (Dyar, 1925) (Lepidoptera: Castniidae) as a valid species inhabiting the Pacific slope of Central Mexico. Zootaxa, 5061(2): 300-322. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.5061.2.4

Hagen K.S. & Franz J.M., 1973. A history of biological control: 433-476. In: Smith R.F., Mitter T.E. & Smith C.N. (eds.), History of Entomology. California: Annual Reviews Inc.

IUCN, 2023. IUCN 2022: International Union for Conservation of Nature annual report. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN, 59 pp.

LAICA, 2016. Informe de resultados 2015. Programa de Fitosanidad, Manejo de Plagas. San José, Costa Rica. March 2016, pp. 26–48.

LAICA, 2017. Informe de resultados 2016. Programa de Fitosanidad, Manejo de Plagas. San José, Costa Rica. May 2017, pp. 6–20.

Lamas G., 1995a. A critical review of J. Y. Miller’s checklist of the Neotropical Castniidae (Lepidoptera). Revista Peruana de Entomología, 37: 73-87.

Lamas G., 1995b. Tipos de Castniidae en el Naturhistorisches Museum, de Viena (Insecta: Lepidoptera). SHILAP Revista de Lepidopterología, 23(91): 247-249.

Lesso R., 2022 [December 26]. How Many Museums Are in the Smithsonian Institution? Retrieved from https://www.thecollector.com/how-many-museums-are-in-the-smithsonian-institution/

Maes J-M. & González J.M., 2022. Ampliación geográfica de Corybantes veraguana veraguana (Westwood, 1877) y Athis clitarcha (Westwood, 1977) para la fauna de Nicaragua (Lepidoptera: Castniidae). Revista Nicaragüense de Entomología, 274: 1‒14. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7200048

Mallis A., 1971. American Entomologists. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 549 pp.

Mielke O.H.H. & Casagrande M.M., 1986. Sobre os tipos de Lepidoptera depositados em Museus Brasileiros. VI. Castniidae, Cossidae, Sphingidae e Noctuidae, descritos por Benedicto Raymundo [Da Silva]. Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 30(2): 245-249.

Mielke O.H.H. & Casagrande M.M., 1988a. Sobre os tipos de Lepidoptera depositados em Museus Brasileiros. XVI. Hesperiidae, Satyridae, Lycaenidae, Riodinidae, Castniidae e Arctiidae descritos por Roberto Spitz. Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 32(1): 3-6.

Mielke O.H.H. & Casagrande M.M., 1988b. Sobre os tipos de Lepidoptera depositados em Museus Brasileiros. XVIII. Nymphalidae descritos por A.H. Fassl e Nymphalidae e Castniidae por J. Roeber. Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 32(2): 107-109.

Mielke O.H.H. & Casagrande M.M., 1999. Sobre os tipos de Lepidoptera depositados em Museus Brasileiros. XXV. Nymphalidae (Charaxinae) descrito por Mário Rosa (suplemento); Zygaenidae por A.M. da Costa Lima; Saturniidae (Hemileucinae) por A. Mabilde (suplemento), Castniidae por L. Pfeiffer e Arctiidae (Pericopinae) por Oscar Monte. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 16 (Supl. 1): 227-231.

Miller G.L., O’Donnell C.A. & Rosario-Lebron A., 2022. A compelling case for the rediscovery of C.V. Riley’s insect collection boxes. American Entomologist, 68(3): 40-47. https://doi.org/10.1093/ae/tmac045

Miller J.Y., 1986. The taxonomy, phylogeny, and zoogeography of the Neotropical moth subfamily Castniinae (Lepidoptera, Castnioidea: Castniidae). Ph. D. Thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 571 pp.

Miller J.Y., 1995. Castniidae: 133-137, 176-177. In: Checklist: Part 2. Hyblaeoidea – Pyraloidea – Tortricoidea. In: Heppner, J.B., Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Association for Tropical Lepidoptera & Scientific Publishers, Gainesville, Florida, U. S. A.

Miller J.Y., 2007. Studies in the Castniidae. IV. Description of a new genus, Insigniocastnia. Bulletin of the Allyn Museum, 145: 1-7.

Miller J.Y., 2008. Studies in the Castniidae. V. Description of a new species of Zegara. Bulletin of the Allyn Museum, 160: 1-13.

Moraes S. & Duarte M., 2009. Morfologia externa comparada das três espécies do complexo Telchin licus (Drury) (Lepidoptera, Castniidae) com uma sinonímia. Revista Brasileira de Entomología, 53(2): 245-265.

Moraes S. & Duarte M., 2014. Phylogeny of Neotropical Castniinae (Lepidoptera: Cossoidea: Castniidae): testing the hypothesis of the mimics as a monophyletic group and implications for the arrangement of the genera. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 170(2): 362‒399. https://doi.org/10.1111/zoj.12102

National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), s.d. Department of Entomology. Retrieved from: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/research/entomology

Oiticica Fo. J., 1955. Revisão dos nomes genéricos sul americanos da subfamilia Castniinae (Lepidoptera, Castniidae). Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 3: 137-167.

Ríos S.D. & González J.M., 2011. A synopsis of the Castniidae (Lepidoptera) of Paraguay. Zootaxa, 3055: 43–61. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3055.1.3

Rodríguez-Ramírez J., Ríos S.D., Moraes S.S., Penco F.C. & González J.M., 2020. Catálogo de los Castniidae (Lepidoptera) del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Buenos Aires: descripción de tipos y notas generales e históricas. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, nueva serie, 22(2): 173-190.

Rohwer V.G., Rohwer Y. & Dillman C.B., 2022. Declining growth of natural history collections fails future generations. PLoS Biology, 20(4): e3001613. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3001613

Salazar J.A., 1999: Datos de recolección para 16 castnidos colombianos (Lepidoptera: Castniidae). Boletín Científico del Museo de Historia Natural, Universidad de Caldas, 3: 43–51.

Salazar J.A., Rodríguez G. & Rodríguez C., 2013. Datos adicionales sobre castnidos colombianos (Lepidoptera: Castniidae). Boletín del Museo Entomológico Francisco Luis Gallego, 5(2): 7–17.

Salazar-Blanco J.D., Cadet-Piedra E., Oviedo-Alfaro R., Berrocal-Kopper R. & Araya-Vindas A., 2018. Monitoreo y manejo del barrenador gigante del tallo de la caña de azúcar (Telchin atymnius Lepidóptera: Castniidae) en Costa Rica: 87. In: Resumen XI Congreso ATALAC – TECNICAÑA. 26 – 28 de Setiembre de 2018. Cali, Colombia.

Schaus W., 1896. New species of Heterocera from tropical America. Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 4: 147-154.

Schaus W., 1911. XVII – New species of Heterocera from Costa Rica. V. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, (8) 7(38): 173-193.

van den Berghe E., Maes J-M., Hernández-Baz F. & González J.M., 2020. Synopsis of the Castniidae (Lepidoptera) from Honduras and Nicaragua, Central America. Zootaxa, 4895(2): 272-284. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4895.2.6

Vinciguerra R., 2008. Osservazioni su alcuni taxa dei generi: Corybantes Hübner, [1819], Athis Hübner, [1819], Zegara Oiticica, 1955, Mirocastnia Miller, 1980 e Insigniocastnia Miller, 2007 (Lepidoptera: Castniidae). SHILAP Revista de Lepidopterología, 36(144): 491-499.

Vinciguerra R., Lozano-Rodríguez P., Hernández-Baz F. & González J.M., 2011. Observations on Athis thysanete (Dyar,1912) (Lepidoptera, Castniidae) from Mexico and comparative notes to other species in the family. Biodiversity Journal, 2(4): 189‒194.

Worthy R., González J.M. & Ríos S.D., 2019. A review of the genus Insigniocastnia J.Y. Miller, 2007 (Lepidoptera: Castniidae) with notes on Castnia amalthaea H. Druce, 1890. Zootaxa, 4550(2): 277–288. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4550.2.8

Worthy R., González J.M. & Zilli A., 2022. A review of the genera Amauta Houlbert, 1918 and Divana J.Y. Miller, 1982 (Lepidoptera: Castniidae) with description of a new genus. Zootaxa, 5194(3): 301-342. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.5194.3.1 




Jorge M. González
Austin Achieve Public Schools, (Research Associate, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity), USA. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7208-7166
Email: Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.



González J. M., 2024. Types of Castniidae (Lepidoptera) in the Smithsonian Entomology Collection, National Museum of Natural History (Washington, D.C.). Colligo, 7(1). https://revue-colligo.fr/?id=93.