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Giant Butterfly-Moths and Sun Moths
Paysandisia archon MHNT Fronton dos.jpg
Paysandisia archon
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Sesioidea
Family: Castniidae
Boisduval, 1828
Subfamilies & Genera

see text

Castniidae, or castniid moths, is a small family of moths with fewer than 200 species: The majority are Neotropical with some in Australia and a few in south-east Asia. These are medium-sized to very large moths, usually with drab, cryptically-marked forewings and brightly coloured hindwings. They have clubbed antennae and are day-flying, and are often mistaken for butterflies. Indeed, some previous classification systems placed this family within the butterflies or skippers. The Neotropical species are commonly known as giant butterfly-moths, the Australian and Asian species as sun moths. The larvae are internal feeders, often on roots of epiphytes or on monocotyledons (Edwards et al., 1999: 184-188).


Subfamily Castniinae

Subfamily Tascininae

Subfamily incertae sedis


  • Edwards, E.D., Gentili, P., Horak, M., Kristensen, N.P. and Nielsen, E.S. (1999). The cossoid/sesioid assemblage. Ch. 11, pp. 181–195 in Kristensen, N.P. (Ed.). Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. Volume 1: Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography. Handbuch der Zoologie. Eine Naturgeschichte der Stämme des Tierreiches / Handbook of Zoology. A Natural History of the phyla of the Animal Kingdom. Band / Volume IV Arthropoda: Insecta Teilband / Part 35: 491 pp. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York.

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