Type species: patroclus Linnaeus, Moluccas.
Synonyms: Nyctalemon Dalman (type species patroclus); Lyssidia
Westwood (unnecessary replacement name for Lyssa).
The genus was reviewed (as Nyctalemon) by Regteren Altena (1953).
The facies is striking with straight, narrow white bands crossing a medium
brownish grey, striated darker in places, on both wings, the hindwing
diagnostically tailed at M1 as well as at M3, with vein CuA1 also strongly
incorporated in the latter. The tails are tipped with white. The male antennae
one of a group of four genera that includes the largest uraniids. It is mostly
nocturnal, but the three other genera, the Neotropical Urania Fabricius,
the Afrotropical Chrysiridia Hübner and the tropical Australasian
Alcides Hübner, are diurnal and correspondingly brightly coloured. Lyssa was
suggested to be sister- group to the other three (see Fig 3 (after Lees &
Figure 3. Phylogeny of the Uraniinae after Lees & Smith (1991). A subsequent
analysis (D.C. Lees, pers. comm.) with additional genitalic characters
produced this result but also an alternative tree with Alcides placed as
sister-genus to Lyssa.
These three day-flying genera share biological traits such as larval
feeding on Omphalea, rather than Endospermum, mass-roosting and
migration behaviour, though the last has also been noted in Lyssa, and
there are records of Alcides feeding on Endospermum as well as Omphalea
(Lees & Smith, 1991), and of Lyssa feeding on Omphalea (See
The male genitalia of the group have a rather curved aedeagus with a
mass of long, fine cornuti in the vesica. The saccus is prominent. Lyssa and
Alcides have the uncus unusually curved with the concave surface dorsal,
and the valves are also similarly shaped.
The females of Lyssa have a crescent-shaped lamella antevaginalis,
a long ductus and a large, ovate corpus bursae. The latter has a double
band-like signum in the neck, each lateral component bearing short spines
directed away from the common axis: there are also two scobinate patches more
distally in the basal part of the generally weakly corrugated body of the bursa.
The genus extends from India to Vanuatu.
to Contents page