Posted on October 26, 2012 by Tia Lalani

This morning, Tom Terzin opened the lunch kit-sized package full of extinct moth that Augustana contributions bought off eBay.

By Christopher Thrall
For the details that led up to Augustana’s new, extinct Urania sloanus, please click here!

After a whirlwind of campus support and three long weeks of waiting, the Augustana Campus Urania sloanus – a gorgeously jewel-toned, day-flying Jamaican moth last recorded alive in 1895 – landed this morning. Developmental biologist, eBay aficionado and avid collector Dr. Tom Terzin opened the lunch kit-sized package in his office in Founders’ Hall in front of several witnesses.

Tom slit layers of wide packing tape marked “FRAGILE” and removed a succession of smaller boxes packed carefully inside each other. The quiet, nervous witnesses giggled and made comments about Christmas and Ukrainian nesting dolls. Tom had warned about flash photography and took great care opening the boxes, since the witnesses were there to determine if he caused any damage to the specimen, or whether there was any damage when he opened the box.

Finally, Tom reached out to lift the final piece of bubble wrap padding to reveal our Urania sloanus under a small plastic container. Pinned securely to its styrofoam, the extinct moth’s vibrantly-coloured wings stretched out beside it. Jewel-toned stripes of warm yellow, bright green and patches of purplish-red glittered before our eyes. It is beautiful. Tom moved it carefully over to his own mounting box.

Tom has since invited the campus community to see the moth. “There is no damage and the specimen is genuine – of course,” wrote Tom in an email to staff. “Thank you all for your kind contributions and support.” He expects there to be further opportunities to celebrate the moth’s arrival and the spirit of this campus which made it possible. He also laughed in agreement to a name for the moth.

“I just refer to it right now as the Augustana moth,” he said. “But the moth belongs to the campus, so it makes sense that there should be a name for it.” Put your suggestions in the comment field below. We’ll pick a few and vote on them to name our new moth!

For media follow-up or high-resolution photos, please contact Christopher Thrall at or 780-679-1157.

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2 responses to Augustana moth lands on campus!

  • Leslie (onepercentyellow) said:
    Oct 26, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    What a beautiful specimen! And if you called it Bob, well now, that would be naturally mystic.

  • Sarah said:
    Oct 26, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    I still think that Bob has been the best suggestion to date. Very evocotive of Jamaica!