Introduction - History - Method
- Tables - Acknowledgements
order Lepidoptera is one of the largest orders in the class of insects.
It contains a.o. the very popular butterflies on which a huge amount of
information has been published. However, the butterflies group only
4.5% of the total number of Lepidoptera species in Belgium. They are
important as bio-indicators and can easily be observed as they are
active by daytime. By far the largest number of Belgian Lepidoptera are
active during the night, which makes their observation more difficult.
Nevertheless, a lot of information on them was gathered by several
entomologists, and these data are included in the present catalogue.
Moths are according to current use divided into Microlepidoptera and
Macrolepidoptera but this separation has no systematic value whatsoever
and was inspired by practical reasons only, starting somewhere at the
beginning of the 18th Century. In present days almost all Belgian
lepidopterists exclusively study the Macrolepidoptera and this is
reflected in the printed catalogue (De Prins 1998)
by the relative limited amount of information received on the
Microlepidoptera. Until now, a catalogue containing all groups of
Lepidoptera in Belgium has never been published, except the "Systematic
List of Belgian Lepidoptera" (De Prins 1983).
This is only a list of names, including the more important synonyms,
but without any information on the general occurrence in Belgium. In
the printed catalogue and its on-line version such information is
For quite some European countries a similar list of the local
Lepidoptera is available, e.g. France (Leraut 1980), the
1976b), Spain (Vives
Moreno 1994). Lists containing information on the occurrence
of the species were published for a.o. Austria (Huemer &
Tarmann 1993) and Denmark (Schnack 1985).
In these lists the species' occurrence in the different provinces is
indicated with a dot. The present catalogue contains similar lists. I
have retained the administrative division of Belgium into 9 provinces.
Of course, this is a political division and Lepidoptera do not care
about such boundaries at all. The alternative would have been an
arrangement according to the natural areas in Belgium (see Hackray &
Sarlet 1969-1974), but this would cause a whole series of
additional problems. The boundaries of these areas are vague and most
of the natural areas are separated by a large transition zone. In many
cases it is simply impossible to state in which natural area a locality
has to be cited. Distribution data from old collections do sometimes
not allow to locate the exact locality.
with the September issue of Phegea (1994) a
questionnaire was sent informing members on the project "Systematic
list of Belgian Lepidoptera" and asking for their
co-operation. Contributors were asked to fill out a form indicating on
which Lepidoptera families they were able to contribute. A similar
questionnaire was sent with other Belgian entomological journals as
well. Data gathered from these lists were put into tables which were
prepared before. Doubtful data were checked, eventual
misidentifications were corrected and if it was not possible to attain
a compromise with the author the data is omitted in the present list.
Furthermore, the faunistical data from the collections of the Royal
Belgian Institute of natural Sciences and of the Flemish entomological
Society were noted during the past 20 years. Of course the catalogue
also contains the data from my own reference collection and notebooks.
Virtually the complete Belgian entomological literature was searched
for records of new Lepidoptera species. The old literature was not used
to establish the species' distribution, except in a few cases where it
might give a better idea on the occurrence or when no recent data are
available from a larger area. Such literature records are indicated in
the list with the sign "L". In this online version the "L" is only
indicated when no other data are available. I have searched the
complete series of Bulletin & Annales de la
Société entomologique de Belgique, Bulletin
du Cercle des Lépidoptéristes de Belgique,
Lambillionea, Linneana Belgica,
Phegea, and Revue de la
Société entomologique namuroise.
Especially in the old literature (19th and early 20th Century) several
problems arose due to the use of obscure synonyms of both species and
genus group names, often combined with wrong authors. In a few cases
such difficulties could be resolved if the specimens still existed in
museum collections, but in other cases external instances such as
foreign name lists and catalogues had to be consulted in order to
establish the true identity of a species.
general information on every Lepidoptera family is furnished, mainly
taken from Scoble
(1992). I have also added a (non-exhaustive) list of publications with
which the identification of the species is made possible. Each time a
list is given of all the lepidopterists who have contributed data on
the particular family and the total number of species in Belgium is
The systematic list itself is mainly based on my own list (De
Prins 1983), but updated according to the current systematics
and nomenclature. For each family, I have indicated which publication
species have been mentioned for the Belgian fauna at a given time,
although they do not occur in Belgium. In some cases these records are
based on misidentifications, in other the species has been accidentally
introduced into the country. In many cases, especially for the old
records, it is very difficult to establish if the species really
belongs to the Belgian fauna or whether it was just wrongly identified.
Single records of species which are normally distributed far beyond the
Belgian borders were not included in the list, but commented at the end
of each family.
To establish whether a species should be listed or not, some criteria
have been used which were formulated during the preparation of the
Danish list (Larsen
1995b). A species should meet at least one of these to be
taken into account. As a general rule, the species must live under
natural conditions in Belgium. The five criteria are as follows:
the species lives in Belgian habitats.
the species permanently lives in habitats created by human activities
the species regularly migrates into Belgium.
the species has been observed as a single specimen, but it reached
Belgium actively, e. g. with the help of air currents.
the species is represented in a collection by at least one clearly
labelled adult specimen.
that are present in Belgium only by accident are not listed. These
include a.o. species that have been imported by car from a holiday
trip, species that are imported as a caterpillar on the foodplant and
did not establish a (small) population, tropical species which were
encountered in harbours. These records are commented in the "Notes".
Furthermore, some species are not listed because their taxonomic status
is still uncertain. For instance, Diachrysia tutti
(Kostrowicki, 1961) is not listed because no clearcut differences with Diachrysia
chrysitis (Linnaeus, 1758) have been published for Belgium
yet, although specimens with "tutti"-characters
exist in some collections.
online version of the "Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Belgium"
does not contain all columns from the printed version. The columns
"Code" and "References" have been omitted.
list": this column contains the systematic list of Belgian Lepidoptera.
I have tried to make as little changes as possible to my earlier list (De Prins 1983).
However, due to new studies it would have been unscientific to maintain
the existent nomenclature. Furthermore, I have tried to compile the
list in accordance with the lists in our neighbouring countries to
enable comparison. However, some important changes have been included,
especially after the publication of "Lepidoptera of Europe"
& Razowski 1996). The nomenclature has furthermore
been updated according to the list in Fauna Europaea.
is a separate table for each family. The list contains only the
taxonomic levels family, subfamily, genus and species. Names in other
taxonomic categories as tribes, subgenera and subspecies have not been
listed. Synonyms of the genus group names are not given in this edition
of the online checklist. As in the printed version synonyms of the
species group are mentioned when they have been in the Belgian
OV, AN, LI, BR, HA, LG, LX": these abbreviations indicate the nine
Belgian provinces as before the splitting of Brabant and arranged from
northwest to southeast: West-Vlaanderen, Oost-Vlaanderen, Antwerpen,
Limburg, Brabant, Hainaut, Namur, Liège and Luxembourg.
occurrence of the species is indicated according to three periods:
= before 1980
= 1980 – 2004
= after 2004
An "L" indicates a literature record from the province, of which no
specimen could be retrieved.
online version is kept up-to-date after additional information has been
published using "traditional" publication methods, i.e. printed papers
in journals. These almost yearly publications include: De Prins 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005.