the word butterfly - reaction from the Netherlands

Ernst.Neering at STAFF.TPE.WAU.NL Ernst.Neering at STAFF.TPE.WAU.NL
Tue May 12 13:04:36 EDT 1998

May 3, 1998, Christopher Majka <nospam at> wrote
>Ernst Neering wrote:
>> "In the Netherlands only some 60 species of Rhopalocera are known,
>I suspect this is not true. Johan Padding's list of butterflies in the
>Benelux countries stands at 114 and I would think that many of these >would 
be found just within the Netherlands. Certainly more than 60.

Although indeed it is more than 60, you will be disappointed: it is 62.

In 1995 the book 'Biodiversiteit in Nederland' (Biodiversity in the 
Netherlands) was published by the National Natural History Museum (Leiden) 
and KNNV Uitgeverij (Royal Netherl. Society for Nat. History). It lists 
numbers of species for all living organisms as far as known and is accepted 
widely as authoritive.

The total number of Lepidoptera species listed for the Netherlands is 2313; 
69 are migrants and occasional visitors, 101 have become extinct so 2143 are 
considered to be NATIVE species. Lepidoptera imported in bananas, in 
bonsai-plants and other accidental imports are NOT included.

The respective numbers per family of BUTTERFLIES are
Hesperiidae 16 - 5 (migrants) - 3 (extinct) => remaining 8 (eight)
Papilionidae 2 - 1 - 0 => 1 (one)
Pieridae 13 - 3 - 0 => 10 (ten)
Nymphalidae 48 - 12 - 6 => 30 (thirty)
Lycaenidae 27 - 4 - 10 => 13 (thirteen)

Total of native species: 8 + 1 + 10 + 30 + 13 = 62 (sixty two)

Those that have become extinct are especially those occuring in 
(meadow/pasture) vegetations on low fertile soils that have disappeared due 
to enrichment with plant nutrients. Most had herbs, sometimes shrubplants as 
host that have disappeared or have become rare. The species feeding on trees 
are usually doing well and are in some cases increasing. Around fourty 
species are reported regularly. 

The greater number of species for the Benelux (BElgium, NEtherlands, 
LUxembourg) can be explained from the difference of a few degrees in 
temperature, which may limit some species, specific vegetation types which 
occur in Belgium and/or Luxembourg but not (any more) in the Netherlands and 
the non-existance of higher hills and mountains in the Netherlands (highest 
point 321 meters above sealevel).

Anybody interested in numbers of specific other families can contact me.

Ernst Neering

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