U bent hier


Nieuw voor België: Stigmella sorbi

Stigmella sorbi op lijsterbes - Rocherath Pro. Luik 650m alt.  22-23-24-06-2012 ©Steve Wullaert

Stigmella sorbi, (Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae), new to the Belgian fauna.


Steve Wullaert


Samenvatting. Stigmella sorbi (Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae), nieuw voor de Belgische fauna. Op het eind van de maand mei ’11 verbleef ik 4 dagen in Bohan, Dit ligt in de Naamse ardennen nabij de Semois. Elke dag werd een wandeling gemaakt om eerst en vooral te genieten van de mooie omgeving maar ook om te zoeken voor bladminerende lepidoptera. Op 27 mei was het dan zover! In Bagimont vond ik op lijsterbes 2 mijnen die ik onmiddellijk kon determineren naar Stigmella sorbi (Stainton, 1861)! De laatste dag werden nog 3 mijnen gevonden maar dan in Bagimont. Telkens met rupsen aanwezig in de mijnen. Het is de eerste keer dat deze soort wordt vastgesteld in België! Tijdens een latere excursie in Forges werden nog een tiental verlaten mijnen gevonden.

Résumé.  Stigmella sorbi (Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae), nouvelle espèce pour la faune Belge. À la fin du mois de mai 2011, j’ai silloné pendant quatre jours l’Ardenne namuroise, à proximité de la Semois, et plus exactement à Bohan. Chaque excursion journalière a permis d’une part et avant tout chose, de profiter des beautés naturelles de la région, et d’autrepart de rechercher les mines de Lépidoptères. Le 27 mai ce fut fait ! À Bagimont, je trouve deux mines sur le sorbier des oiseleurs, que j’identifie immédiatement comme étant celles de Stigmella sorbi (Stainton, 1861)! Le dernier jour, trois mines supplémentaires ont été trouvées à Bagimont. À chaque fois, les chenilles étaient présentes dans leur mine. Ce sont les premières mentions de cette espèce pour la Belgique ! Durant une excursion plus tardive dans la saison, à Forges (Ardenne chimacienne), une dizaine de mines vides ont été trouvées.


Key words: Stigmella sorbi  – Faunistics – First record – Belgium.

Wullaert,  S.: Vaartstraat 18, B-8710 Wielsbeke Belgium (sw.demijnen@gmail.com)




At the end of May ’11 I was staying for 4 day’s in a chalet near the river Semois in Bohan (pro. of Namur).  Because we were able to use electricity from the chalet I used a 250w lamp every night to lure moths.  The first night was the best! Lot’s of different species were lured by the lamp and some of them were new to the province of Namur. Only the first night we had temperatures as high as 14°c because it was cloudy and there was almost no wind. The other days we had more sunny weather and less clouds. That resulted in more butterflies during the day and less moths during the night. During the day it was pleasant to do long walk’s in and around Bohan. Every day we went to another aria to enjoy the beautiful nature and wildlife.  During the first walk in Bagimont on the 27th of May I’ve noticed from a distance some mined leaves on Rowan, Sorbus aucuparia. When I was checking them I could clearly see that they belonged to Stigmella sorbi (Stainton, 1861). I had never found that species before, but I knew exactly how the mine looked like. The  last day we visited Orchimont, were we could find them again! 3 inhabited mines on Sorbus aucuparia. During the next excursion on the 18th of June it was found again in Forges (Bois de Forges, pro. Hainaut). There the “leaf miners-group” was able to find a dozen vacated mines on Sorbus aucuparia but also on Sorbus Americana. Besides the first mines of Stigmella sorbi, we found on Sorbus aucuparia many habited mines from Stigmella nylandriella and also mines were found of Stigmella magdalenae. Stigmella magdalenae is a new recently discovered species in Belgium (Baugnée & Van As, 2012).  At the moment in Europe we have about 107 different species in the genus Stigmella Schrank 1802 (Fauna Europaea, 2011), 49 different species within that genus are present in Belgium (De Prins & Steeman, 2011). Now we can add one new species to the Belgian fauna, witch brings it to 50 different species in Belgium. Stigmella sorbi is new to Hainaut and Namur.



The mine starts as a slender gallery about 15mm long almost completely filled with black frass. Then the gallery abruptly turns into a blotch were the frass is scattered irregularly and attached to the upper cuticle (Emmet, 1983). The early gallery is most of the times incorporated in the blotch, but the frassline is still clearly visible (as in Fig.1). When the leaflets are rather small the blotch may occupy the whole leaflet (as in Fig.1, 3 & 4), and the caterpillar will be crossing the midrib only at the tip of the leaflet. But when the leaflets are longer, as was the case on Sorbus Americana (Fig. 5 & 6), the gallery and following blotch are confined to one side of the leaflet.   The egg is deposited on the underside of the leaf of different Rosaceae trees such as Cotoneaster spp., Malus spp., Amelanchier spp., but the main food plant is Sorbus aucuparia and sometimes other species of Sorbus (Gustafsson & Van Nieukerken, 1990).  The larva is pale greenish, with a pale brown head (as seen on Fig. 2). The cocoon is brown to deep brown (Emmet, 1976). Stigmella sorbi has only one generation a year. According to Emmet (1976) in England the moths flies in May and the larva feeds in June in the south of England, but rather later in the north. Also according to Johansson et al. (1990) the larva appears from the seconds half of June. It is one of the first Nepticulid moths to appear in spring.  However, the record of an active larva on the 27th of May is relatively early compared to literature data. But when we look at the average temperature for April 2011, we can clearly see the temperature is about 5°c higher than normal. April had even an average maximum temperature of 19.6°c, against the normal 14.2°c. On 16 days the temperature was above 20°c! The beginning of May was a little bit colder but from the 6th of May the temperature was again above 20°c, with a maximum of 26.9°c on the 7th. (meteo België). This clearly resulted in earlier emerging moths witch could explain the early feeding caterpillars.



Stigmella sorbi is widespread in Europe,  especially the northern half and mountain areas in South and Central Europe. (Karsholt & van Nieukerken 2011).  Stigmella sorbi was described from England by Stainton (1861). It is rather local in the south and in Ireland, but commoner in the north and in Scotland, where it’s range extends to the Shetland Islands. (Emmet, 1983). In 2010 Stigmella sorbi was found on 4 different sites always in low numbers (pers. comm. Rob Edmunds). Sometimes the species may occasionally occur in high densities in northern Scandinavia and the Alps (Johansson et al., 1990).  That is confirmed by Bengtsson who says the species is common in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. Only in the northernmost part of Norway it’s absent (Bengttson, 2008). In the Netherlands the first certain discovery of Stigmella sorbi was in 1969. The species were only found in a couple of scattered places in The Netherlands (Kuchlein, 1993).  Stigmella sorbi is a boreo-montane species, which in Southern Europe only occurs on mountains. That was also a fact for Spain. It was found by Van Nieukerken & Lastuvka on the 6 July 2002 on an altitude of 1000m in Segura de los Baños, Teruel (E.J. van Nieukerken & A. Lastûvka, 2004).


Thanks to Stéphane Claerebout for translating the résumé.  Also to Stijn Heggerick who accompanied me during the first trip, and to Huet Léon, Guido De Prins, Dries De Vreeze and Chris Snyers who were there at the excursion in Forges. Also I would like to thank Willy De Prins and Erik Van Nieukerken who commented this paper.


Baugnée, J.Y. & van As, B.: Stigmella magdalenae (Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae), new to the Belgian fauna. Phegea 40 (1b) 01.iii.2012: 22-23-24

Bengtsson, B. Å., Johansson, R. & Palmqvist, G. 2008. Nationalnyckelen till Sveriges flora och fauna. Fjärilar: Käkmalar – Säckspinnare. Lepidoptera: Micropterigidae – Psychidae. ArtDatabanken, SLU, Uppsala.

De Prins, W. & Steeman, C. 2011. Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Belgium. - www.phegea.org (accessed on 8 December 2011.

Emmet in Heath, J. 1983. The moths and butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland Vol.I Micropterigidae – Heliozelidae. Essex Harley books 460p.

http://www.meteobelgie.be/artikelen/79-jaar-2011/1402-waarnemingen  April & May 2011. (accessed on 8 December 2011)

Johansson, R., Nielsen, E.S., Nieukerken E.J. van and Gustafsson, B., 1989. The Nepticulidae and Opostegidae (Lepidoptera) of North West Europe. – Fauna entomologica scandinavica. 23: 1-739p.

Karsholt, O. & van Nieukerken, E.J. 2004. Fauna Europaea. --- In: Karsholt, O. & van Nieukerken, E.J. (eds.) Lepidoptera, Moths, Fauna Europaea version 1.3, www.faunaeur.org (accessed on 8 December 2011).

Kuchlein, J.H. 1993. De kleine vlinders – Handboek voor de Faunistiek van de Nederlandse Microlepidoptera. Pudoc, Wageningen, 715p.

Nieukerken, E.J. van, A. Laštůvka &  Z. Laštůvka, 2004. Annotated catalogue of the Nepticulidae and Opostegidae (Lepidoptera:Nepticuloidae) of the Iberian Peninsula. – SHILAP Revista de Lepidopterologica 32 (127): 211 – 260.