Biology, History, Threat,. Surveillance and Control of the Cactus Moth,. Cactoblastis cactorum. H. Zimmermann. S. Bloem. H. Klein. Joint FAO/IAEA Programme. This ancient photographic record on the left is one example of the amazing way cactoblastis (Cactoblastis cactorum) chewed its way through. Cactoblastis cactorum is a moth that preys specifically on cacti species. It has been introduced in various locations around the globe to provide.
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Adult cactus moths are non-descript, gray-brown moths with faint dark spots and wavy transverse lines marking the wings. The rear margins of the hindwings are whitish, and semitransparent; and the antennae and legs are long.
The wing span of the adults ranges from 22 to 35 mm.
Moth Photographers Group – Cactoblastis cactorum –
The larvae of Cactoblastis cactorum are bright orange-red with large dark spots forming transverse bands. Mature larvae are 25 to 30 mm long. Larvae are caterpillars that are pink-cream colored at first and become orange with age. Black and red dots on the dorsal surface of each body segment coalesce with age to form dark bands. The larvae are much easier to discern than the non-descript adults.
As ofthe cactus moth has not been reported in Texas. However, experts predict that their spread to Texas is expected to occur soon.
The cactus moth is so efficient at eliminating Opuntia cacti species that it is used as a biological control agent in areas where Opuntia are invasive. Thus, the cactus moth are a considerable threat to the native Opuntia cactus population and the ecosystem it supports. Native Lepidoptera, such as the endangered Schaus swallowail, Papilio aristodemus ponceanusbirds, reptiles, and other insects rely on the cactus as a source of food and shelter.
Texas Invasive Species Institute
With the decimation and collapse of the native cacti, the surrounding ecosystem could follow suit. Female moths lay on average eggs in a distinctive stick-like formation that protrudes from the cactus pad. The external incubation period for the eggs is typically days, but can occur in as little as 18 days and cactoorum temperature-dependent.
Larvae hatch, bore into the cactus pad, and persist inside the cactus pad through several instars. While consuming the cactus from the inside as they mature, eventually hollowing out the pad. Larvae are gregarious which leads to an almost communal destruction of the cactus. Cacti riddled with C.
Mature larvae emerge from the cactus pad to form cocoons cacttoblastis pupate on the ground at the base of the host cactus. Adult moths emerge cactoruk cocoons to disperse into new areas and repeat the reproductive process.
Adults only live for 9 days on cactoblstis, but, as airborne organisms, can spread fair distances in a short time. Cactoblastis cactorum was introduced into Australia as a means to control introduced Opuntia cacti. The cactus moth was so successful at controlling the cacti in Australia, Aussies even erected a monument for the moththat it cacctorum subsequently introduced to South Africa, the Caribbean, and Hawaii to control cacti populations there.
The moth was first observed in the Florida Keys in and has established a breeding population in parts of Florida. The moth has also spread to other states including as far north as South Carolina and as far west as Louisiana.
The moth is not currently established in Texas, but is predicted to do so unless precautions are taken. The highly specialized diet of Cactoblastis cactorum limits its habitat and distribution to coincide with that of its food source, prickly pear cacti of genus Opuntia.
Introduction of Cactoblastis cactorum (“cactus moth”) in Australia | Environment & Society Portal
Currently, the cactus moth has established breeding populations in Florida and South Carolina. The moth has been observed in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana as well. The Cactus moth has been observed in Brazoria County, Texas.
Remember that the orange and black caterpillars are the best way to ID this species. Any specimens that are to be mailed in should be sent in alcohol. Adult cactus moths are non-descript and look similar to other Pyralid moths, especially those of the subfamily Cactooblastis.
However, the larvae are very unique in appearance.
As ofa management plan has not been established. Currently, the best method of contorl is by manual removal of the “egg vactoblastis. Insecticides are not used to control the cactus moth because of the potential to poison and kill indigenous endangered species such as the Schaus swallowtail butterfly, Papilio aristodemus ponceanus.
Cactoblastis cactorum Google Images: Cactoblastis cactorum NatureServe Explorer: Cactoblastis cactorum Bugwood Network Images: Monitoring the Endangered Semaphore Cactus, Opunita corallicola.
The biological control of cactus weeds: Biocontrol News and Infor. Tracking the cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum Berg. News of the Lepidopterists’ Society, The renowned cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum: Diversity and Distributions, 6 5: Texas Invasive Species Institute. Description Adult cactus moths are non-descript, gray-brown moths with faint dark spots and wavy transverse lines marking the wings. Ecological Threat As ofthe cactus moth has not been reported in Texas.
Biology Female moths lay on average eggs in a distinctive stick-like formation that protrudes from the cactus pad. History Cactoblastis cactorum was introduced into Australia as a means to control introduced Opuntia cacti.
Native Origin South America: Current Location The highly specialized diet of Cqctoblastis cactorum limits its habitat and distribution to coincide with that of its food source, prickly pear cacti of genus Opuntia.
Resembles Adult cachorum moths are non-descript and look similar to other Pyralid moths, especially those of the subfamily Phycitinae. Management As ofa management plan has not been established. Cactoblastis cactorum Hight, S.