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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY BASED TECHNIQUES TO LIMIT THE DISPERSAL OF INVASIVE PESTS

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

Title: Phenology of blue cactus moth Melitara prodenialis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)

Authors
item Legaspi, Jesusa
item Baez, Ignacio - USDA-APHIS-CPHST
item Legaspi, Benjamin - FPSC, STATE OF FLORIDA

Submitted to: Subtropical Plant Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 27, 2009
Publication Date: March 2, 2009
Citation: Legaspi, J.C., Baez, I., Legaspi, B.C. 2008. Phenology of blue cactus moth Melitara prodenialis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Subtropical Plant Science. 60:66-68.

Interpretive Summary: We surveyed for a native insect pest, Melitara prodenialis in cactus plants from September 2006 - September 2007 at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, St. Marks, Florida. Every week, we visually counted the numbers and recorded the stage of Melitara from a select number of plants. Results indicated two generations for the blue cactus moth, M. prodenialis throughout the year: one in the Spring from October to April, and another in the fall from May to September. In contrast, a sympatric exotic cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum, undergoes three generations in the same sampling site. We discuss the potential significance of Melitara within the context of controlling the invasive insect pest, Cactoblastis.

Technical Abstract: Native cactus plants (Opuntia stricta Haw. [Cactaceae]) were sampled weekly at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, St. Marks, Florida (30.16 - 30° 1' N, -84.21 - 84° 1' W) from September 2006 to September 2007 for the native blue cactus moth, Melitara prodenialis Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) Melitara appears to undergo only two generations: one in the Spring from October to April, and another in the fall from May to September, as compared to the sympatric exotic cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum, which undergoes three generations in the same sampling site. We discuss the potential significance of Melitara within the context of controlling Cactoblastis.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014
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