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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biology, Distribution And Control Of The Cactus Moth, Cactoblastis Cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralide)

item Legaspi, Jesusa - Susie
item Legaspi, Benjamin

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Entomology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/28/2008
Publication Date: 9/8/2008
Citation: Legaspi, J.C., Legaspi, B.C. 2008. Biology, Distribution And Control Of The Cactus Moth, Cactoblastis Cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralide). In: Campinera, J.L., editor. Encyclopedia of Entomology. 2nd edition. Vol 1, A-C. London, UK:Springer. p. 696-703.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) became a textbook example of successful classical biological control after it was imported from Argentina into Australia in 1926 to control invasive Opuntia cacti. To date, the moth continues to play an active role in controlling Opuntia in Australia. In 1989, Cactoblastis was found in Florida, subsequently spreading to northwards to South Carolina and westwards to Alabama by 2004. The arrival of the moth in the United States was cause for concern in the cactus industry. In the United States, cacti are grown primarily as ornamentals in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Highest nursery production is in Arizona (wholesale and retail values of $4.5 million and $9.5 million, respectively), followed by southern California. Despite attempts to prevent migration to the valuable cactus growing regions in Mexico, Cactoblastis was found in Isla Mujeres, Mexico in August 2006. Over 250,000 ha are cultivated in Mexico producing annual economic revenue of about $50 million (1990-1998). Although the importations into Australia and the invasion into the US and Mexico occurred many years apart, the Cactoblastis moth has now become a cautionary example in the practice of biological control. Research on the moth has shifted from mass release to control. Here, we attempt to summarize the current state of knowledge on the biology, distribution and control methods against Cactoblastis. Hopefully, the information presented may be useful in designing control programs in the US or Mexico.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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