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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Reproduction, longevity and survival of the cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae).

item Legaspi, Jesusa - Susie
item Baez, Ignacio
item Legaspi,jr, Benjamin

Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2009
Publication Date: 5/20/2009
Citation: Legaspi, J.C., Baez, I., Legaspi,Jr, B.C. 2009. Reproduction, longevity and survival of the cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 102(3):445-449.

Interpretive Summary: The invasive cactus moth can cause great damage to the ornamental cactus industry in the USA, the commercial cactus of Mexico and native plants in both countries. However, it may be possible to set up a barrier in the southeastern Gulf States to stop the spread of the pests. In order to apply control measures when they are most effective scientists at the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida measured the time it takes for eggs to hatch, larvae to develop and adults to emerge from pupae. Such information will help guide biological control releases, Sterile Insect releases and the removal of infested cactus.

Technical Abstract: Screened potted cactus plants (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) containing pairs of adult male and female cactus moths, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), were placed in a cactus field in St. Marks, Florida to measure oviposition patterns under field-realistic conditions. Results showed a narrow window for oviposition during 3rd and 6th days of adult life occurs. Peak oviposition activity occurred on the 3rd day, whether measured in total fecundity, numbers of eggs per eggstick or numbers of ovipositions. After the 3rd day, not only did oviposition rate decrease, but the quality of eggs produced also declined. Percentage egg hatch decreased and development time from egg laying to egg hatching increased. Adult male longevity of males (6.3 ± 0.79 d; ' ± SE) did not differ from that of females (5.286 ± 0.4), although female adults (157.8 ± 4.5 mg; ' ± SE) weighed more than males (74.9 ± 1.51). Therefore, from the perspective of mass rearing this moth, the optimal time for collecting eggs is limited to the 3rd day in the life of the adult female.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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