Global invasive species database

  • General
  • Distribution
  • Impact
  • Management
  • Bibliography
  • Contact
prev
  • Cactoblastis cactorum adult (Photo: Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ, www.insectimages.org)
  • Cactoblastis cactorum larva(e) (Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, University of Sydney, www.insectimages.org)
  • Cactoblastis cactorum egg(s) (Photo: Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ, www.insectimages.org)
  • Cactoblastis cactorum damage (Photo: Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ, www.insectimages.org)
  • Cactoblastis cactorum cocoon (Photo: Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ, www.insectimages.org)
  • Cactoblastis cactorum pupa (Photo: Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ, www.insectimages.org)
next
Common name
prickly pear moth (English), cactus moth (English)
Synonym
Zophodia cactorum , Berg
Similar species
Phycitinae
Summary
Cactoblastis cactorum is a moth that preys specifically on cacti species. It has been introduced in various locations around the globe to provide biological control of invasive cacti species and has proved itself successful in Australia and some Caribbean islands. However, from the Caribbean it spread into Florida and has attacked non-target cacti species. It is feared that it will cause large scale losses of native cacti diversity in North America and possibly have a large economic, social and ecological impact in Opuntia rich areas of southwestern USA and Mexico.
Species Description
Females of Cactoblastis cactorum have a wingspan of 27-40mm, whilst the males wingspan is slightly smaller (23-32mm). The adult is fawn with faint dark dots and lines on the wings. It normally rests with its wings wrapped around its body. The forewings are greyish brown but whiter toward the costal margin. Distinct black antemedial and subterminal lines are present. Hindwings are white, semihyaline at base, smoky brown on outer half with a dark line along the posterior margin. The average longevity of the adult is 9 days. The incubation period of eggs depends on temperature; the shortest time being 18 days. The eggs usually hatch in 23-28 days. Larvae are gregarious in nature, initially pinkish cream coloured, with black red dots on the back of each segment. Later instars become orange and the dots coalesce to become a dark band across each segment reaching up to 1.5cm. The pupa is enclosed in a fine white silk cocoon which consists of a loose outer covering and a more compact inner cocoon. Pupation sites are usually found among debris of rotting cladodes under stones, logs, bark and just beneath the surface of the soil. The average length of the pupal period is 21-28 days. (Jordan Golubov., pers. comm.., 2005).
Lifecycle Stages
When fully grown the larvae exit the cladodes and individually drop to the ground and find pupation sites, usually in the debris of rotting cladodes (Jordan Golubov., pers. comm., 2005).
Uses
Cactoblastis cactorum is a voracious feeder on cacti in the genus Opuntia (prickly pear cacti) and is an example of a successful weed biological control programme. It was introduced from Argentina into Australia in the mid 1920's for the biological control of invasive and non-native Opuntia. C. cactorum was then intentionally spread from Australia into other countries with prickly pear problems (Solis et al. 2004).
Habitat Description
Cactoblastis cactorum require Opuntia cacti species to lay their eggs upon.
Reproduction
Oviposition is normally at dusk or early dawn and may be responding to CO2 concentrations around pads (Stange, 1997; Stange et al 1995). The number of eggs in a stick varies greatly but the average contain from 76-90 eggs. Each female can deposit several eggsticks; 3-4 but can frequently lay 8-12. In Australia, mating takes place during the early morning hours and copulation has never been documented at night, or after 2100hrs. Adults normally remain inactive during daylight hours. In South Africa, sexual activity is found on the first and second night after adult emergence. In Florida, peak periods of sexual activity begin between nautical and civil twilight and ends before sunrise (for a detailed behavioural sequence of sexual activity see Hight et al. 2003)
Nutrition
On hatching, all larvae from one eggstick enter the plant at one point. They tunnel freely within the cladodes, consuming the whole of the interior except the vascular bundles and leaving the undamaged cuticle as a transparent tissue. Burrowing activity usually causes secondary bacterial activity which hastens the destruction of cladodes. When one cladode has been eaten or decayed, the larvae may penetrate into the next segment. During this process the colony usually divides into two or more groups. Adults have no functional mouthparts and emerge only to reproduce (Jordan Golubov., pers. comm., 2005).
Pathway
Cactoblastis cactorum was introduced to St Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat in the Carribbean (Pemberton, 1995).Cactoblastis cactorum in the Florida Keys may have been the result of the moth naturally dispersing across the Caribbean, or it may have been introduced unintentionally on horticultural prickly pear cacti imported into Florida (Solis et al.

Principal source: Stiling, 2002. Potential non-target effects of a biological control agent, prickly pear moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), in North America, and possible management actions. Biological Invasions 4: 273-281

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review: Dr. Jordan K. Golubov \ Profesor-Investigador Titular C \ Lab. Sistematica y Ecologia Vegetal \ Departamento El Hombre y Su Ambiente \ Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana -- Xochimilco Mexico

Publication date: 2008-03-27

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2016) Species profile: Cactoblastis cactorum. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=729 on 30-08-2016.

General Impacts
Stiling (2002) states that, \"Cactoblastis cactorum oviposits by gluing sticks of about 50-90 eggs on cactus spines. The gregarious larvae bore into the pads or cladodes, devouring them from the inside. About four pads are needed for the development of the larvae from a complete egg stick.\" The authors also report that, \"There are at least 31 species of prickly pear in the US that are likely to be attacked by C. cactorum and 56 species in Mexico. As well as the threat to wild cacti, there are over 250,000ha of Opuntia plantations in Mexico that support a thriving agricultural industry, most of which is centered on harvesting fruits or pads.\"

Stiling (2002) reports that “As well as its commercial value, Opuntia is used by a whole community of organisms (109 species of invertebrates, 9 species of reptiles, 54 mammals and 25 species of birds)\". Vigueras and Portillo, 2001; Mellink and Rojas-Lopez, 2002).

Management Info
For details on preventative measures, chemical, physical, and biological control options of Cactoblastis cactorum, please see management information compiled by ISSG.
Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Cactoblastis cactorum
Informations on Cactoblastis cactorum has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Cactoblastis cactorum in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
Stiling (2002) states that, \"Cactoblastis cactorum oviposits by gluing sticks of about 50-90 eggs on cactus spines. The gregarious larvae bore into the pads or cladodes, devouring them from the inside. About four pads are needed for the development of the larvae from a complete egg stick.\" The authors also report that, \"There are at least 31 species of prickly pear in the US that are likely to be attacked by C. cactorum and 56 species in Mexico. As well as the threat to wild cacti, there are over 250,000ha of Opuntia plantations in Mexico that support a thriving agricultural industry, most of which is centered on harvesting fruits or pads.\"

Stiling (2002) reports that “As well as its commercial value, Opuntia is used by a whole community of organisms (109 species of invertebrates, 9 species of reptiles, 54 mammals and 25 species of birds)\". Vigueras and Portillo, 2001; Mellink and Rojas-Lopez, 2002).

Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
PUERTO RICO
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
UNITED STATES
Outcomes
[3] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [3] Reduction in native biodiversity
Management information
For details on preventative measures, chemical, physical, and biological control options of Cactoblastis cactorum, please see management information compiled by ISSG.
Bibliography
27 references found for Cactoblastis cactorum

Managment information
Bloem, S., Hight, S., Carpenter, J and Bloem, K., 2005. Development of the Most Effective Trap to Monitor the Geographical Expansion of the Cactus Moth Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) (Submitted to: Florida Entomologist)
Summary: Interpretative summary and technical abstract available from: http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publications.htm?SEQ_NO_115=173010 [Accessed 17 May 2005]
Dodd, A. P. 1940. The biological campaign against prickly pear. Commonwealth Prickly Pear Board, Brisbane, Australia.
Florida Entomologist December 2001 (vol. 84, no. 4, pages 465-751)
Summary: Issue devoted to Cactoblastis cactorum.
Available from: http://www.fcla.edu/FlaEnt/fe844.htm
Online issues of Florida Entomologist from 1994 to current issues available from: http://www.fcla.edu/FlaEnt/feissues.htm. All articles are freely accessible in PDF format. [Accessed 17 May 2005]
Hight, S. D., J. E. Carpenter, K. A. Bloem, S. Bloem, R. W. Pemberton, and P. Stiling. 2002. Expanding Geographic Range of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) In North America. Florida Entomologist 85(3): 527-529.
Leibee, G. L., and L. S. Osborne. 2001. Chemical control of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Florida Entomologist 84(4): 510-513.
Mahr, D. L. 2001. Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in Noth America. A Workshop of Assessment and Planning. Florida Entomologist 84(4): 465-474.
Pemberton, R. W., and H. A. Cordo. 2001. Potential and risks of biological control of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) In North America. Florida Entomologist 84(4).
Pettey, F. W. 1948. The biological control of prickly pear in South Africa. Sci. Bull. Dept of Agri. Union of South Africa 271: 1-163.
Robertson, H. G. 1988. Spatial and temporal patterns of predation by ants on eggs of Cactoblastis cactorum. Ecological Entomology 13: 207-214.
Soberon, J., J. Golubov, and J. Sarukhan. 2001. The Importance of Opuntia in Mexico and routes of invasion and impact of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Florida Entomologist 84(4).
Solis, M. A., D. H. Stemphen, and D. R. Gordon. 2004. Tracking the Cactus Moth, Cactoblastis cactorum Berg., as it flies and eats its way westward in the U.S. News of the Lepidopterists Society.
Stange, G. 1997. Effects of changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide on the location of host by the moth Cactoblastis cactorum. Oecologia 110: 539-545.
Stange, G., Monro, J., Stowe, S., and Osmond, C. B. 1995. the CO2 sense of the moth Cactoblastis cactorum and its probable role in the biological control of the CAM plant Opuntia stricta. Oecologia 102: 341-352
Stiling, P. 2002. Potential non-target effects of a biological control agent, prickly pear moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), in North America, and possible management actions. Biological Invasions 4: 273-281, 2002.
Varnham, K. 2006. Non-native species in UK Overseas Territories: a review. JNCC Report 372. Peterborough: United Kingdom.
Summary: This database compiles information on alien species from British Overseas Territories.
Available from: http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-3660 [Accessed 10 November 2009]
General information
CONABIO. 2008. Sistema de informaci�n sobre especies invasoras en M�xico. Especies invasoras - Insectos. Comisi�n Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad. Fecha de acceso.
Summary: English:
The species list sheet for the Mexican information system on invasive species currently provides information related to Scientific names, family, group and common names, as well as habitat, status of invasion in Mexico, pathways of introduction and links to other specialised websites. Some of the higher risk species already have a direct link to the alert page. It is important to notice that these lists are constantly being updated, please refer to the main page (http://www.conabio.gob.mx/invasoras/index.php/Portada), under the section Novedades for information on updates.
Invasive species - insects is available from: http://www.conabio.gob.mx/invasoras/index.php/Especies_invasoras_-_Insectos [Accessed 30 July 2008]
Spanish:
La lista de especies del Sistema de informaci�n sobre especies invasoras de m�xico cuenta actualmente con informaci�n aceca de nombre cient�fico, familia, grupo y nombre com�n, as� como h�bitat, estado de la invasi�n en M�xico, rutas de introducci�n y ligas a otros sitios especializados. Algunas de las especies de mayor riesgo ya tienen una liga directa a la p�gina de alertas. Es importante resaltar que estas listas se encuentran en constante proceso de actualizaci�n, por favor consulte la portada (http://www.conabio.gob.mx/invasoras/index.php/Portada), en la secci�n novedades, para conocer los cambios.
Especies invasoras - Insectos is available from: http://www.conabio.gob.mx/invasoras/index.php/Especies_invasoras_-_Insectos [Accessed 30 July 2008]
Evans, D. H., and S. Crossley. 2004. Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg, 1885) (previously known as : Zophodia cactorum) Prickly Pear Moth Phycitini, Phycitinae. Australian Caterpillars.
Habeck, D. H., and K. A. Bennett. 2002. Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Featured Creatures: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Heinrich, C. 1939. The cactus feeding Phycitinae: a contribution toward a revision of the American Pyralidoid moths of the family Phycitidae. Proceedings of the National Museum Smithsonian Institution 86: 331-413.
Hight, S. D., S. Bloem, K. A. Bloem, and J. A. Carpenter. 2003. Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae): observations of courtship and mating behaviors at two locations on the Gulf coast of Florida. Florida Entomologist 86: 400-408.
Johnson, D. M, and D. S. Stiling. 1998. Distribution and dispersal of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), and exotic opuntia-feeding moth. Florida Entomologist 81(1): 12-21.
Mann, J. 1969. Cactus feeding insects and mites. Bulletin 256. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington D. C., USA
Mellink, E., and M. Rojas-Lopez. 2002. Consumption of Platyopuntias by wild vertebrates. In P. Nobel (ed) Cacti: Biology and Uses. Island Press, pages 109-123. California, USA.
Pemberton, R. W. 1995. Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera:Pyralidae) in the United States. An Immigrant biological control agent or an introduction of the nursery industry. American Entomology 41: 230-232.
Zimmermann, H. G.; V. C. Moran; J. H. Hoffmann., 2000. The renowned Cactus Moth, Cactoblastis cactorum: Its Natural History and Threat to Native Opuntia floras in Mexico and the United States of America. Diversity and Distributions, Vol. 6, No. 5. (Sep., 2000), pp. 259-269.
Contact
The following 2 contacts offer information an advice on Cactoblastis cactorum
Golubov,
Jordan K.
Organization:
Profesor-Investigador Titular C Lab. Sistematica y Ecologia Vegetal
Address:
Departamento El Hombre y Su Ambiente Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana -- Xochimilco Calz del Hueso 1100, Col. Villa Quietud Coyoacan 04960, Mexico D. F., Mexico
Phone:
5483-7000 ext 7153
Fax:
56897469
Triolo,
Julien
Geographic region: Indian Ocean
Ecosystem: Terrestrial
Organization:
Office National des For�ts
Address:
ONF. Domaine Forestier de la Providence, 97488 Saint Denis cedex
Phone:
692345283
Fax: