New Featured Creatures, the cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum by D.H. Habeck, F.D. Bennett, and Christine Miller, University of Florida

Cactoblastis_cactorum1

Photograph by D. Habeck and F. Bennett, University of Florida

The cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum Berg (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) arrived in 1989 in the Florida Keys, and this invasive species has become a serious threat to the diversity and abundance of Opuntia cactus in North America. The spread of this moth raises the following major concerns: 1) potential harm to rare opuntioid species (prickly pear and related cacti; members of the subfamily Opuntioideae: Cactaceae), 2) the endangerment of wild opuntioids in the southwestern United States and Mexico and consequent effects on entire desert ecosystems, and 3) economic hardship for communities in Mexico that cultivate and sell Opuntia.

Want to know more? Visit this Featured Creatures update for new information and photos- Cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) by D.H. Habeck (retired), F.D. Bennett (retired), and Christine Miller, University of Florida.

http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/BFLY/cactus_moth.htm

Dr. Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman gillett@ufl.edu  is the coordinator for UF-IFAS Featured Creatures. Cactus moth is UF/IFAS publication number EENY-56.

Thanks to Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman for submitting this announcement to UF-IFAS Pest Alert.