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Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg)

Cactoblastis cactorum adultCactoblastis cactorum larva

Synonymy and Types
Zophodia cactorum Berg, 1885, Anales Soc. Cient. Argentina 19: 276. Type locality:  Argentina. Type deposition (unknown).

Cactoblastis cactorum, Ragonot, 1901, Mém. sur les Lépid., 8: 15.

Cactoblastis cactorum has a similar wing pattern to some species of Melitara, however  this species be distinguished by having a simple antenna in contrast to the bipectinate antenna in both sexes of Melitara.  In the male genitalia, the gnathos is shallowly cleft dorsally and not cleft ventrally in C. cactorum, whereas the gnathos is more deeply cleft dorsally and also cleft ventrally in males of Melitara.  The female genitalia of C. cactorum differs from those of Melitara by having a signum in the corpus bursae comgined with a posterior origin of the ductus seminalis near the juncture with the ductus bursae.  Larvae of Cactoblastis are red and black, in contrast to coloration of the larvae of Melitara.   Other differences between C. cactorum and M. prodenialis can be seen with the comparison of the structures of the exo- and endosketon given below.

Identification Guide
English (download pdf)
Spanish (download pdf)


Life History


History of Biological Control

Dissection of Male Genitalia (2009)
Dissection of Female Genitalia (2011)

Morphology Images
         Morphological Comparisons of Melitara prodenialis and Cactoblastis cactorum
         Female papillae anales

         Comparison of Larval Sensilla on Mouthparts of Cactoblastis cactorum and Melitara prodenialis.

Powerpoint presentations
Montesbravo, E. P. 2002. Some considerations about Cactoblastis cactorum in Cuba and its impact. Cactus Moth (Cactablastis cactorum) Consultants Meeting, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Vienna, Austria.

Soberon, J. 2002. The routes of invasion of Cactoblastis cactorum. NAPPO PRA Symposium. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.