Cactoblastis cactorum (weed bioagent)

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Cactoblastis cactorum larvae (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Peggy Greb
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Cactoblastis cactorum (weed bioagent) (Berg)

The cactus moth is native to parts of South America (northern Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) and has been used against weedy Opuntia species in several countries. It was introduced into Australia in 1926 against O. stricta and has given satisfactory control of that weed in crops and rangelands.

Other introductions followed in South Africa (1933), New Caledonia (1933), Hawaii (1950) and the Caribbean (1957) against various Opuntia species. However, these have not always given the intended results. The introduction into the Caribbean apparently lead to the spread of the moth into southern North America where it is threatening native and commercial Opuntia species (see C. cactorum as pest).

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.