Florida Entomologist (2016) 99, 206-214

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Stephen D. Hight and James E. Carpenter (2016)
Performance improvement through quality evaluations of sterile cactus moths, Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), mass-reared at two insectaries
Florida Entomologist 99 (sp1), 206-214
Abstract: A bi-national program was established by Mexico and the United States to mitigate the threat of the cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)—an invasive herbivore from South America—to native Opuntia spp. (Caryophyllales: Cactaceae) biodiversity and Opuntia-based industries. Mass-rearing, sterilization, and transport and release technologies assisted with the development of several control tactics including the sterile insect technique. Following the successful eradication of C. cactorum from Mexico and the elimination of C. cactorum from Alabama barrier islands, the bi-national program established an additional mass-rearing insectary for the production of sterile moths. Laboratory and field bioassays were conducted on sterile moths from both insectaries. Bioassays and assessments included moth mass, moth longevity, percentage of female moths mated at time of collection from the insectary, percentage of female moths mated 24 h after collection, flight ability, percentage recaptured after release in the field, and mean distance dispersed from release site. Data from the quality assessments and comparisons between the 2 insectaries were used as feedback mechanisms to make protocol changes in both rearing and handling that improved sterile moth quality and performance.
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Database assignments for author(s): Stephen D. Hight

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
control - general
rearing/culturing/mass production


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Cactoblastis cactorum Prickly pear (Opuntia)