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You are here: Home / Animals / Species Profiles / Cactus Moth
Species Profiles

Cactus Moth

Cactus mothScientific name: Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Zimmermann et al. 2004)

Common name: Cactus moth, prickly pear moth

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Selected Resources

Native To: South America (Simonson et al. 2005)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 1989 (Johnson and Stiling 1998)

Means of Introduction: Imported to the Caribbean to control prickly pear cacti; arrived in the U.S. naturally or in cargo imported from the Caribbean (Johnson and Stiling 1998)

Impact: Feeds on prickly pear cacti (species in the genus Opuntia) (Johnson and Stiling 1998)

Current U.S. Distribution:



Selected Resources:

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Gallery of Pests - Cactus Moth
Nature Conservancy. Don't Move Firewood.

Biology, History, Threat, Surveillance and Control of the Cactus Moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Jun 2004; PDF | 1.24 MB)
UN. Food and Agriculture Organization; International Atomic Energy Agency. Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture.
See also: Scientific and Technical Publications on Insect Pest Control

Texas Invasives Database - Cactoblastis cactorum

The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Species of the Galveston Bay Area - Cactus Moth
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Galveston Bay Estuary Program; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).

Invasive Species Compendium - Cactoblastis cactorum
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Cactoblastis cactorum (insect)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Cactus Moth Detection and Monitoring Network
Mississippi State University. Geosystems Research Institute.

Federal Government

Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Cactoblastis cactorum
Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.

Cactus Moth ID Card (Aug 2009; PDF | 224 KB)
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

State Government

Cactus Moth Poses New Invasive Species Threat to Texas Biodiversity
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.


EDIS - Cactus Moth
University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.
Electronic Data Information Source Publication #ENY056


Invaders of the Sonoran Desert Region - Argentine Cactus Moth
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.


Johnson, D.M, and P.D. Stiling. 1998. Distribution and dispersal of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), an exotic Opuntia-feeding moth, in Florida (PDF | 392 KB) Florida Entomologist 81(1):12-22.

Simonson, S.E., T.J. Stohlgren, L. Tyler, W.P. Gregg, R. Muir, and L.J. Garrett. 2005. Preliminary assessment of the potential impacts and risks of the invasive cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum Berg, in the U.S. and Mexico (PDF | 745 KB) Final Report to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Zimmermann, H., S. Bloem, and H. Klein. 2004. Biology, History, Threat, Surveillance and Control of the Cactus Moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (PDF | 1.25 MB) Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency.

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Last Modified: Jul 21, 2018
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