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Cactus Moth

Scientific Name

Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Zimmermann et al. 2004)

Common Name

Cactus moth, prickly pear moth

Native To

South America (Zimmermann et al. 2004)

Date of U.S. Introduction
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)


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

Cactus Moth, Adult
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Cactus Moth, Adult


Photo by Dale Habeck

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  • Invasive Cactus Moth Likely to Spread and Destroy Native Prickly Pear

    • Oct 28, 2020
    • University of Texas at Austin.

    • The cactus moth has a wingspan of only about an inch, but this invasive insect has the potential to cause largescale agricultural and ecological devastation in Texas, according to the first study of cactus moths in Texas. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin's Invasive Species Project based at Brackenridge Field Laboratory in Austin have found that four native species of prickly pear cactus — and the species that rely on them — face a serious health threat from the moth.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

Federally Regulated

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source.

Federal Government
State and Local Government
  • EDIS - Cactus Moth

    • University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

    • Electronic Data Information Source Publication #ENY056