The phycitinae moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) is one of the most remarkable examples of biological control, especially for its use in Australia and around the world in the control of Opuntia spp. Originially described from norther Argentina, this species has also been introduced for control measures in South Africa and into the West Indies. However, C. cactorum is quite opportunitistic and has subsequently proven detrimental to both endemic as well as more common native Opuntia species in Florida. Although Heinrich (1936, 1956) reviewed and completed a revision of the North American Phycitinae and Habeck and Bennett (1990) provided a formal key, further morphological studies on the Florida populations document some distinct differences and provide further insight into the sensory and physiological structures. Other observations on the life history confirm vigorous diurnal activity and cohabitation in native Opuntia with three species of Diptera (Syrphidae; Copestylum florida Hull, C. mexicanum (Macquart), and Phaenicia caeruleiviridis (Macquart)). The potential role of aposematic coloration in a mimicry strategy is also discussed.
Species 1: Lepidoptera Pyralidae Cactoblastis cactorum
Species 2: Diptera Syrphidae Copestylum florida
Species 3: Diptera Syrphidae Phaenicia caeruleiviridis
Keywords: biological control, systematics
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