Cactus eating caterpillar

Phil Schappert philjs at
Mon Jun 14 16:38:59 EDT 1999

On Sun, 13 Jun 1999 10:18:51 -0400, Martha Steuart
<paustin at> wrote:
>Hi y'all,
>At our meeting Friday night, one of our Florida Native Plant Society
>members brought a caterpillar that is eating up her prickly pear cactus.
>It is about 3/4 inch long, flattened body, darkish orange with black
>bands. She said they bore into the pads and eat the insides out, killing
>her plants. What is it, is it native to east central Florida and how to
>control it? Any help would be appreciated.tyia
>Martha Steuart, president, Conradina Chapter of FNPS
>Brevard County, Florida
>paustin at

Must be one hard up cactus! or a truly delectable caterpillar!

Seriously, though, the "classic" biological control example is the
introduction of the moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (great name, wot?), to
control the outbreak of Opuntia in Australia. I wonder if this moth
has somehow been introduced to FL? Any answers?


Dr. Phil Schappert

Section of Integrative Biology,     Stengl-Lost Pines Biological Station, 
School of Biological Sciences       University of Texas,
University of Texas,                401 Old Antioch Rd, 
Austin, TX 78712-1064               Smithville, TX 78957 
Office/Lab: 512-471-8240            Station: 512-237-3864
Fax: 512-471-9651                   Fax: 512-237-3864 (call ahead) 

mailto:philjs at

"Just let imagination lead, reality will follow through..."
                                                       Michael Hedges

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