With the termination of sterile insect technique efforts to limit the spread of Argentine Cactus Moth, Cactoblastis cactorum, population management strategies, such as biological control, are being investigated. The parasitoid Apanteles opuntiarum, is believed to have co-evolved with C. cactorum. To assess the non-target effects of the koinobiont larval parasitoid on non-target pyralids, host specificity tests were implemented in quarantine laboratory conditions.
Argentine Cactus Moth (C. cactorum) Rearing
The laboratory filter colony maintained at the Biological Control Rearing Facility in Gainesville, Florida produced 680,679 cactus moth pupae during FY 14-15. Fifty-three lots (lot = ≈300 cups) were infested, and the average number of eggs per cup was sixty. Pupae were collected after an average of forty-one days had passed. Forty-seven of these lots had completed pupal development during this time interval and the lot pupation percentage ranged from 42.1-92.4 with the majority of the lots being over 77% pupal development.
Disease management continued to be a critical …show more content…
Collaborators sent a number of native North American cactus moth larvae from different locations in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico to the containment facility in Gainesville for non-target assays. So far no parasitization occurred in no-choice, non-target host testing of the other Lepidopteran species. Individuals from colonies of Melitara prodenialis from ARS lab, Tallahassee were used in non-target testing. Out of 501 M. prodenialis larvae, none of them parasitized; 123 successfully completed pupation and 378 died. Preliminary research has indicated that A. opuntiarum appears to be host specific to C. cactorum. We will finalize host range testing to confirm that it has the same degree of host specificity as the Argentine populations have previously studied in the