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Video of the Dissection of the Male Genitalia of the Cactus Moth, Cactoblastis cactorum

by Richard L. Brown, Sangmi Lee, and Joe A. MacGown
uploaded on July 10, 2009

This video describes tools, supplies, and techniques for dissecting the male genitalia of the cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum.  Structures of the genitalia can be used to differentiate Cactoblastis cactorum from other species of cactus feeding moths. The cactus moth is native to South America, but has been used as a biological control agent in Australian and other areas to control introduced species of prickly pear cactus. This moth was first detected in the Florida Keys in 1989.  It has since spread northward on the Atlantic Coast to South Carolina and westward on the Gulf Coast.  In 2008 it was detected on the coastal islands of Mississippi, and in 2009 in was detected in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. This species is an imminent threat to native cactus and the desert ecosystem in southwestern United States as well as to cultivated cactus in Mexico.