Stiling (2002) states that, "Cactoblastis cactorum oviposits by gluing sticks of about 50-90 eggs on cactus spines. The gregarious larvae bore into the pads or cladodes, devouring them from the inside. About four pads are needed for the development of the larvae from a complete egg stick." The authors also report that, "There are at least 31 species of prickly pear in the US that are likely to be attacked by C. cactorum and 56 species in Mexico. As well as the threat to wild cacti, there are over 250,000ha of Opuntia plantations in Mexico that support a thriving agricultural industry, most of which is centered on harvesting fruits or pads."
Stiling (2002) reports that “As well as its commercial value, Opuntia is used by a whole community of organisms (109 species of invertebrates, 9 species of reptiles, 54 mammals and 25 species of birds)". Vigueras and Portillo, 2001; Mellink and Rojas-Lopez, 2002).
Étude de cas sur les impacts
Réduction de la biodiversité indigène: While Cactoblastis cactorum did an excellent job of controlling their target organism, they also attacked non-target species such as O. repens in Puerto Rico (Zimmerman et al 2000; Stiling, 2002).
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Réduction de la biodiversité indigène: Cactoblastis cactorum was released into Nevis, an island in the Caribbean, in 1956 where it also destroyed native and non-native Opuntias (Solis et al 2004).
Florida (USA) (United States (USA))
Réduction de la biodiversité indigène: The presence of Cactoblastis cactorum in Florida constitutes an immediate threat to endemic cacti in the southeast of the United States and, ultimately, to Opuntia cacti, native and exotic, wild and in cultivation, both in the whole of the United States and Mexico (Stiling, 2002). The caterpillar also attacks endemic, rare Floridian cactus, like Opuntia corallicola and O. triacantha listed as endangered in the state of Florida.(Solis et al 2004).