Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Melitara prodenialis Walker, 1863
original combination Melitara prodenialis Walker
synonym Zophodia bollii Zeller, 1872
* phylogenetic sequence #177750
Larvae - Head yellowish brown, darker reddish brown to black near mouthparts and near stemmata. Body dark bluish to bluish black. Early, unpigmented instars of M. prodenialis usually have a dark reddish brown head, whereas those of Cactobrosis cactorum have a black head
southeastern New York to Florida along the Atlantic coastal plain, and west to eastern Oklahoma and north-central and southeastern Texas, but it is most common in the southeastern coastal plain (Neunzig, 1997).
Opuntia humifusa var. ammophila (Small), O. humifusa var. austrina (Small), O. macrorhiza Engelmann, O. pusilla (Haworth), O. dillenii (Ker-Gawler), and O. sticta (Haworth) (Neunzig, 1997).
Eggs are deposited in the form of an egg-stick, and each a female deposites an average of two eggsticks, each composed of about 30 eggs. Larvae are gregarious within the cladode, and may feed in several clododes to complete development. In Arkansas larvae overwinter as 1st-3rd instars (Carleton and Kring, 1994). Pupation occurs in a silken cocoon on the surface of the soil under a dead cladode or other debris. The species has two generations annually throughout most of its range, but has three generations annually in Florida. In Arkansas flight periods of adults are June-July and September-October (Carleton & Kring, 1994).
Melitara prodenialis can be differentiated from other species of the genus by having a porrect antenna (rather than weakly ascending), the terminal area of the forewing lacking a series of short black, longitudinal lines, and the postmedial line of the forewing shallowly angulate (rather than deeply angulate).
Mann, John (1969) Cactus-Feeding Insects and Mites; USNM Bull. 256, p.30
Carlton. C.E. & Kring, T.J. (1994) MELITARA PRODENIALIS WALKER ON PRICKLY PEAR IN ARKANSAS; Southwest Ent., v.19, no.1, pp.23-31
Mississippi Entomological Museum
- larvae description, range, food, life cycle