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Harrisia martinii (Moon cactus)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Core Eudicots > Order: Caryophyllales > Family: Cactaceae > Genus: Harrisia

Native to South America. Naturalised in southern Africa. A stem sucking mealiebug, Hypogeococcus pungens, together with a stem boring beetle, Nealcidion cereicola, have brought this weed under complete biological control in South Africa (Klein 2011).

Ecological interactions in southern Africa


A biological control campaign against this weed has resulted in the establishment of two biological control agents:

  • Hypogeococcus pungens (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). A stem sucking mealiebug that was released in South Africa in 1983 against Harrisia martinii and which causes extensive damage (Klein 2011).
  • Nealcidion cereicola (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). A stem boring beetle that was released in 1990 against Harrisia martinii and which causes considerable damage (KIein 2011).


  • Klein H. 2011. A catalogue of the insects, mites and pathogens that have been used or rejected, or are under consideration, for the biological control of invasive alien plants in South Africa. African Entomology 19(2): 515-549.

Text by Hamish Robertson

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