Hesperolabops nigriceps Reuter feeds on cactus plants of the genus Opuntia (Caryophyllales: Cactaceae) and might damage production of prickly pear fruit and nopalitos -- tender pads of O. ficus-indica L. (Miller) eaten as a vegetable. Despite damage caused by the insect to Opuntia plants, there are no reports on its biology, which is essential for planning management strategies. This work studied biological aspects of H. nigriceps. Insects were collected southeast of Mexico City; copulating adults were placed on O. ficus-indica plants for oviposition of females, and the insects were observed to determine incubation time. Emergence of 80 nymphs from field cladodes was recorded, and they were placed individually in plastic cups and fed pieces of cladodes until they completed development. All insects were kept at 25 ± 2°C, 60 ± 10% relative humidity, and photoperiod of 14:10 light:dark hours. The developmental time of H. nigriceps was 305.09 ± 34.46 days; the embryonic phase was longest (268.84 ± 34.46 days). The species had five nymphal instars that lasted 36.25 ± 4.59 days, and adults lived 29.08 ± 11.89 days. Females lived longer than males, with a sex ratio of 1:1. A long incubation period was documented for the first time for the species, and particulars of biology are discussed.
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Vol. 44 • No. 1