Temperature can notably affect development rate and intrinsic rate of increase of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella L. The intrinsic rate of increase is usually regarded as a good measure of fitness in insects, and the constant temperature at which the intrinsic rate of increase reaches its maximum is defined as the “optimal” temperature for an insect species to survive. The estimates of optimal temperature for some insects and mites are ≈30°C. However, the Sharpe— Schoolfield—Ikemoto model provides an estimate about the intrinsic optimum temperature at which the probability of an enzyme being in the active state is maximal. The intrinsic optimum temperature is considered to be the most suitable temperature for an insect species to survive. The estimates of intrinsic optimum temperature for some insects and mites are ≈20°C. The optimal temperature and the intrinsic optimum temperature of the diamondback moth were estimated in the current study. The former estimate is 28.4 (95% CI: 26.2–28.8°C), whereas the latter estimate is 19.4°C (95% CI: 17.9– 20.5°C). Considering the daily average air temperatures during the peaks of the diamondback moth in China, the intrinsic optimum temperature of 19.4°C might represent the most suitable temperature for this insect to survive. We also discussed whether it is sounded to use the intrinsic rate of increase as the fitness. Because the intrinsic rate of increase cannot reflect the density-dependence of population and the trade-off between individual body mass and population size, it is inappropriate to equate these two concepts.