Fall armyworm,Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is a major economic pest throughout the Western Hemisphere. Populations can be subdivided into two morphologically identical but genetically distinct strains (corn-strain and rice-strain) that differ in their host plant preferences. These strains can be distinguished by using polymorphisms in the mitochondrialcytochrome oxidase I gene. Additional sequence analysis of this locus identified two sites that were highly polymorphic in the corn-strain population and that produced four different haplotype subgroups. Comparisons of the frequency distribution of these haplotypes found no seasonal or plant host specificities, but they did demonstrate that the Brazil corn-strain population is different from corn-strain fall armyworm found in Florida. The development of a rapid means of distinguishing fall armyworm populations originating from Brazil versus Florida provides an opportunity for investigating and comparing the genetic complexity and long-range movements of this important agricultural pest.
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Vol. 100 • No. 3