Telenomus remus Nixon is a platygastrid egg parasite of the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), with a history of use as an augmentative biological control agent in Central and South America. Efforts were made in 1975–1977 and again in 1988–1989 to introduce T. remus into the fall armyworm overwintering regions of southern Florida to mitigate infestations by this migratory pest, but in neither case was evidence of long-term establishment found. However, in 2009 and again in 2013, an unidentified Telenomus species was found attacking fall armyworm sentinel egg masses placed on corn plants or pasture grasses in the north-central Florida counties of Levy and Alachua. Taxonomic uncertainties have so far not allowed a conclusive identification of species by morphological keys. DNA barcode comparisons showed a single Florida haplotype in all collections that was identical to that found in a T. remus colony from Ecuador and very similar to a T. remus colony from Honduras. The T. remus barcode sequences were phylogenetically distinct from a second Telenomus species from Ecuador, T. rowani, and from other related sequences obtained from the NCBI GenBank database. This represents the first observation of a permanent Telenomus population in the United States that targets fall armyworm and provides genetic evidence for its identification as T. remus. These findings have positive implications for the use of augmentative biological control methods to mitigate fall armyworm migration from Florida.
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