Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2004
Publication Date: 7/31/2004
Citation: Simmons, R.B., Scheffer, S.J., Pogue, M.G. 2004. Systematics of the Copitarsia Incommoda (Walker) pest complex (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 97(4):675-680.
Interpretive Summary: Caterpillars of many species of moths damage plants and are major pests. Caterpillars of the moth genus Copitarsia feed on many commodities that are imported into the U.S. In this paper we have used molecular and morphological data to help differentiate four members of the genus and make them easier to identify. This work will be of importance to insect identifiers, scientists studying these pests, and pest managers.
Technical Abstract: Phylogenetic relationships of four pest species in the noctuid genus Copitarsia were investigated using adult morphology and mitochondrial DNA (COI). Separate analyses of morphological and COI data provide the same topology of relationships. Adult morphology provides useful characters for separating and defining species, but is not informative for examining intraspecific relationships. One species, C. incommoda (Walker), displays high divergence in COI sequences compared with other members of Copitarsia and other insect pest species. The lack of host or geographic races in C. incommoda appears to reflect a recently widespread, highly mobile pest species that is extremely polyphagous. This paper also provides a revised taxonomy and redescription of C. heydenreichii, C. humilis, C. incommoda, and C. naenoides.