Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/28/2007
Publication Date: 12/8/2007
Technical Abstract: Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith; Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) or fall armyworm is an important agricultural pest of a number of crops in the western hemisphere. Two morphologically identical host strains of fall armyworm exist, the rice-strain and corn-strain, with the latter inflicting substantial economic losses in corn in both North and South America. Fall armyworm does not survive severe winters so the infestations affecting North America originate from migrants that overwinter in Florida and Texas. We used molecular methods to distinguish the corn-strain populations in these two geographically distant populations to investigate the long-range movements of this pest. The results demonstrate that it is now possible to identify the overwintering origin of migratory fall armyworm and therefore describe the annual migration patterns. A better understanding of fall armyworm populations and their movement is critical for the development of strategies to predict infestation levels and eventually control this economically important pest in the United States.