Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), infestations in most of North America arise from annual migrations of populations that overwinter in southern Texas and Florida. Cytochrome oxidase I haplotype profiles within the fall armyworm corn strain, the subgroup that preferentially infests corn (Zea mays L.), can differentiate the Texas and Florida populations. We use this molecular metric to show that fall armyworms in central Pennsylvania originate from Texas, indicating the existence of a migratory pathway from Texas to the northeastern United States. These results were compared with historical trapping data for fall armyworm and another migratory noctuid, corn earworm Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), in the Pennsylvania and Maryland corn-producing areas to better define lepidopteran migratory pathways.
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