Heliothine larvae, especially early instars, are difficult to identify, and determinations sometimes rely on indirect information such as origin and host data. The introduction of Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) into the New World has undermined the reliability of host and origin data to identify intercepted Helicoverpa larvae, and suspect Heliothinae/Helicoverpa larvae intercepted at U.S. ports of entry are now screened for H. armigera and Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) using molecular methods. Here, we analyze heliothine larvae intercepted during 2014–2106 to identify nontargets and evaluate morphological characters traditionally used to separate taxa. In total, nine species were identified, with Chloridea virescens (Fabricius) making up the bulk of interception records.The majority of heliothine suspects originate from Mexico and Peru on pigeon pea, chickpea, tomatillo, pea, and corn. Helicoverpa armigera is commonly intercepted from Peru on pea. Chloridea virescens is recorded from every country where interceptions were identified for this study except Guatemala and is found on multiple hosts. Identification issues and specific host/origin associations are discussed in detail.
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Vol. 112 • No. 2