Identification and comparison of fall armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) host strains in Brazil, Texas, and Florida.
Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is a major economic pest throughout the Western Hemisphere. Studies of populations in the southern United States and the Caribbean demonstrated the existence of two morphologically identical but genetically distinct host strains. These races can be distinguished by using polymorphisms in the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene that define two distinct maternal lineages that correlate with strain-specific behaviors in Florida populations. Although there is evidence of different biotypes in Brazil, it has not been demonstrated that these biotypes are equivalent to the U.S. strains. Sampling from Brazil indicates that its fall armyworm populations consist of the two strain-specific haplotypes found in Florida and also display the expected biases in plant host distribution. The same genetic markers also were present in samples from Texas, a major source of migrating fall armyworm in North America. These results indicate that the biology and behaviors of Brazilian fall armyworm populations are similar to those found in North America.