The cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner, 1808) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), was recently introduced in Brazil. During the 2012-2013 harvest, producers reported reduced yields up to 35% on major crops. The economic losses reached US$ 1 billion only in western Bahia, triggering a phytosanitary crisis. The deficiencies in existing taxonomic keys to deal with the morphologically indistinct larvae of H. armigera and the native H. zea (Boddie, 1850), constrained the detection of new incursions of this heliothine invader. This study will explore the identity of heliothine larvae and adults that are found infesting the main growing areas from several Brazilian states, through sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear genes. This study will also map the genetic diversity and population structure of H. armigera in Brazil.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: