Heliothine moths include some of the most destructive insect pests in the world such as the corn earworm, old world budworm, millet head borer, and tobacco budworm. They cause billions of dollars damage each year and have been a major contributor to famine in the Sahel region of Africa. In this paper we have presented a family tree based on molecular data that shows the evolutionary relationship among these moths. Images of adults and male and female genitalia are presented so readers can identify these moths to the genus level. This information will be useful for scientists and pest management experts working in the detection and control of these moths anywhere in the world.
A revision of the world"s 20 genera of Heliothinae is presented with a molecular phylogeny that includes representatives of the most common genera. Two new synonyms are proposed: Rhodoecia Hampson is a new synonym of Pyrrhia Hübner and Pyrocleptria Hampson is a new synonym of Melaporphyria Grote. Generic descriptions, as well as images of representative adults and male and female genitalia, are included. Distributions and larval host information is discussed for each genus.