Spodoptera marima: a New Synonym of Spodoptera ornithogalli (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), with Notes on Adult Morphology, Host Plant Use and Genetic Variation Along Its Geographic Range

  • R Brito
  • A SpechtEmail author
  • G L Gonçalves
  • G R P Moreira
  • E Carneiro
  • F L Santos
  • V F Roque-Specht
  • O H H Mielke
  • M M Casagrande
Systematics, Morphology and Physiology


Spodoptera marima (Schaus, 1904) and Spodoptera ornithogalli (Guenée, 1852) are noctuid moths recognized for their economic importance in the New World. Historically, they have been considered cryptic species, being supposedly differentiated from each other by the absence of sexual dimorphism in S. marima, subtle differences in coloration on the hindwings and scale tufts of the ovipositor and the shape of male valva. The species are allopatric: North and Central America for S. ornithogalli and South America for S. marima. Previous phylogenetic studies using multilocus DNA sequences including a few specimens of S. marima suggested these species merge into a single clade. Here, we performed a comparative analysis to elucidate further their taxonomic status, using specimens of S. marima from various localities in Brazil. These species were recovered in the phylogenetic analysis as consistently mixed with each other in a major well-supported clade within Spodoptera. The existence of a spatial pattern for genetic structure was not clearly supported when two biogeographic regions (Neotropics and Neartic) were taken in separation; however, an individual-level isolation by distance was significant. The morphological characters traditionally used to differentiate the species were also not consistent. Therefore, we now consider S. marima a new junior synonym of S. ornithogalli. Results on host plant use demonstrated that it is a polyphagous species using more than 200 plants, which may mediate phenotypic variation along its geographical range.


Owlet moths yellowstriped armyworm taxonomy Neotropics 



We are especially grateful to all of those involved with field collections of specimens used in this study: Adriano Q. Mesquita, Américo I. Ciociola Júnior, André L. Filipiake, Antônio C.S. Araújo, Balbino A. Evangelista, Brenda M. Moreira, Daniel B. Fragoso, Daniel R. Sosa-Gomez, Denivaldo C. Castro, Dirceu Pratissoli, Elisângela G.F. Morais, Erivaldo A. Santos, Felipe O. Mateus, Harry Ebert, João B.G. Santos Filho, Jorge U. P. Corrêa, José A. Teston, José R. Carvalho, José S. Zanúncio Júnior, Leonardo Mardgan, Maicon Coradini, Marco A.P. Silva, Marcos R.O. Serpa, Murilo Fazolin, Naylor B. Perez, Oriverto Tonon, Paulo R.V.S. Pereira, Rafael M. Pitta, Rinaldo J. Silva Júnior, Rodison N. Sisti, Sandra M.M. Rodrigues, Tiago C. C. Lima, Vander C.M. Claudino, and Wilson Pozenato. We acknowledge Tiago Ferraz for helping with the DNA extraction. We thank Andrew Warren and Paul Z. Goldstein for providing photos and information about the types deposited at MGCL and USNM. We also thank Crisla Maciel for helping with statistical analysis and Lafayette Eaton for editing the text. Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico – CNPq: AS (processo no. 306601/2016-8); MMC (processo 308247/2013-2); OHHM (processo no. 304639/2014-1); for fellowships and research funds (processo no. 403376/2013-0), and Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária - Embrapa (SEG MP2 n° partially funded this study. Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – CAPES (Edital Capes-Embrapa no. 15/2014 - Proposta 92) provided fellowships to RB, EC and FLS. Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Rio Grande do Sul (FAPERGS) together with CNPq via PRONEX project provided a DTI-2 research fellowship to GLG. We are also grateful to ICMBio and MMA for the Authorizations for Scientific Activities (SISBIO no. 48218-3 and 38547/6).

Author Contribution Statement

AS, GRPM, and MMC—conceived and designed the study; AS, EC, FLS, and RB—carried out field collection and laboratory experiments; GLG—performed DNA extraction, sequencing, and molecular analysis; AS, GLG, GRPM, MMC, RB, and VFR-S—wrote the manuscript with input from all authors. AS, EC, FLS, GLG, GRPM, MMC, OHHM, and VFR-S—discussed the results and contributed to the final manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Table S1 (DOCX 71 kb)
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Table S2 (DOCX 14 kb)
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Table S3 (DOCX 20 kb)
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Fig S1 (DOCX 909 kb)


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Copyright information

© Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Depto de ZoologiaUniv Federal do ParanáCuritibaBrasil
  2. 2.Depto de Zoologia, Instituto de BiociênciasUniv Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrasil
  3. 3.Embrapa CerradosPlanaltinaBrasil
  4. 4.Depto de Genética, Instituto de BiociênciasUniv Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrasil
  5. 5.Depto de Recursos Ambientales, Facultad de Ciencias AgronómicasUniv de TarapacáAricaChile
  6. 6.Univ do Estado de Mato Grosso, Campus de Alta FlorestaAlta FlorestaBrasil
  7. 7.Faculdade UnB PlanaltinaUniv de BrasíliaPlanaltinaBrasil

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