Tobacco budworm Heliothis virescens, copyright Diane Brodeur.

Belongs within: Heliothinae.

Heliothis is a genus of moths including several species that are significant pests of agricultural crops. Examples include the tobacco budworm H. virescens, a species found in southern North America that feeds on a wide range of crop and garden plants including, as well as tobacco, such plants as cotton, soybeans, cabbages and melons. The marbled clover H. viriplaca is a Palaearctic species that prefers warm, dry habitats and feeds on pasture plants such as clover (Trifolium, hawksbeard (Crepis) and campion (Silene).

Characters (from Matthews 1999): Membrane of vesica with basal scobinate patch well separated from base of aedeagus, scobinate patch often large, denticles of scobinate patch relatively large.

<==Heliothis Ochsenheimer 1816 (see below for synonymy) M99
    |--H. viriplaca (Hufnagel 1766) [=Phalaena viriplaca; incl. P. dipsacea Linnaeus 1767, *Heliothis dipsacea] M99
    |--‘Melicleptria’ belladonna Edwards 1881 [=*Disocnemis belladonna] M99
    |--H. frivaldszkyii Treitschke 1835 B08
    |--H. hoarei Matthews 1999 M99
    |--H. maritima M99
    |    |--H. m. maritima JP05
    |    `--H. m. bulgarica Draudt 1855 JP05
    |--H. nubigera M99
    |--‘Chloridea’ obsoleta CS77
    |--H. ononis M99
    |--H. peltigera M99
    |--H. phloxiphaga M99
    |--H. punctifera Walker 1857 (see below for synonymy) M99
    |--*Masalia’ radiata Moore 1881 M99
    |--H. roseivena (Walker 1866) [=Leucania roseivena; incl. L. alarioides Butler 1886] M99
    |--H. scutosa F92
    |--‘Nonagria’ senegalensis Guenée 1852 [=*Timora senegalensis] M99
    |--H. subflexa RA96
    |--H. treitschkii Frivaldszky 1835 B08
    |--H. virescens (Fabricius 1777) (see below for synonymy) M99
    `--H. zea PHK96

Heliothis Ochsenheimer 1816 [=Heliothentes Ochsenheimer 1816 (nom. inv.), Heliothisa (l. c.), Heliothris (l. c.), Heliotis Sodoffsky 1837; incl. Aspila Guenée 1852, Chloridea Duncan 1841, Disocnemis Grote 1883, Dysocnemis (l. c.), Masalia Moore 1881, Neocleptria Hampson 1903, Timora Walker 1856] M99

Heliothis punctifera Walker 1857 [=*Neocleptria punctifera; incl. N. punctifera ab. grisescens Warren 1913, N. punctifera ab. griseum Warren 1913, Heliothis leucatma Meyrick 1897] M99

Heliothis virescens (Fabricius 1777) [=Noctua virescens, *Aspila virescens; incl. Phalaena rhexiae Smith 1797, *Chloridea rhexiae] M99

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B08] Bálint, Z. 2008. Lepidoptera collections of historical importance in the Hungarian Natural History Museum. Annales Historico-Naturales Musei Nationalis Hungarici 100: 17–35.

[CS77] Cramp, S., & K. E. L. Simmons (eds) 1977. Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palaearctic vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

[F92] Fan Z. 1992. Key to the Common Flies of China 2nd ed. Science Press: Beijing.

[JP05] Jungmann, E., & U. Poller. 2005. Neunachweise und Wiederfunde für die Schmetterlingsfauna (Insecta; Lepidoptera) des Altenburger Landes. Mauritiana 19 (2): 317–326.

[M99] Matthews, M. 1999. Heliothine Moths of Australia: A guide to bollworms and related noctuid groups. CSIRO Publishing.

[PHK96] Prescott, L. M., J. P. Harley & D. A. Klein. 1996. Microbiology 3rd ed. Wm. C. Brown Publishers: Dubuque (Iowa).

[RA96] Reitz, S. R., & P. H. Adler. 1996. Biology and larval taxonomy of Eucelatoria bryani Sabrosky and E. rubentis (Coquillett) (Diptera: Tachinidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 98 (4): 625–629.

Last updated: 28 December 2021.

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