European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), displays a larval diapause in response to short photoperiods and is adapted to a variety of local conditions throughout North America. Hence, the effective photoperiod inducing larval diapause will differ among geographic ecotypes. This study considers the inheritance of photoperiodic larval diapause induction by hybridization and backcrossing two latitudinally distinct ecotypes of the European corn borer collected between 41 degrees N, 96 degrees W and 48 degrees N, 96 degrees W and under a range of photoperiods representative of their respective locations: from 14:10 to 16:8 (L:D) h. The ecotype adapted to a bivoltine habitat (southeastern Nebraska) exhibited a shorter critical photoperiod (1480 h) than the ecotype (1533 h), originating from a univoltine habitat (northwestern Minnesota). Reciprocal F(1) crosses exhibited intermediate values with indication of sex-linked inheritance. In addition, the male parent had significantly more influence on diapause incidence of subsequent progeny than the female. The F(2) and backcross progeny further supported the supposition that diapause response is a sex-linked inheritance. The minimum number of genes estimates, and the response from backcross progeny, suggest that diapause response of European corn borer larva may be controlled by only a few loci. The overall results indicated that both ecotypes had adopted unique diapause responses, which ultimately lead to seasonal synchrony in their ecosystems.