The effect on the larval development of Helicoverpa armigera of caffeoylquinic acids and their structural units, caffeic acid and quinic acid, was evaluated. 5-Caffeoylquinic acid (5CQA) (syn. chlorogenic acid) significantly retarded larval development and increased the number of days to pupation at a concentration of 9 mM in an artificial diet, although final pupal weights were not severely affected. Caffeic acid and quinic acid also inhibited larval development although their effect was less marked. In all cases the effect of the compounds was dose-dependent. A mixture containing 5CQA, 3-caffeoylquinic acid (3CQA) and the novel compound, 1-caffeoyl-4-deosyquinic acid (ICdQA), which were extracted from the wild groundnut species, Arachis paraguariensis (Chod et Hassl.) was also evaluated at a concentration equivalent to that found in the plant (9 mM). This mixture was a potent inhibitor of larval development and more potent than 5CQA alone at the same concentration. The potential role of these substances in host plant resistance of groundnuts and their interaction with other components of pest management strategies are discussed.