Telchin licus, the giant sugarcane borer, is an important pest species of sugarcane in northeast Brazil. Four subspecies of Telchin licus are recognized in Brazil based on their geographic distribution and subtle differences in wing colour pattern. Some taxa are morphologically indistinguishable, and their accurate identification is key to their efficient control. Mitochondrial genes sequences (cytochrome oxidase I and subunit 6 of the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase) were applied to delimit taxonomic entities of T. licus, and to infer the origin of a newly established population in the state of São Paulo. The molecular data indicated that specimens sampled at different regions in Brazil are morphologically cryptic but genetically isolated entities, and at least three subspecies were assigned to the sampled localities. These data also suggested that the population collected from the state of São Paulo must have a common origin with populations from northeast Brazil, which corroborate the hypothesis that ornamental plants infested with larvae of T. licus might have been transported from the northeast to the southeast regions.