A pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN) hormone that controls sex pheromone production in female moths was identified from the brain-subesophageal ganglion complexes of the adult corn earworm, Heliothis zea. PBAN has 33 amino acid residues and a molecular weight of 3900. Its amino acid sequence has no significant homology with any of the fully characterized peptide hormones. The synthetic peptide, at a dose of between 2 and 4 picomoles, induced production of a normal quantity of sex pheromone in ligated H. zea females. The peptide also induced pheromone production in six other species of moths, thus indicating that this or similar peptides may be responsible for the regulation of pheromone production in moths.