A method is described for the development of DNA markers for detection of Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in predator gut analysis, based on sequence characterized amplified regions (SCARs) derived from a randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) band. A 1200-bp DNA fragment of H. armigera, absent in the predator band pattern and in other closely related prey species, was identified by RAPD analysis. This fragment was cloned and its extremes sequenced to design extended strand-specific 20-mer oligonucleotide primers. Three pairs of SCAR primers, which amplified three different DNA fragments, were used to study the effect of fragment length on detection of prey in the predator gut. Using the pair of primers that amplified the longest fragment of H. armigera DNA, a single band of 1100 bp was obtained, but its detection was not possible in the predator gut. Detection of the ingested prey was possible with the other two pairs of SCAR primers, obtaining bands of 600 and 254 bp, respectively. Detection of H. armigera DNA in the gut of the predator Dicyphus tamaninii was evaluated immediately after ingestion (t = 0) and after 4 h. Detection of H. armigera DNA after 4 h was only possible using the pair of primers that amplified the shortest fragment (254 bp). The test for specificity, using these last pair of primers, showed that H. armigera was the only species detected. The detection threshold was defined at a 1:8192 dilution of a H. armigera whole egg in all samples.