A transgenic line of the pink bollworm, Pectinophora gossypiella, a key lepidopteran cotton pest, was generated previously using the piggyBac transposon IFP2 from Trichoplusia ni. Here we identified an endogenous piggyBac-like element (PLE), designated as PgPLE1, in the pink bollworm. A putatively intact copy of PgPLE1 (PgPLE1.1) presents the canonical features of PLE: inverted terminal repeats with three C/G residues at the extreme ends, inverted subterminal repeats, TTAA target site and an open reading frame encoding transposase with 68% similarity to IFP2. Vectorette PCR revealed large variation in the insertion sites of PgPLE1 amongst worldwide populations, indicating the potential mobility of PgPLE1. The PgPLE1 was undetectable in the genome of Pectinophora endema, implying the recent invasion of PgPLE1 after the divergence of these two closely related species.