Background Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), commonly known as fall armyworm (FAW), is one of the most destructive agricultural pests in the world and has posed a great threat to crops. The improper use of insecticides has led to rapid development of resistance. However, the genetic data available for uncovering the insecticide resistance mechanisms are scarce. Methods In this study, we used PacBio single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing aimed at revealing the full-length transcriptome profiling of the FAW larval brain to obtain detoxification genes. Results A total of 18,642 high-quality transcripts were obtained with an average length of 2,371 bp, and 11,230 of which were successfully annotated in six public databases. Among these, 5,692 alternative splicing events were identified.