Des Conlong

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Des Conlong

Senior Entomologist
(Crop Biology Resource Centre)

Professor Extraordinary, Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University.
Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, UKZN
BSc (Hons); MSc, PhD (University of KwaZulu-Natal)
Des.Conlong@sugar.org.za

Role To develop area wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) systems for crop pests (arthropods and weeds), based on holistic agro-ecosystem and biodiversity dynamics which take into account the tri-trophic relationships of the plants, pests and natural enemies in the affected agro-ecosystems. More specifically to concentrate on conservation biocontrol and habitat management principles which take into account the behaviour, ecology and life cycles of the animals and plants being investigated. In addition, to investigate novel technologies such as sterile insect technology, plant and arthropod endophytes and semiochemical interactions, and integrate these into crop AW-IPM plans.

To develop capacity in the above fields through supervision and mentorship of post graduate students and post doctoral research fellows, and collaboration with local and international research institutes and Universities.
Expertise NRF rated researcher

Insect rearing: hosts, natural enemies, weed biocontrol agents

Insectary and insect rearing management.

Classical, conservation and augmentation biological control of arthropod pests, using predators, parasitoids and pathogens.

Classical biological control of weeds.

Local and foreign natural enemy exploration.

Habitat management for increased natural enemy foraging in agro-ecosystems.

Sterile Insect Technology

Endophytes and arthropods

Tritrophic interactions, and the chemical ecology link between these.

Linking of above disciplines into workable Area Wide Integrated Pest

Management, where sugarcane is regarded as a grassland component of a larger ecosystem, and not the only component.

Mentorship of post graduate and post doctoral researchers in above fields.
Key Outcomes

Effective rearing of insects in a custom built Insectary for arthropod and weed biocontrol ventures.

Identification of indigenous grasses and sedges for use in a habitat management approach to control Eldana saccharina, which reduces the insects impact on sugarcane, and increases the biodiversity of the sugarcane agro-ecosystem.

Discovery of indigenous parasitoids, predators and pathogens of sugarcane pests throughout Africa, and the existence of different biotypes of the same species of insect within their home ranges. This determined by different parasitoid complexes, host plants, and feeding behaviours in the different regions of occurrence,  and confirmed with clear genetic differences between the populations using molecular techniques.

The supervision of seven MSc and three PhD graduates in the above fields.

Key
Publications

HORTON, P.M., HEARNE, J.W., APALOO, J., CONLONG, D.E., WAY, M.J., AND UYS, P., 2002. Investigating strategies for minimizing damage caused by the sugarcane pest Eldana saccharina. Agricultural Systems 74: 271-286.

RUTHERFORD, R.S., VAN ANTWERPEN, T., CONLONG, D.E., KEEPING, M.G., MCFARLANE, S.A. AND VOGEL, J.L., 2002. Promoting plant health: Potential for the use of  plant-associated micro-organisms in the biological control of pathogens and pests in sugarcane. Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 76: 289-300.

CONLONG, D.E. AND MUGALULA, A., 2003. Idaecamenta eugeniae (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae): A new species of white grub in Ugandan sugarcane. Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 77:  250-255.

KASL. B., CONLONG, D.E. AND BYRNE, M.J. 2003. Creating semiochemical diversions to control sugarcane borers. Biocontrol News and Information 24(2). http://www.icmfocus.com/inbrief.asp?Section=Display&NewsID=38

MAZODZE, R. AND CONLONG, D.E., 2003. Eldana saccharina (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in sugarcane (Saccharum hybrids), sedge (Cyperus digitatus) and bulrush (Typha latifolia) in south-eastern Zimbabwe. Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 77:  256-274.

MUIR, D. AND CONLONG, D.E., 2003. Release of Pareuchaetes insulata (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae) against Chromolaena odorata in KwaZulu-Natal. Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 77:  205-209

CONLONG, D.E., SWEET P.  AND PIWALO, J., 2004. Resistance of southern African varieties of sugarcane to Chilo sacchariphagus (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) in Mozambique, and development of a non -destructive field resistance rating system. Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 78: 297-306.

CONLONG D.E AND GOEBEL, F.R. 2006. Trichogramma bournieri Pintureau and Babault (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) and Chilo sacchariphagus Bojer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) in sugarcane in Mozambique- A new association. Annales de la Société entomologique de France. 42: 417-422.

ASSEFA, Y., CONLONG, D.E. AND MITCHELL, A., 2006. Differences in mitochondrial DNA and Fertility of crosses between populations of Eldana saccharina (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) from Kenya and South Africa: Possible evidence of cryptic species? Sugar Cane International 24(5): 16-20.

ASSEFA Y., CONLONG, D.E AND MITCHELL, A. 2006. Status of Eldana saccharina Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), its host plants and natural enemies in Ethiopia. Bulletin of Entomological Research. 96: 497-504.

ASSEFA, Y., MITCHELL, A. AND CONLONG, D.E. 2006  Phylogeography of Eldana saccharina Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Annales de la Société entomologique de France. 42: 331-337.

BARKER, A., CONLONG, D.E. AND BYRNE, M., 2006. Habitat management using Melinis minutiflora (Poaceae) to decrease the infestation of sugarcane by Eldana saccharina (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 80: 226-235.

DITTRICH, G., MITCHELL, A. AND CONLONG, D.E. 2006. Genetic Diversity of Sturmiopsis parasitica Curran (Diptera: Tachinidae). Annales de la Société entomologique de France. 42: 325-329.

DITTRICH, G., CONLONG, D.E. AND MITCHELL, A., 2006. Molecular identification of South African sugarcane white grubs (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 80: 264-268.

SMITH, J.M., CONLONG, D.E., BYRNE, M. AND FREROT, B., 2006. Response of Goniozus indicus (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae) to sugarcane and Cyperus papyrus volatiles (Short communication). Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 80: 250-255.

WEBSTER, T. M., MAHER, G. H. AND CONLONG, D. E. (2006). An integrated pest management system for Eldana saccharina in the Midlands North region of KwaZulu-Natal. Sugar Cane International 24 (4): 24-30.

KEEPING, M.G., RUTHERFORD, R.S. AND CONLONG, D.E. (2007). Bt maize as a potential trap crop for Eldana saccharina Walker (Lep., Pyralidae) in sugarcane. Journal of Applied Entomology 131: 241-250.

CONLONG, D.E., KASL, B. AND BYRNE, M. (2007). Independent kids or motherly moms? Implications for integrated pest management of Eldana saccharina Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Proceedings of the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists 26: 787-796.

ASSEFA, Y., MITCHELL, A., CONLONG, D.E. AND MOYAL, P. (2007). DNA identification of Busseola (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) larvae in Ethiopian sugarcane. African Entomology 15 (2): 375-379.

ASSEFA, Y., MITCHELL, A., CONLONG, D.E. AND MUIRHEAD, K.A. (2008). Establishment of Cotesia flavipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) in sugarcane fields of Ethiopia and origin of founding population. Journal of Economic Entomology 101 (3): 686-691.

ASSEFA, Y., VAN DEN BERG, J. AND CONLONG, D. (2008). Farmers perceptions of sugarcane stem borers and farm management practices in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. International Journal of Pest Management 54 (3): 219-226.

ASSEFA, Y., CONLONG, D.E., VAN DEN BERG, J. AND LE RÜ (2008). The wider distribution of Eldana saccharina (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in South Africa and its potential risk to maize production. Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 81: 290-297.

WALTON, A.J. AND CONLONG, D.E. (2008). Use of oil soluble dyes to mark adult Eldana saccharina (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 81: 298-309.

BOOK CHAPTERS
OVERHOLT, W.A., CONLONG, D.E., KFIR, R., SCHULTHESS, F. AND SETAMOU, M. 2003. Biological control of gramineous lepidopteran stemborers in sub-Saharan Africa. In NEUENSCHWANDER, P., BORGEMEISTER, C. AND LANGEWALD, J. (Eds). Biological Control in IPM Systems in Africa. CABI Publishing, CAB International. Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8DE. UK. ISBN 0 85199 639 6.

CHARLESTON, D.S., KFIR, R, VAN RENSBURG, N.J, BARNES, B.N., HATTINGH, V., CONLONG, D.E., VISSER, D, AND PRINSLOO, G.J., 2003. Integrated Pest Management in South Africa. Chapter 15 (pp 169-196).  In MAREDIA, K.M., DAKOUO, D. AND MOTA-SANCHEZ, D. (Eds.). Integrated Pest Management in the Global Arena. CABI Publishing, CAB International. Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8DE. UK. ISBN 0 85199 652 3.

CARDWELL, K.F., CONLONG, D.E., GOEBEL, R., KFIR, R., KHAN, Z.R., OVERHOLT, W.A. AND SETAMOU, M. 2004. Gramineous Lepidopteran Stem Borers in Africa. In.  J.L. CAPINERA (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Entomology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. ISBN 0-7923-8670-1.

CONLONG, D.E. AND RUTHERFORD, S.R. 2008. Conventional and New Biological and Habitat Interventions for Integrated Pest Management Systems: Review and Case Studies using Eldana saccharina Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). In Peshin, R and Dhawan, A.K. (Eds). Integrated Pest Management: Innovation-Development Process, Vol.1. Ch. 10. Springer, Dordrecht, the Netherlands. (In Press).