Central Australia hosts entomological conference

AZRI social club members ran the bar at Simpsons Gap.

Professional entomologists from across Australia swarmed into Alice Springs from 23-26 September for the Australian Entomological Society 49th AGM and Scientific Conference.

The theme of this year's conference was 'insects as the centre of our world', so it was fitting to have this year's conference held in almost precisely the geographical centre of Australia.

Chaired by the Department of Primary Industry and Resources' (DPIR) own Dr Brian Thistleton and Dr Mary Finlay-Doney, the event was by all accounts a huge success with more than 120 people attending the three-day conference.

The AZRI social club ran the bar for the Sunday evening welcome function at the beautiful Simpson Gap, where a drumming performance by Drum Atweme, a group of local Aboriginal girls, was a highlight amongst attendees.

The conference presentation topics were diverse and included insect behaviour, conservation, diagnostics, cultural and ecological significance of native species, physiology and adaptation biosecurity, and pest management and control.

For DPIR entomologists, the focus of much of their work is studying and identifying pest insects present in Australia that either present a biosecurity threat, or cause crop loss or a reduction in quality in the agricultural sector.

This was reflected in the presentation delivered by DPIR staff, which included:

  • Mary Finlay-Doney – the buzz about stingless bees in the Northern Territory: ecology and pollination potential (apparently stingless bees are quite lazy and don't get up early enough for work – who knew?!)
  • Mary Finlay-Doney – improving our understanding of Australasian Epilachnini (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): taxonomy and distribution (Australasian Epilachnini are commonly known as ladybeetles)
  • Thilini Ekanayake - poster presentation on the effect of male body size, age and premating experience on mating success in the Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni).
  • Brian Thistleton – integrated pest management technology in Northern Territory vegetable crops and extending the technology through demonstration plots
  • Vicki Simlesa – the response to Asian Honey Bee incursions (Apis cerana) in the Northern Territory.

Executive Director Biosecurity and Animal Welfare Sarah Corcoran also delivered the keynote address on Wednesday 26 September, outlining the importance of plant biosecurity for the Territory.

Congratulations to Brian and Mary for their involvement in delivering such a successful conference, and helping showcase Alice Springs to Australia's entomologists.

DPIR was a proud sponsor of the event.

AZRI social club members ran the bar at Simpsons Gap.

Above: AZRI social club members ran the bar at Simpsons Gap.

Last updated: 30 April 2020

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