Bethelihem Mekonnen Bekele (Ethiopia)

Bethelihem Mekonnen Bekele

Research project:  Identification of chemical cues Ocephella longonoda Trail pheromone which are repellant to fruit flies

Bethelihem is ARRPIS PhD fellow supervised by Dr Emillie Deletre, Prof. Baldwyn Torto, Dr. Sunday Ekesi and Dr. Thibaud Martin (icipe). Her research work focuses on the identification of chemical cues of an ant (Ocephella longonoda) which are repellant to fruit flies. Fruit flies in the family Tephritidae are now a major treat to horticulture production   in Africa. These species are highly polyphagous which attack many fruits and vegetables. Ants in addition to their predator behavior on different herbivores they also release trail pheromone which affect the behavior of the flies. Understanding their chemical ecology as it relates to evolution, host selection, reproduction, adult behavior, can be used as an important tool to control and suppress the economic impact of the flies. identifying O. longinoda repellent semiochemcals will thus be the main purpose of this study. The chemicals will also be used in the field to increase the repulsion in orchards and stimulate the predation behavior, using diffusers.