Andrew McConnachie

Research interests

  • Biological control
  • Applied Ecology
  • Eco-climatic modelling
  • Insect thermal physiology


Andrew McConnachie is a Senior Research Scientist with the Weed Research Unit (Biosecurity and Food Safety) of the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Andrew joined the WRU in 2014, to head-up weed biocontrol research. His role is to develop weed biocontrol capacity within DPI, foster collaboration (interstate, national and international) and stimulate new research opportunities.

Andrew has worked on both the biocontrol of aquatic (Azolla filiculoides, Eichornia crassipes, Pistia stratiotes, Myriophyllum aquaticaum, Salvinia molesta) and terrestrial weeds (Kalanchoe delagoensis, Sporobolus pyramidalis, Vachelia nilotica, Campuloclinium macrocephalum, Parthenium hysterophorus, Tradescantia fluminensis). His work has involved global collaborations with FuEDEI (Argentina), CABI (UK & Switzerland), MICET (Madagascar), Rhodes University, Pretoria University, University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), LandCare Research (New Zealand) and EIAR (Ethiopia).

Prior to moving to Australia, Andrew worked for the former Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (South African field station) for two years, and thereafter worked as a Senior Research Scientist for the Agricultural Research Council Plant-Protection Research Institute for 10 years. Here, Andrew’s research focussed on native range surveys, host-range testing, impact assessment, modelling, field release and monitoring of beneficial insect biocontrol agents.


  • B.Sc. (Zoology & Botany) – University of the Witwatersrand (1995)
  • B.Sc.Hons (Zoology) – University of the Witwatersrand (1996)
  • H.Dip.Ed. (Biology & Physical Science) - University of the Witwatersrand (1997)
  • PhD (Zoology) – University of the Witwatersrand (2004)

Current projects

  • Biological control of Cylindropuntia spp.
  • Biological control of Leucanthemum vulgare (ox-eye daisy)
  • Biological control of Kalanchoe delagoensis (mother-of-millions)
  • Biological control of Pereskia aculeata (leaf cactus)
  • Biological control of Eragrostis curvula (African lovegrass)

Recent publications

Shabbir, A., McConnachie, A.J. & Adkins, A. 2019. Spread. In Parthenium Weed: Biology, Ecology and Management. (Eds S Adkins, A Shabbir and K Dhileepan) pp. 40-56. CABI Publishing, Oxforshire, UK.

Strathie, L.W. & McConnachie, A.J. 2019. History and Management – Southern Africa and Western Indian Ocean Islands. In Parthenium Weed: Biology, Ecology and Management. (Eds S Adkins, A Shabbir and K Dhileepan) pp. 264-286. CABI Publishing, Oxforshire, UK.

McConnachie, A.J. & Witt, A. 2019. History and Management – East and North Africa, and the Middle East. In Parthenium Weed: Biology, Ecology and Management. (Eds S Adkins, A Shabbir and K Dhileepan) pp. 287-302. CABI Publishing, Oxforshire, UK.

Mersie, W., Alemayehu, L. , Strathie, L., McConnachie, A.J., Terefe, S., Negeri, M. & Zwedie, K. 2018.  Host range evaluation of the leaf-feeding beetle, Zygogrammabicolorata and the stem-boring weevil, Listronotus setosipennis demonstrates their suitability for biological control of the invasive weed, Parthenium hysterophorus in Ethiopia, Biocontrol Science and Technology.

Ramanand, H., McConnachie, A.J. & Olckers, T. 2017.  Thermal tolerance of Liothrips tractabilis, a biological control agent of Campuloclinium macrocephalum recently established in South Africa.  Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 164: 234-242.

Ramanand H., Olckers T. & McConnachie A.J. (2016). Response of the invasive pompom weed, Campuloclinium macrocephalum(Asteraceae), to feeding by the foliage-deforming thrips Liothrips tractabilis (Phlaeothripidae) under outdoor conditions in South Africa. Biocontrol Science and Technology 26(12): 1643-1651.

Terblanche C, Nänni I, Kaplan H, Strathie LW, McConnachie AJ, Goodall J (2016). An approach to the development of a national strategy for controlling invasive alien plant species: The case of Parthenium hysterophorus in South Africa. Bothalia 46(1): 11 pages.

McConnachie, A.J., Peach, E., Turner P.J., Stutz, S., Schaffner, U. & Simmons, A.  (2015). The invasive weed ox-eye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. (Asteraceae): Prospects for its management in New South Wales. Plant Protection Quarterly 30(3): 103-109.

McConnachie, A.J. & Mckay, F.  (2015). Host range and impact of the flower-feeding moth, Cochylis campuloclinium - a biological control agent for Campuloclinium macrocephalum, in South Africa. Biocontrol Science and Technology 26(2): 263-273.

McConnachie, A.J. & Mckay, F.  (2015). Host range and impact of the stem- and leaf-deforming thrips, Liothrips tractabilis - a biological control agent for Campuloclinium macrocephalum, in South Africa. Biocontrol 60(5):703–713.

Mainali, K.P., Warren, D.L., Dileepan, K., McConnachie, A.J., Strathie, L., Hassan, G., Karki, D., Shrestha B.B., Parmesan, C. (2015). Projecting future expansion of invasive species: comparing and improving methodologies for species distribution modelling. Global Change Biology 21(12): 4464–4480.

McConnachie, A.J. (2015). Host range tests cast doubt on the suitability of Epiblema strenuana as a biological control agent for Parthenium hysterophorus in Africa. BioControl 60: 715–723.

McConnachie, A.J. (2015). Host range and risk assessment of Zygogramma bicolorata, a defoliating agent released in South Africa for the biological control of Parthenium hysterophorusBiocontrol Science and Technology 25(9): 975–991.

Gitonga L., Cron G.V., McConnachie A.J. & Byrne M.J. (2015). Genetic variation of the invasive Campuloclinium macrocephalum, Asteraceae in South Africa, inferred from molecular markers. Weed Research 55(1): 51–61.

Wabuyele, E. Lusweti, A., Bisikwa, J., Kyenune, G., Clark, K, Lotter, W.D., McConnachie, A.J. & Mersie W.A.  (2014). Roadside Survey of the Invasive Weed Parthenium hysterophorus (Asteraceae)in East Africa. Journal of East African Natural History 103(1):49-57.

Google Scholar Citations

ORCID identifier: 0000-0002-2947-4408

Fields of research

  • 050103 Invasive Species Ecology
  • 050101 Ecosystem Function
  • 050206 Environmental monitoring
  • 050209 Natural resource management
  • 060203 Ecological Physiology
  • 060207 Population Ecology

Australian Bureau of Statistics classifications

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Weeds
  • Biocontrol
  • Biological control
  • Climatic modelling
  • Insect thermal physiology

Contact details