Rory  McDonnell


pest management
pest ecology
biological invasions
biological control
novel attractants
biorational molluscicides
Rory McDonnell
Assistant Professor
OSU Campus
Department of Crop and Soil Science
127 Crop Science Building,
3050 SW Campus Way,
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States


My program is focused on 1) understanding the ecology of invasive slugs and snails in agriculture, horticulture, urban areas, the natural environment and at the interface of these systems, and 2) developing and implementing novel strategies for the management of these pests. We are currently investigating the potential for using plant extracts as novel biorational molluscicides, assessing the potential for using natural enemies as biological control agents, and identifying novel attractants for use in both trapping, and attract-and-kill strategies. 

Our research is funded by grants from the USDA-APHIS, USDA-NRCS, European Union, Western Region IPM Center, Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Nursery Association, Christmas Tree Promotion Board, Oregon Seed Council, Agricultural Research Foundation and California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Follow us on Twitter @RoryJMcDonnell

Office: Rm 127 Crop Science Building

Research Laboratory: Rm 449 Crop Science Building

I accept graduate students for Crop and Soil Science


Recent publications

Mc Donnell, R.J. (in press) Essential oils and their constituents as novel biorational molluscicides for terrestrial gastropod pests. In: Pesticides Handbook: Essential Oils for Pest Control (Eds. L.M. Nollet, and H.S. Rathore).

Tandingan De Ley, I., Mc Donnell, R.J., Paine, T. and De Ley, P. (in press) Phasmarhabditis: The Slug and Snail Parasitic Nematodes in North America. In: Biocontrol Agents: Entomopathogenic and Slug Parasitic Nematodes (Eds. M. M.M. Abd-Elgawad, T. Hassan Askary, and J. Coupland).

Carnaghi, M., Rae, R., Tandingan De Ley, I., Johnston, E., Kindermann, G., Mc Donnell, R., O’Hanlon, A., Reich, I., Sheahan, J., Williams C., Gormally, M. (2017) Nematode associates and susceptibility of a protected slug Geomalacus maculosus to four biocontrol nematodes. Biocontrol Science and Technology 27: 294-299

Reich, I., Mc Donnell, R., McInerney, C., Callanan, S., and Gormally, M. (2017) EU-protected slug Geomalacus maculosus and the sympatric Lehmannia marginata in commercial forests: What can the mark-recapture method tell us about their population densities? Journal of Molluscan Studies 83: 27-35.

Johnston, E., Kindermann, G., O'Callaghan, J., Burke, D., McLoughlin, C., Horgan, S., Mc Donnell, R., Williams, C. and Gormally, M. (2017) Monitoring the EU protected Geomalacus maculosus (Kerry Slug): what are the factors affecting catch returns in open and forested habitats? Ecological Research 32: 95 – 104.

Holovachov, O., Boström, S., Tandingan De Ley, I., Mc Donnell, R.J., Alvarado, S., Paine, T., and De Ley, P. (2016) Alloionema similis sp. n., a genetically divergent sibling species of A. appendiculatum Schneider, 1859 (Rhabditida: Alloionematidae) from invasive slugs in California, USA. Systematic Parasitology 93: 877-898.

Mc Donnell, R.J., Yoo, J, Patel, K, Rios, L., Hollingsworth, R., Millar, J. and Paine, T. (2016) Can essential oils be used as novel drench treatments for the eggs and juveniles of the pest snail Cornu aspersum in potted plants? Journal of Pest Science 89: 549-555

Mc Donnell, R.J., Santangelo, R., Paine, T. and Hoddle, M. (2016) The feeding behavior of Rumina decollata (Subulinidae: Gastropoda) raises questions about its efficacy as a biological control agent for Cornu aspersum (Helicidae: Gastropoda). Biocontrol Science and Technology 26: 331-336.

Tandingan De Ley, I., Holovachov, O., Mc Donnell, R.J., Bert, W., Paine, T. and De Ley, P. (2016) Description of Phasmarhabditis californica new species and first report of P. papillosa (Nematoda: Rhabditidae) from invasive slugs in the United States. Nematology 18: 175-193.

Reich, I., Gormally, M., Allcock, L., Mc Donnell, R.J., Castillejo, J., Iglesias, J., Quintero, J. and Smith, C. (2015) Protected Lusitanian slug Geomalacus maculosus (Pulmonata: Arionidae): genetic studies reveal close link between Irish and Northern Spanish specimens and long-term allopatric divergence of Iberian population. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 116: 156 – 168.

Tandingan De Ley, I., Mc Donnell, R.J., Lopez, S., Paine, T. and De Ley, P. (2014) First record of Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita (Nematoda: Rhabditidae), a potential biocontrol agent isolated for the first time from invasive slugs in North America. Nematology 16: 1129 – 1138.

Staunton, J.A., Mc Donnell, R.J., Gormally, M.J., Williams, C.D., Henry, T. and Morrison, L. (2014) Assessing metal contamination from construction and demolition (C&D) waste used to infill wetlands: using Deroceras reticulatum (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts 16: 2477 – 2487.

Mc Donnell, R.J., Robinson, D.G., Barr, N., Tandingan DeLey, I., DeLey, P. and Paine, T.D. (2014) First report of the invasive slug Boettgerilla pallens Simroth, 1912 (Boettgerillidae) in the United States. American Malacological Bulletin 32: 209-210

Hynes, T., Mc Donnell, R.J. and Gormally, M.J. (2014) Oviposition, adult longevity and temperature effects on the eggs of Tetanocera elata (Fab.) (Diptera: Sciomyzidae): a potential biocontrol agent for slugs. Journal of Applied Entomology 138: 670-676.

Giordani, I., Hynes, T., Reich, I., Mc Donnell, R.J. and Gormally, M.J. (2014) Tetanocera elata (Diptera: Sciomyzidae) larvae feed on protected slug species Geomalacus maculosus (Gastropoda: Arionidae): first record of predation. Journal of Insect Behavior 27: 652-656.

Staunton, J., Williams, C.D., Mc Donnell, R.J., Fleming, G.T., Henry, T. and Gormally, M.J. (2014) Challenges in assessing ecological impacts of construction and demolition waste on wetlands: A case study. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research 12: 457 – 479.

Hynes, T., Mc Donnell, R.J., Kirsch, A., Dillon, R., O'Hora, R. and Gormally, M.J. (2014) Effect of temperature on the larval stage of Tetanocera elata (Diptera: Sciomyzidae) - potential biological control agent of pestiferous slugs. Biological Control 74: 45-51.

Hynes, T., Giordani, I., Larkin, M., Mc Donnell, R.J. and Gormally, M.J. (2014) Larval feeding behaviour of Tetanocera elata (Diptera: Sciomyzidae): potential biocontrol agent of pestiferous slugs. Biocontrol Science & Technology 24: 1077-1082.

Dillon, R., Hynes, T., Mc Donnell, R.J., Williams, C.D. and Gormally, M.J. (2014) Influence of snail mucus trails and first snail meal on the behaviour of malacophagous sciomyzid larvae. Biological Control 74: 6-12.

Williams, C.D., Hayes, M., Mc Donnell, R.J., Anderson, R., Bleasdale, A. and Gormally, M.J. (2014) Factors affecting wetland ground beetles (Carabidae) assemblages: how important are habitats, conservation designations and management? Insect Conservation and Diversity 7: 206-222.

Mc Donnell, R.J., Paine, T.D., Mulkeen, C.J. and M.J. Gormally (2014) Effects of temperature and prey availability on the malacophagous larval stage of Sepedon spinipes (Scopoli) (Diptera: Sciomyzidae): potential biocontrol for gastropod vectors of parasitic diseases. Biological Control 70: 42-47.

Mc Donnell, R.J., O’Meara, K., Nelson, B., Marnell, F. and Gormally, M.J. (2013) Revised distribution and habitat associations for the protected slug, Geomalacus maculosus (Stylommatophora: Arionidae), in Ireland. Basteria 77: 33-37

Murphy, W.L., Knutson, L.V., Chapman, E.G., Mc Donnell, R.J., Williams, C.D., Foote, B.A and Vala, J.C. (2012) Key aspects of the biology of snail-killing Sciomyzidae flies. Annual Review of Entomology 57: 425 – 447.

Mc Donnell. R.J. and Gormally, M.J. (2011) A live trapping method for the protected European slug, Geomalacus maculosus Allman, 1843 (Arionidae). Journal of Conchology 40: 483-485.

Lindsay, W., Mc Donnell, R.J., Williams, C.D., Knutson, L. and Gormally, M.J. (2011) Biology of the snail-killing fly, Ilione albiseta Scopoli (Diptera: Sciomyzidae). Studia dipterologica 16: 245-307.

Mc Donnell, R.J., Rugman-Jones, P., Backeljau, T., Breugelmans, K., Jordaens, K., Stouthamer, R., Paine, T.D. and Gormally, M.J. (2011) Molecular identification of the exotic slug Arion subfuscus sensu lato (Gastropoda: Pulmonata) in California, with comments on the source location of introduced populations. Biological Invasions 13: 61-66.

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