Skip to Main content

Researcher identifiers

Social networks

Export Publications

Export the displayed publications:
Number of documents


Christophe Lucas


Full CV (PDF in French)

Oct. 2010- CNRS Research Scientist (section 29)
University of Tours, France

2010 FNS Senio researcher
University of Lausanne, Suisse
Behavioral genetics in the ant Solenopsis invicta

2007-09 First assistant
University of Lausanne, Suisse (Supervisor: Laurent Keller)
Social structure and genetic expression in the ant Solenopsis invicta

2003-06 Post-doctoral researcher
University of Toronto, Canada (Supervisor: Marla B. Sokolowski)
Molecular mecanisms of the plasticity of social behaviors in the ant Pheidole pallidula

1998-2002 Doctorat ès sciences
University of Paris-Sud (Directors: Jean-Marc Jallon & Dominique Fresneau)
Chemical and behavioral bases of the recognition system in the ponerine ants (Pachycondyla)


Research keywords

Research fields: Chemical ecology, behavioral ecology, behavioral genetics, adaptation

Keywords: Chemical communication, genetic expression, behavior, polyethism, polyphenism, foraging gene, social conflict, reproduction, insect societies, invasive species.

Biological models: Social insects (termite, ant, wasp), earwig, drosophila, nasonia.


Research projects

My main research projects are to understand complex behaviors of insects and particularly of social insects. How environmental factors are pursued, analyzed and which behavioral responses are influenced? But also, how intra- and interspecific interactions could modify behaviors by changing gene expression? By using tools from chemical ecology and behavioral genetics, my own researches focus on social interactions and their adaptive impacts. So, my studies are based on insect behaviors (recognition, aggressiveness, foraging, parental care, sexual courtship) through the study of chemical communications and gene expression.

Pheidole pallidula hunting

Behaviors and genes expression are under several abiotic and biotic environmental factors which also include social environment. Chemical communication plays an important role in inter-individual interaction in insects and codifies part of the environmental and social information. To unravel communication mechanisms of insects and their evolutions, it is of primary importance to decrypt such chemical information. In more details, I explore questions on behavioral plasticity of insects and in particular in social insects: What are the chemical signals and the genes involved? How environmental factors play a role? What are the consequences of the different reproductives/castes on social organization in insect societies? How such systems are maintained and evolved?

In social insects, the caste system allow the main factor influencing behavioral plasticity is the caste system which is linked to social organization and raised several questions

R. flavipes in woods

Species studied

To answers such questions, I study several insect models like termites, ants, earwigs, wasps (solitary and social) and drosophila. They all presents specificity and possess different advantages for my researches. Social insects like termites and ants are organized in complex societies with several social interactions. Nevertheless, eusociality (true sociality) appeared independently in Isopteran (termites) and Hymenopteran (ants, bees and wasps) which gives to termites unique specificities. Concerning drosophila, it is the most studied insect model and its genome is known since a long time, which allow to dissect in details the genetic pathways of its communication system.

Pheidole pallidula soldiers and workers

Main methods

- Chemical analyze and identification: gas chromatography (GC), mass spectrometry (GC-MS/GC-TQ), thin layer chromatography (TLC), liquid chromatography (HPLC), chemical extraction (SPME, SBSE, SHS, DHS, DMDS)
- Genetic expression: quantitative RT-PCR, in situ, RNA interference
- Experimental behavior: video-tracking, cross-linked reproduction, cross-fostering

Termite biblio



Union Internationale pour l'Etude des Insectes Sociaux - Section Française
GDR d'écologie chimique
Canadian TV news on "foraging behaviour of Pheidole pallidula"

Journal articles24 documents

  • Louis Pailler, Arthur Matte, Alexis Groseiller, Pierre-André Eyer, Fanny Ruhland, et al.. High exploration behavior of termite propagules can enhance invasiveness. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Frontiers Media S.A, 2022, 10, ⟨10.3389/fevo.2022.840105⟩. ⟨hal-03641830⟩
  • Louis Pailler, Samuel Desvignes, Fanny Ruhland, Miguel Pineirua, Christophe Lucas. Vibratory behaviour produces different vibration patterns in presence of reproductives in a subterranean termite species. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2021, 11 (1), ⟨10.1038/s41598-021-88292-7⟩. ⟨hal-03250610⟩
  • Christophe Lucas, Yehuda Ben-Shahar. The foraging gene as a modulator of division of labour in social insects. Journal of Neurogenetics, Taylor & Francis, 2021, pp.1-11. ⟨10.1080/01677063.2021.1940173⟩. ⟨hal-03266302⟩
  • Mathilde Vidal, Florian Königseder, Julia Giehr, Alexandra Schrempf, Christophe Lucas, et al.. Worker ants promote outbreeding by transporting young queens to alien nests. Communications Biology, Nature Publishing Group, 2021, 4 (1), ⟨10.1038/s42003-021-02016-1⟩. ⟨hal-03250609⟩
  • Fanny Ruhland, Marion Moulin, Marina Choppin, Joël Meunier, Christophe Lucas. Reproductives and eggs trigger worker vibration in a subterranean termite. Ecology and Evolution, Wiley Open Access, 2020, 10 (12), pp.5892-5898. ⟨10.1002/ece3.6325⟩. ⟨hal-02982089⟩
  • Lou Brossette, Joël Meunier, Simon Dupont, Anne-Geneviève Bagnères, Christophe Lucas. Unbalanced biparental care during colony foundation in two subterranean termites. Ecology and Evolution, Wiley Open Access, 2019, 9, pp.192 - 200. ⟨10.1002/ece3.4710⟩. ⟨hal-02996395⟩
  • Christophe Lucas, Lou Brossette, Lauriane Lefloch, Simon Dupont, Jean-Philippe Christides, et al.. When predator odour makes groups stronger: effects on behavioural and chemical adaptations in two termite species. Ecological Entomology, Wiley, 2018, 43 (4), pp.513-524. ⟨10.1111/een.12529⟩. ⟨hal-02266508⟩
  • Christophe Lucas, Fanny Ruhland. Les termites s'invitent en région Centre-Val de Loire. Microscoop : Un regard sur les laboratoires en Centre Limousin Poitou-Charentes (CNRS), CNRS, 2018, pp.16-17. ⟨hal-02266571⟩
  • Marta Elia, Giuliano Blancato, Laura Picchi, Christophe Lucas, Anne-Geneviève Bagnères, et al.. Nest signature changes throughout colony cycle and after social parasite invasion in social wasps. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (12), pp.e0190018. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0190018⟩. ⟨hal-02266534⟩
  • L. Brossette, A.-G. Bagnères, A. Millot, S. Blanchard, Samuel Dupont, et al.. Termite’s royal cradle: does colony foundation success differ between two subterranean species?. Insectes Sociaux, Springer Verlag, 2017, 64 (4), pp.515-523. ⟨10.1007/s00040-017-0571-x⟩. ⟨hal-02266527⟩
  • Marlène Chirault, Christophe Lucas, Marlène Goubault, Claude Chevrier, Christophe Bressac, et al.. A Combined Approach to Heat Stress Effect on Male Fertility in Nasonia vitripennis: From the Physiological Consequences on Spermatogenesis to the Reproductive Adjustment of Females Mated with Stressed Males. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2015, 10 (3), pp.e0120656. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0120656⟩. ⟨hal-02146269⟩
  • Janine Wong, Joël Meunier, Christophe Lucas, Mathias Kölliker. Paternal signature in kin recognition cues of a social insect: concealed in juveniles, revealed in adults. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2014, 281 (1793), pp.20141236. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2014.1236⟩. ⟨hal-02266540⟩
  • Éric Darrouzet, Christophe Lucas. Les termites, un monde de castes. Microscoop : Un regard sur les laboratoires en Centre Limousin Poitou-Charentes (CNRS), CNRS, 2011, pp.14-15. ⟨hal-02266572⟩
  • Joël Meunier, Olivier Delémont, Christophe Lucas. Recognition in ants: social origin matters. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2011, 6 (5), pp.e19347. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0019347⟩. ⟨hal-02266543⟩
  • Christophe Lucas, R. Kornfein, M. Chakaborty-Chatterjee, J. Schönfeld, N. Geva, et al.. The locust foraging gene. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology, Wiley, 2010, 74 (1), pp.52-66. ⟨10.1002/arch.20363⟩. ⟨hal-02266545⟩
  • Christophe Lucas, Bryon Hughson, Marla Sokolowski. Job switching in ants: role of a kinase. Communicative and Integrative Biology, Taylor & Francis Open, 2010, 3 (1), pp.6-8. ⟨10.4161/cib.3.1.9723⟩. ⟨hal-02266547⟩
  • Christophe Lucas, Marla B. Sokolowski. Molecular basis for changes in behavioral state in ant social behaviors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, National Academy of Sciences, 2009, 106 (15), pp.6351-6356. ⟨10.1073/pnas.0809463106⟩. ⟨hal-02266551⟩
  • Joshua Krupp, Clement Kent, Jean-Christophe Billeter, Reza Azanchi, Anthony K.-C. So, et al.. Social Experience Modifies Pheromone Expression and Mating Behavior in Male Drosophila melanogaster. Current Biology - CB, Elsevier, 2008, 18 (18), pp.1373-1383. ⟨10.1016/j.cub.2008.07.089⟩. ⟨hal-02266553⟩
  • Aki Ejima, Benjamin P.C. Smith, Christophe Lucas, Wynand van Der Goes van Naters, Carson J. Miller, et al.. Generalization of Courtship Learning in Drosophila Is Mediated by cis-Vaccenyl Acetate. Current Biology - CB, Elsevier, 2007, 17 (7), pp.599-605. ⟨10.1016/j.cub.2007.01.053⟩. ⟨hal-02266555⟩
  • Aki Ejima, Benjamin P.C. Smith, Christophe Lucas, Joel D. Levine, Leslie C. Griffith. Sequential Learning of Pheromonal Cues Modulates Memory Consolidation in Trainer-Specific Associative Courtship Conditioning. Current Biology - CB, Elsevier, 2005, 15 (3), pp.194-206. ⟨10.1016/j.cub.2005.01.035⟩. ⟨hal-02266559⟩
  • Christophe Lucas, D.B. Pho, Jean-Marc Jallon, D. Fresneau. Role of cuticular hydrocarbons in the chemical recognition between ant species in the Pachycondyla villosa species complex. Journal of Insect Physiology, Elsevier, 2005, 51 (10), pp.1148-1157. ⟨10.1016/j.jinsphys.2005.06.003⟩. ⟨hal-02266557⟩
  • Christophe Lucas, Dang B Pho, D. Fresneau, Jean-Marc Jallon. Hydrocarbon circulation and colonial signature in Pachycondyla villosa. Journal of Insect Physiology, Elsevier, 2004, 50 (7), pp.595-607. ⟨10.1016/j.jinsphys.2004.04.006⟩. ⟨hal-02266561⟩
  • V. Soroker, Christophe Lucas, T. Simon, D. Fresneau, J. Durand, et al.. Hydrocarbon distribution and colony odour homogenisation in Pachycondyla apicalis. Insectes Sociaux, Springer Verlag, 2003, 50 (3), pp.212-217. ⟨10.1007/s00040-003-0669-1⟩. ⟨hal-02266562⟩
  • Christophe Lucas, Dominique Fresneau, Kerstin Kolmer, Jürgen Heinze, Jacques H.C. Delabie, et al.. A multidisciplinary approach to discriminating different taxa in the species complex Pachycondyla villosa (Formicidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Linnean Society of London, 2002, 75 (2), pp.249-259. ⟨10.1046/j.1095-8312.2002.00017.x⟩. ⟨hal-02266564⟩

Conference papers1 document

  • Magdalena Kutnik, Ivan Paulmier, David Ansard, Mathilde Montibus, Christophe Lucas. Update on the distribution of termites and other wood-boring insects in Europe. International Research Group on Wood Protection, Jun 2020, Bled, Slovenia. pp.IRG/WP 20-10960. ⟨hal-02798137⟩

Book sections3 documents

  • Sylvie Baudino, Christophe Lucas, Carole Smadja. Les Omiques en écologie chimique. ISTE. Ecologie Chimique, 2017, 978-1-78405-186-0. ⟨hal-02266567⟩
  • Sylvie Baudino, Christophe Lucas, Carole Smadja. Omics in Chemical Ecology. Chemical Ecology, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp.117-137, 2016, 978-1-84821-924-3. ⟨hal-02266566⟩
  • Christophe Lucas, Marie Charpentier. Odeurs en sociétés. Ecologie Chimique - Le Langage de la Nature, 2012, 978-2-7491-2772-9. ⟨hal-02266573⟩

Directions of work or proceedings1 document

  • Magdalena Kutnik, Ivan Paulmier, David Ansard, Mathilde Montibus, Christophe Lucas. Update on the distribution of termites and other wood-boring insects in Europe. International Research Group on Wood Protection, Jun 2020, pp.IRG/WP 20-10960, 2020. ⟨hal-02798175⟩

Reports1 document

  • Carole Smadja, Christophe Lucas, Jean-Claude Caissard. Les Cahiers Prospectives - Prospective Ecologie Chimique: L'écologie chimique et les omiques. [Rapport de recherche] INEE-CNRS. 2012, pp.16-23. ⟨hal-02266576⟩

Habilitation à diriger des recherches1 document

  • Christophe Lucas. Communication chez les insectes : signaux, adaptation, spécialisation. Sciences du Vivant [q-bio]. Université de Tours / Région Centre, CR pays de la Loire, 2019. ⟨tel-02383504⟩