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phone: +32 (0)2 650 30 37

e-mail: Serge.Aron@ulb.be

Research interests

Our research interests are three-fold. First, we explore population genetics and the evolution of reproductive strategies in social insects, using ants as our main model. We characterise genotypic differences, population and colony genetic structure, and dispersal strategies. Using behavioural and chemical approaches, we examine nestmate recognition and mate choice. Additionally, a large part of our research is devoted to the study of the interplay between cooperation and conflict in societies. Second, we study sperm biology: sperm production, sperm quality, sperm DNA integrity, sperm DNA content, sperm competition, sperm aging… in ants, hornets and bumble bees. Third, we explore the molecular adaptations to heat stress, especially in desert ants. These research works rely on behavioural and molecular approaches and exploit tools such as microsatellite genotyping, nuclear and mtDNA sequencing, gas chromatography, flow cytometry, transcriptomics, and proteomics.


Passera L., Aron S. 2005. Les Fourmis. Comportement, Organisation Sociale, Evolution. Presses scientifiques du Conseil National de Recherches du Canada, Université de Western Ontario. ISBN 0-660-97021-X. 441 pp.

Aron S., Passera L. 2000. Les Sociétés Animales. Evolution de la Coopération et Organisation Sociale. Bruxelles: Editions De Boeck Université. ISBN 2-8041-3442-3. pp. 336.

Recent publications (past 5 years)

Pdf available on request at Serge.Aron@ulb.be

Dacquin P, Grégoire J-C, Aron S (2023) Pre-emergence mating, inbreeding and their consequences in the bark beetle Ips typographus. Journal of Pest Science.

Eyer P-A, Guery P-A, Aron S (2023) Genetic diversity, paternal origin and pathogen resistance in Cataglyphis desert ants. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

Degueldre F, Aron S (2023) Age-related changes in male ant sperm quality. Journal of Zoology.

Degueldre F, Aron S (2023) Sperm competition increases sperm production and quality in Cataglyphis desert ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 290: 20230216.

Degueldre F, Aron S (2023) Long-term sperm storage in eusocial Hymenoptera. Biological Reviews 98: 567-583.

Perez R, Aron S (2023) Protective role of trehalose in the Namib desert ant Ocymyrmex robustior. Journal of Experimental Biology, 226: jeb245149.

Perez R, Benbachir M, Decroo C, Mascolo C, Wattiez R, Aron S (2023) Cataglyphis desert ants use distinct behavioral and physiological adaptations to cope with extreme thermal conditions. Journal of Thermal Biology 111: 103397.

Darras H, De Souza Araujo N, Baudry L, Guiglielmoni N, Lorite P, Marbouty M, Rodriguez F, Arkhipova I, Koszul R, Flot J-F, Aron S (2022) Chromosome-level genome assembly and annotation of two lineages of the ant Cataglyphis hispanica: stepping stones towards genomic studies of hybridogenesis and thermal adaptation in desert ants. Peer Community Journal 2: e40.

Lecocq de Pletincx N, Aron S (2022) Sociogenetic structure, reproductive strategies and queen replacement in the erratic ant (Tapinoma erraticum). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 136: 354-363.

Renard T, Gueydan C, Aron S (2022) DNA methylation and expression of the egfr gene are associated with worker size in monomorphic ants. Scientific Reports 12: 21228.

Aron S, Wehner R (2021) Cataglyphis. In: Starr, C.K. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Social Insects. Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Degueldre F, Mardulyn P, Kuhn A, Pinel A, Karaman C, Lebas C, Schifani E, Bračko G, Wagner HC, Kiran K, Borowiec L, Passera L, Abril S, Espadaler X, Aron S (2021) Evolutionary history of inquiline social parasitism in Plagiolepis ants. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 155: 107016

Fournier D, Aron S (2021) Hybridization and invasiveness in social insects — The good, the bad and the hybrid. Current Opinion in Insect Science 46: 1-9.

Kuhn A, Aron S, Hardy O (2021) Detection of cryptic sex in automictic populations: theoretical expectations and a case study in Cataglyphis desert ants. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9: art. 741959.

Lecocq de Pletincx N, Dellicour S, Aron S (2021) The evolution of ant worker polymorphism correlates with multiple social traits. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 75: 113.

Perez R, de Souza Araujo N, Defrance M, Aron S (2021) Molecular adaptations to heat stress in the thermophilic ant genus Cataglyphis. Molecular Ecology 30: 5503-5516.

Aron S, Deneubourg J-L (2020) Colony co‐founding in ants is an active process by queens. Scientific Reports 10: 13539.

Kuhn A, Darras H, Paknia O, Aron S (2020) Repeated evolution of queen parthenogenesis and social hybridogenesis in Cataglyphis desert ants. Molecular Ecology 29: 549-564.

Lecocq de Pletincx N, Aron S (2020) Sociogenetic organization of the red honey ant (Melophorus bagoti). Insects 11: 755.

Perez R, Aron S (2020) Adaptations to thermal stress in social insects: recent advances and future directions. Biological Reviews 95: 1535-1553.

Chérasse S, Dacquin P, Aron S (2019) Mating triggers an up‐regulation of vitellogenin and defensin in ant queens. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 205: 745-753

Darras H, Kuhn A, Aron S (2019) Evolution of hybridogenetic lineages in Spanish Cataglyphis ants. Molecular Ecology 28: 3073-3088.

Lecocq de Pletincx N, Kuhn A, Aron S (2019) Population structure and sociogenetic organisation in a species with ergatoid queens, the desert ant Ocymyrmex robustior. Insectes Sociaux 66: 389-401.

Reiner Brodetzki T, Inbar S, Cohen P, Aron S, Privman E, Hefetz A (2019) The interplay between incipient species and social polymorphism in the desert ant Cataglyphis. Scientific Reports 9: 9495.

Chérasse S, Aron S (2018) Impact of immune activation on stored sperm viability in ant queens. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 285: 20182248.

Dávila F, Botteaux A, Bauman D, Chérasse S, Aron S (2018) Antibacterial activity of male and female sperm-storage organs in ants. Journal of Experimental Biology 221: jeb175158.

Kuhn A, Darras H, Aron S (2018) Phenotypic plasticity in an ant with strong caste genotype association. Biology Letters 14: 20170705.

Willot Q, Mardulyn P, Defrance M, Gueydan C, Aron S (2018) Molecular chaperoning helps safeguarding mitochondrial integrity and motor functions in the Sahara silver ant Cataglyphis bombycina. Scientific Reports 8: 9220.



Postdoctoral researchers



PhD students




Thibaut RENARD

Previous Msc and PhD students

PhD Theses

Nathan Lecocq de Pletincx  –  Remy Perez  –  Alexandre Kuhn  –  Sarah Chérasse  –  Juan Francisco Garcia Davilà  –  Quentin Willot  –  Hugo Darras   –  Pierre-André Eyer  –  Nicolas Thurin  –  Iris Timmermans  –  Géraldine Kapfer  –  Morgan Pearcy  –  Ludivine de Menten  –  Denis Fournier

Master Theses

Morgane Boseret  –  Matheus Torres Marinho Bezerril Fontenelle  –  Gabriel Mordret  –  Camille Michielsens  –  Thibaud Parfait  –  Camille Vande Walle  –  Rose Michea  –  William Lowry  –  Mohamed Benbachir  –  Johanne Timmermans  –  Emilio Caïti  –  Thibaud Renard  –  Valentine Léonard  –  Tamara Ben Ismail  –  Rémy Perez  –  Nathan Lecocq  –  Pauline Dacquin  –  Félicien Degueldre  –  Charlotte Von Croy  –  Amélie Pinel  –  Margaux Bordes  –  Maïssam Benayed  –  Noémie Bleser  –  Noémie Delescaille  –  Pierre-Antoine Guéry  –  Alexandre Kuhn  –  Claire Baudoux  –  Vincent Piou  –  Florence Tourneur  –  Julien Freyer  –  Juan Francisco Davila Garcès  –  Simon Fraylich  –  Hugo Darras  –  Pierre-André Eyer  –  Sophie de Laet  –  Morgane Vandervelden  –  Nina Devaux  –  Marie Decnink  –  Raphaël Guimbretière  –  Nicolas Sery  –  Vincent Lecat  –  Mathieu Monette  –  Nathalie Steinhauer  –  Nicolas Thurin  –  Martin Spanoghe  –  Maude Quinzin  –  Géraldine Bataille  –  Arnaud Lansmann  –  Iris Timmermans  –  Elise Dubuisson  –  Damien Dubois  –  Cathy Ragoen  –  Thibaut Rigot  –  Denis Fournier  –  Philippe van den Hove  –  Pierre Beaupère  –  Ludivine de Menten  –  Vincent Gérard  –  Gaël Barbier  –  Océane Ferreira  –  Hisham Shaikh  –  Emeline Soutif  –  Flora Farruggia  –  Camille Roquet  –  Anne Florin  –  Clémence Douet  –  Dimitri Lemarinel  –  Pierre-André Eyer  –  Camille Le Noëne  –  Amaury Avril  –  Bertrand Fouks  –  Nicolas Thurin  –  Pascal Bouissou  –  Eric Campan  –  Patricia Vidalenc  –  Didier Bach

Teaching - Courses given on a regular basis

Animal Behaviour - Master I Biology of Organisms & Ecology

Proximate and ultimate causes of animal behaviour - Genetics of behaviour - Learning - Behavioral endocrinology - Neuroethology - Behavioural ecology (feeding, optimal foraging, defence et anti-predation) - Sexual selection and mating systems - Evolution of communication - Evolution of cooperation and social conflicts - Domestication: origin, evolution, genetic consequences and behavioural modifications

Webmaster  -  Copyright ebe
  1. Serge Aron Group     Evolution and social organisation

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