Ecology of Multitrophic Interactions &  Biomimetism

The group is working currently on very diverse organisms, including not only insect species but also other organisms, like plants and spiders with which they interact closely. In most cases, our research is motivated, at least in part, by our curiosity and our interest in natural history of organisms. This page reflects this interest.

Wolf spider (Pardosa sp)

Wood cricket (Nemobius sylvestris)

A windblown hair cricket ...

If one walks in the woods around Tours in spring and summer, one sees plenty of wood crickets and wolf spiders. They both live in the leaf litter. Spiders exert a huge selection pressure on its prey. Crickets show exceptional abilities in escaping to predator attacks through the use of air-flow sensing hairs.

The (complete) story of an intimate relationship...

The apple leafminer is developing within leaf tissues inside a mine. This species has been studied for a while in our group and we have now an understanding of different facets of its ecology: population ecology (density dependence effects and parasitism), sensory ecology (vibratory signals involved in the prey - predator interaction), thermal ecology (and the implications of climate change impacts), feeding ecology (biochemical interaction with the host plant, with the recent discovery of a third partnership with wolbachia). For these reasons, this species is historically our pet species.


Now you see me, and now you don’t...

Among the organisms we study, the spider crab is probably the ‘sexiest’: both its crab-like posture, while waiting for a prey to come visit a flower, and its changing body coloration (yellow, white and sometimes purple!) make it especially attractive to naturalists. It became even more attractive when we began to learn about its visual ecology and pigment biochemistry!

This wood cricket also allows us to establish a bridge between century old natural history and futuristic bionics.

Thomisus onustus

Misumena vatia

Eupelmus vuiletti on the scene

Some do not make waves, others do...

Whirligig beetles are amazing creatures and strong contenders for the first ‘sexiest’ place. They are living at the air-water interface, looking for preys. Being at the interface of two so different fluids requires very specific adaptations, but it might also open up new possibilities in terms of strategies to find food or mates. This species is thought to use echolocation, by making waves at the water surface, to do so. Let’s hear what these beetles really tell us...

Spotted tentiform leafminer (Phyllonorycter blancardella)

JP. Kopelke

J. Freise

An invader betrayed by its unattractive


The leafminer Cameraria ohridella is a micro-lepidopteran. While the moth is quite beautiful, it is still the most hated organism in our group, as it is currently expanding pretty fast its European distribution. Take a look at the chestnut trees from June-July onwards. By mid-summer, all leaves of every chestnut tree are almost entirely mined and fall as early as August. It is so handy to have so many herbivores and so few parasitoids in front of our institute, we could not help ourselves but add it to our collection.

Cameraria ohridella, the larva

Our philosophy is naturally & historically based on our ‘Love for Insects’

The EducInsecte project

Created and led by Wilfried Kaiser, Jonathan Voise and Jérémy Defrize.

The EducInsect project is to inform people of what kind of work is being conducted in our lab. It does so in a simple and educational way. The background objective is to teach people stories about the fascinating world of insects.

The project consists in preparing entomological boxes containing photos of the insect in its natural environment, information on its ecology and behaviour and the true insect, dried and pinned on. Both insects studied in our lab and insects you can find in our region are exposed. The project is exposed during the open-days of the university, when everyone can visit. Another targeted group are secondary schools.

How to manage its diet on a daily basis...

The hymenopteran parasitoid Eupelmus vuilletti is our Star: it figures on the cover of leading magazines (Ecology), it performs as well as a top-model despite the size of its brain, and it also shows up very strict rules when talking about diet! We have now an amazingly comprehensive (but still plenty to do) understanding of its nutritional ecology, an advance we tap into for asking those kind of questions no one else can!

J. Voise

Gyrinus substriatus at rest

Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de l'Insecte

UMR 7261 Faculté des Sciences et Techniques

Avenue Monge, Parc Grandmont  

37200 TOURS (France)

Keywords :

Integrative biology

Organismal biology

Functional ecology

Quantitative ecology

Population dynamics

Community dynamics

Climate change biology

Nature inspired technology


Biological invasions

Arthropod biology

Multitrophic interactions


Chemical ecology

Environmental genomics

Links :

How to reach us

City of tours

IRBI home page

University of  TOURS


Model Species