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Christian W. W. Pirk

Professor Zoology & Entomolgy, University of Pretoria

Behavioural, chemical and evolutionary ecology of social insects

Fields of interest include behavioural, chemical and molecular ecology of insects, as well as population genetics and dynamics - The reproductive division of labour in social insects, especially honeybees and the resulting potential conflicts among members of an insect colony and how these conflicts are solved. - The organisation of groups, mechanisms of coordination and task allocation and the role and means of communication in achieving coherent collective behaviour. - The self-organisation and their underlying mechanisms in social insects. - Interactions and co-evolution between host and parasites, e.g. between honeybee and small hive beetle.

I lead the Social Insects Research Group, which studies fundamental and applied aspects of sociality in ants, bees, termites and wasps, with a particular focus on honeybees.

I am affiliated with the University of Pretoria Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) to which I contribute entomological capacity and expertise.


  • –present
    Professor Zoology & Entomolgy, University of Pretoria