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Department of Zoology



I began my research career by studying olfactory learning and neural plasticity in Apis mellifera, under the supervision of Jean-Christophe Sandoz at the CNRS. I stayed there to conduct a PhD on the olfactory system and behaviour of an invasive hornet, Vespa velutina, exploring possible management strategies, and developing my interest in comparative neuroanatomy and the evolution of social behaviour. I was particularly interested in identifying adaptations in the nervous system that favoured the repeated evolution of eusociality in Hymeneptera. After a short post-doc on the effect of pesticides on honeybee olfactory perception, I joined the EBAB lab to investigate how the brains of Heliconius butterflies are shaped by their unique ecology and behaviour.


Key publications: 

Couto, A., Mitra, A., Thiéry, D., Marion-poll, F. and Sandoz, J-C. (2017). Hornets have it: a conserved olfactory subsystem for social recognition in Hymenoptera? Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 11(48). doi: 10.3389/fnana.2017.00048.

Couto, A., Lapeyre, B., Thiéry, D., and Sandoz, J.-C. (2016). Olfactory pathway of the hornet Vespa velutina: New insights into the evolution of the hymenopteran antennal lobe. Journal of Comparative Neurology 524(11), 2335-2359. doi: 10.1002/cne.23975.

Couto, A., Monceau, K., Bonnard, O., Thiéry, D., and Sandoz, J.-C. (2014). Olfactory Attraction of the Hornet Vespa velutina to Honeybee Colony Odors and Pheromones. PLOS ONE 9(12), e115943. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115943.

Other publications: 

See here or here

Research Associate

Contact Details

Room 2.02
David Attenborough Building


Collaborator profiles: 
Person keywords: 
Behaviour Change
Insect Ecology