Organisational immunity in social insects

Nathalie Stroeymeyt, Barbara Casillas-Pérez, Sylvia Cremer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Selection for disease control is believed to have contributed to shape the organisation of insect societies-leading to interaction patterns that mitigate disease transmission risk within colonies, conferring them 'organisational immunity'. Recent studies combining epidemiological models with social network analysis have identified general properties of interaction networks that may hinder propagation of infection within groups. These can be prophylactic and/or induced upon pathogen exposure. Here we review empirical evidence for these two types of organisational immunity in social insects and describe the individual-level behaviours that underlie it. We highlight areas requiring further investigation, and emphasise the need for tighter links between theory and empirical research and between individual-level and collective-level analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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