Lehrstuhl für Tierökologie und Tropenbiologie

Erik T. Frank

Post-doc at University of Lausanne

Former PhD - Student at University of Würzburg

Former Coordinator - Comoé National Park Research Station

e-mail: erik.frank@unil.ch


New Address:

University of Lausanne

Department of Ecology and Evolution

CH - 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Research Interests

I am interested in animal behaviour, ecology and evolution, specifically predator-prey interactions and chemical communication.

Currently I am working with the termite hunting ant Megaponera analis in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) at the Comoé National Park Research Station. The evolutionary arms race between its termite prey and M. analis has led to some ingenious mechanisms to increase their efficiency as predators and lower their mortality.

My research on M. analis focuses on three major topics:

  • Individual versus collective decision making (optimal foraging, raid formation, work division)
  • The Scouting behaviour (orientation, scouting patterns and age polyethism)
  • Rescue behaviour and social immunity
Curriculum Vitae

2015–2017 Coordinator Comoé National Park Research Station, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

2014–ongoing PhD-Student Graduate School of Life Sciences, University of Würzburg, Germany

2013–2014 M.Sc. Biology, University of Würzburg, Germany

2010–2013 B.Sc. Biology, University of Würzburg, Germany

2007–2010 B.A. International Relations, University of Exeter, UK

1995–2007 Baccalaureate, European School Munich, Germany


In Press

- Frank ET, Linsenmair KE (2017) Saving the Injured: Evolution and Mechanisms. Communicative and Integrative Biology. OPEN ACCESS.


- Frank ET, Linsenmair KE (2017) Flexible task allocation and raid organization in the termite-hunting ant Megaponera analis. Insectes Sociaux64:579-589. Doi:10.1007/s00040-017-0579-2

- Frank ET, Linsenmair KE (2017) Individual versus collective decision making: optimal foraging in the group hunting termite specialist Megaponera analis. Animal Behaviour130:27-35. WEBLINK.

- Frank ET, Schmitt T, Hovestadt T, Mitesser O, Stiegler J, Linsenmair KE (2017) Saving the injured: Rescue behavior in the termite-hunting ant Megaponera analis. Science Advances3:e1602187. OPEN ACCESS.


ET Frank (2017) Saving the injured: The value of injured veterans in a predatory ant species. The Science Breaker. doi: doi.org/10.25250/thescbr.brk063

In the Media

Megaponera analis rescue behaviour (highlights): National Geographic (EN), The Guardian (EN), The New York Times (EN), Die Zeit (DE), El País (SP), Le Figaro (FR).

Video documentaries (highlights): National Geographic (EN), Science Magazine (EN)


Lehrstuhl für Zoologie III (Tierökologie)
Am Hubland
97074 Würzburg

Tel.: +49 931 31-84350
Fax: +49 931 31-84352

Suche Ansprechpartner

Hubland Süd, Geb. B1
Hubland Süd, Geb. B1
Hubland Nord, Geb. 32
Hubland Nord, Geb. 32
Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2
Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2
Hubland Süd, Geb. B3
Hubland Süd, Geb. B3
Campus Medizin
Campus Medizin