Research Interests - Social Organisation in Ants

Sociality in animals is the highest level in the hierarchy of biological organisation. Sociality in animals has advanced furthest in social insects. Hence, colonies of social insects are considered to be eusocial or truly social. Division of labour is the fundamental concept through which the mechanisms underlying the transition to eusociality, both in terms of proximate and ultimate causation, are best addressed. In terms of ultimate causation (evolutionary history), division of labour begins between reproductive and non-reproductive tasks. In social insect colonies division of labour has advanced to the next stage, that is within the non-reproductive tasks such as, for example, brood care, building or foraging. According to Hamilton's rule, for eusociality in ants to evolve division of labour among non-reproductive tasks needs to be effective enough to maximise the production of young and make it cost effective for those individuals who have forfeited direct reproduction to raise the progeny of their relatives. Indeed, as E. O. Wilson once pointed out, a colony of ants is like a 'factory within a fortress'. In other words an ant colony is a superbly designed organisation for the production of young. The fundamental issue here is how this is achieved. Individual ants can perceive only local conditions. No one is in charge and no one oversees the global situation, to plan and to give orders. How can populations of workers be effectively allocated to populations of tasks in such a concurrent, decentralised social organisation?

The approach taken in addressing this issue involves self-organisation theory and its associated bottom-up modelling, that is modelling of collective structures and processes from individual rules of behaviour. My approach has been to test hypotheses about such rules of individual behaviour empirically in the context of the whole colony where all workers are made individually recognisable.


To understand the principles of concurrent decentralised organisation that have allowed ant colonies to fulfil their function with wide ecological success under natural selection.

Research Interests

·         Social organisation

·         Organisation of behaviour

·         Social interaction

·         Social networking

·         Activity/Inactivity

·         Understanding behaviour through the analysis of movement

·         Collective and individual decision-making

·         Navigation

·         Spatially-explicit division of labour

·         Temporal division of labour

·         Social resilience

·         Collective and individual improvement in performance with experience

·         Nest building

·         Sorting behaviour

Research Projects

·         Defying the rules: how self-regulatory social systems work (EPSRC, 2007-2010)

A multidisciplinary project on self-regulation in complex systems with collaborators Professor Kim Christensen and Dr Elsa Arcaute (Physics, Imperial College, London), Dr Angela Espinosa (Business School, University of Hull) and Dr Torbjorn Dahl (Robotics, University of Wales, Newport)

·         The collective intelligence of movement in ants (Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, 2006-2007)

"Social insect colonies are intelligent in a different way than we are. They find solutions by meshing with the problem. This entails a predicament brains do not have to solve. Ants are mobile. How do they avoid gridlock? A group of more than three mobile robots cannot accomplish a task because of mutual interference. How do tens of ants do it? I investigate experimentally how ants move inside their nests and test hypotheses related to labour division and colony size. Results will facilitate our understanding of collective intelligence and apply to Artificial Intelligence and Collective Robotics."

·         Information networks in ant colonies – with Dr Richard James and Rebecca Hayward (Physics, University of Bath), Professor Nigel Franks (Biology, University of Bristol), Professor Nicholas Britton (Mathematics, University of Bath), Dr Robert Planque (Mathematics, Free University, Amsterdam).

·         Brood sorting: EPSRC-funded project, 2001-2004, on the interface with minimalist collective robotics, with Professor Chris Melhuish, UWE, Bristol; more recently continuing to work on trying to understand the underlying phenomenon through modelling with Dr Elsa Arcaute, Professor Kim Christensen (Physics, Imperial College, London) and Professor Henrik Jensen (Mathematics, Imperial College, London).

·         Ant sorting algorithms (Nuffield Foundation, 2001-2003)

Ph.D. Students

·         Tom Richardson (2007 - 2010, EPSRC-funded, Defying the rules project (see above), with Professor Nigel Franks, University of Bristol)

·         Samuel Scholes (2001 - 2005, Brood-sorting in the ant Temnothorax albipennis: from biology to collective robotics, EPSRC-funded, with Professor Chris Melhuish, UWE, Bristol)

·         Matthew Wilson (2000 - 2003, Developing metrics for the comparison of sorting and segregation algorithms in a group of minimalist robots, EPSRC-funded, with Professor Chris Melhuish, UWE, Bristol)

·         Elizabeth Langridge (1998 - 2006, part-time, The effects of experience on complete ant colonies, with Professor Nigel Franks, University of Bristol)

·         Sarah Backen (1996 - 2000, An experimental investigation of task allocation in the ant Leptothorax albipennis, BBSRC-funded, University of Bath, with Professor Nigel Franks)

Advisor to Ph.D Students

·         Antony Aleksiev (2003 - 2006, Building behaviour in Temnothorax albipennis, ORS-funded, Supervisor Professor Nigel Franks, University of Bristol)

·         Norasmah Basari (2011 – 2015, Tandem running in Temnothorax albipennis, funded by home country, Supervisor Professor Nigel Franks, University of Bristol)

·         Thomas O’Shea-Wheller (2013 – 2016, PhD studies of collective decision-making in the ant Temnothorax albipennis, funded by home country, Supervisor Professor Nigel Franks, University of Bristol)

M.Sc. Students

·         Jan Van lent (2000, Modelling two-dimensional ant sorting, EPSRC-funded, M.Sc. in Machine Learning and Adaptive Computing, UWE, Bristol)

Advisor to M.Sci. Students

·         Tom Harris (2011 - 2012, Social resilience and the division of labour in ants: interrogating the behaviour of Temnothorax albipennis individuals through movement analysis, self-funded, with Nigel Franks, University of Bristol)

·         Dominic Burns (2014 – 2015, Mechanisms of house-hunting in ants with or without recruitment through tandem running, self-funded, with Nigel Franks, University of Bristol)

Other Research Students

·         Benjamin Wulf and Thomas Klimek (Biomimetics students, University for Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany, 2006-2007, second-year project on information networks in ant colonies, with Professor Nigel Franks, University of Bristol)

·         Benjamin Wulf (Biomimetics student, University for Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany, 2007-2008, Bachelor's thesis project Collective protection through individual delays, with Professor Nigel Franks, University of Bristol)

·         Elizabeth Franklin (Graduate Environmental Biology student, University of Plymouth, 25 June - 29 July 2008, EPSRC EmergeNET summer studentship project Collective Task Switching in Social Systems, with Tom Richardson and Nigel Franks, University of Bristol)

List of Publications

I. Refereed journal papers

  1. Richardson, RO, Giuggioli, Franks, NR, Sendova-Franks, AB (2017) Measuring site fidelity and spatial segregation within animal societies. Methods. Ecol. Evol. doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12751

2.      O’Shea-Wheller, TA, Masuda N, Sendova-Franks, AB, Franks, NR (2017) Variability in individual assessment behaviour and its implications for collective decision-making. Proc. R. Soc. B 284: 20162237; doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.2237

3.      O’Shea-Wheller, TA, Aggarwal, DK, Edgley, DE, Sendova-Franks, AB, Franks, NR (2016) A social mechanism facilitates ant colony emigrations over different distances. Journal of Experimental Biology 219: 3439-3446; doi: 10.1242/jeb.145276

4.      O’Shea-Wheller, TA, Sendova-Franks, AB, Franks, NR (2016) Migration control: a distance compensation strategy in ants. The Science of Nature 103: 66; doi: 10.1007/s00114-016-1386-8

5.      Burns DDR, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2016) The effect of social information on the collective choices of ant colonies. Behav. Ecol. 27: 1033-1040; doi: 10.1093/beheco/arw005

6.      Franks NR, Worley A, Grant KAJ, Gorman AR, Vizard V, Plackett H, Doran C, Gamble ML, Stumpe MC, Sendova-Franks AB (2016) Social behaviour and collective motion in plant-animal worms. Proc. R. Soc. B 283: 20152946; doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2946

7.      Doran C, Stumpe M, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2016) Exploration adjustment by ant colonies. R. Soc. open sci. 3: 150533; doi: 10.1098/rsos.150533

8.      Hunt ER, Baddeley RJ, Worley A, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR. (2016) Ants determine their next move at rest: motor planning and causality in complex systems. R. Soc. open sci. 3: 150534; doi: 10.1098/rsos.150534

9.      O’Shea-Wheller, T. A., Sendova-Franks, A. B. and Franks, N. R. (2015) Differentiated Anti-Predation Responses in a Superorganism. PLoS One 10(11): e0141012. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141012

10.  Franks NR, Stuttard JP, Doran C, Espositio JC, Master MC, Sendova-Franks AB, Masuda N, Britton NF. (2015) How ants use quorum sensing to estimate the average quality of a fluctuating resource. Sci. Rep. 5:11890; DOI: 10.1038/srep11890

11.  Christensen K, Papavassiliou D, de Figueiredo A, Franks NR, Sendova-Franks AB. (2015) Universality in ant behaviour. J. R. Soc. Interface 12:20140985; DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2014.0985

12.  Basari N, Laird-Hopkins BC, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2014) Trail laying during tandem-running recruitment in the ant Temnothorax albipennis. Naturwissenschaften, 101:549-566.

13.  Basari N, Bruendl, AC, Hemingway CE, Roberts NW, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2014) Landmarks and ant search strategies after interrupted tandem runs. The Journal of Experimental Biology 217:944-954

14.  Minter NJ, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2013) Nest-seeking rock ants (Temnothorax albipennis) trade off sediment packing density and structural integrity for ease of cavity excavation. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67:1745-1756

15.  Doran C, Pearce T, Connor A, Schlegel T, Franklin E, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2013) Economic investment by ant colonies in searches for better homes. Biology Letters 9:20130685.

16.  Gottlieb D, Phillips BB, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2013) Individual and social information gathering are fine-tuned to the internal state of the group. Animal Behaviour 85:1479-1484

17.  Franklin EL, Robinson EJH, Marshall JAR, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2012) Do ants need to be old and experienced to teach? Journal of Experimental Biology 215:1287-1292

18.  Richardson TO, Christensen K, Franks NR, Jensen HJ, Sendova-Franks AB (2011) Ants in a labyrinth: a statistical mechanics approach to the division of labour. PLoS One 6:e18416

19.  Franklin EL, Richardson TO, Sendova-Franks AB, Robinson EJH, Franks NR (2011) Blinkered teaching: tandem running by visually impaired ants. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 65:569-579

20.  Richardson TO, Christensen K, Franks NR, Jensen HJ, Sendova-Franks AB (2011) Group dynamics and record signals in the ant Temnothorax albipennis. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 8:518-528

21.  Richardson TO, Robinson EJH, Christensen K, Jensen HJ, Franks NR, Sendova-Franks AB (2011) Comment on P. Nouvellet, J.P. Bacon, D. Waxman, ‘‘Testing the level of ant activity associated with quorum sensing: An empirical approach leading to the establishment and test of a null-model’’. Journal of Theoretical Biology 269:356-358

22.  Franks NR, Richardson TO, Keir S, Inge SJ, Bartumeus F, Sendova-Franks AB (2010) Ant search strategies after interrupted tandem runs. 213:1697-1708

23.  Richardson TO, Robinson EJH, Christensen K, Jensen HJ, Franks NR, Sendova-Franks AB (2010) Record dynamics in ants. PLoS One 5:e9621

24.  Sendova-Franks AB, Hayward RK, Wulf B, Klimek T, James R, Planqué R, Britton NF, Franks NR (2010) Emergency networking: famine relief in ant colonies. Animal Behaviour 79:473-485

25.  Arcaute E, Christensen K, Sendova-Franks A, Dahl T, Espinosa A, Jensen HJ (2009) Division of labour in ant colonies in terms of attractive fields. Ecological Complexity 6:396-402

26.  Berghoff SM, Wurst E, Ebermann E, Sendova-Franks AB, Rettenmeyer CW, Franks NR (2009) Symbionts of societies that fission: mites as guests or parasites of army ants. Ecological Entomology 34:684-695

27.  Robinson EJH, Richardson TO, Sendova-Franks AB, Feineman O, Franks NR (2009) Radio tagging reveals the roles of corpulence, experience and social information in ant decision making. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 63:627-636

28.  Langridge EA, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2008) The behaviour of ant transporters at the old and new nests during successive colony emigrations. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 62:1851-1861

29.  Franks NR, Hardcastle KA, Collins S, Smith FD, Sullivan KME, Robinson EJH, Sendova-Franks AB (2008) Can ant colonies choose a far-and-away better nest over an in-the-way poor one.Animal Behaviour 76:323-334

30.  Aleksiev AS, Longdon, B, Christmas MJ, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2008) Individual and collective choice: parallel prospecting and mining in ants. Naturwissenschaften 95:301-305

31.  Langridge EA, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2008) How experienced individuals contribute to an improvement in collective performance in ants Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 62: 447-456

32.  Aleksiev AS, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2007) Nest ‘moulting’ in the ant Temnothorax albipennis. Animal Behaviour 74:567-575

33.  Aleksiev AS, Longdon B, Christmas MJ, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2007) Individual choice of building material for nest construction by worker ants and the collective outcome for their colony. Animal Behaviour 74:559-566

34.  Aleksiev AS, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2007) The selection of building material for wall construction by ants. Animal Behaviour 73:779-788

35.  Scholes, SR, Sendova-Franks, AB, Swift ST, Melhuish, C (2006) Ants can sort their brood without a gaseous template. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 59:531-540

36.  Melhuish C, Sendova-Franks AB, Scholes S, Horsfield I, Welsby F (2006) Ant inspired sorting by robots: the importance of initial clustering. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 3:235-242

37.  Sendova-Franks AB, Scholes SR, Franks NR, Melhuish C (2004) Brood sorting by ants: two phases and differential diffusion. Animal Behaviour 68:1095-1106

38.  Langridge EA, Franks NR, Sendova-Franks AB (2004) Improvement in collective performance with experience in ants. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 56:523-529

39.  Franks NR, Britton NF, Sendova-Franks AB, Denny AJ, Soans EL, Brown AP, Cole RE, Havardi RJ, Griffiths CJ, Ellis SR (2004) Centrifugal waste disposal and the optimization of ant nest-craters. Animal Behaviour 67:965-973

40.  Scholes S, Wilson M, Sendova-Franks AB, Melhuish C (2004) Comparisons in evolution and engineering: the collective intelligence of sorting. Adaptive Behavior 12:147-159

41.  Wilson M, Melhuish C, Sendova-Franks AB, Scholes SR (2004) Algorithms for building annular structures with minimalist robots inspired by brood sorting in ant colonies. Autonomous Robots (Special Issue on Swarm Robotics) 17:115-136

42.  Sendova-Franks AB, Van lent J (2002) Random walk models of worker sorting in ant colonies. Journal of Theoretical Biology 217:255-274

43.  Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR, Britton NF (2002) The role of competition in task switching during colony emigration in Leptothorax ants. Animal Behaviour 63: 715-725

44.  Franks NR, Sendova-Franks AB, Anderson C (2001) Division of labour within teams of New World and Old World army ants. Animal Behaviour 62:635-642

45.  Backen SJ, Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (2000) Testing the limits of social resilience in ant colonies. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 48:125-131

46.  Franks NR, Sendova-Franks AB (2000) Queen transport during ant colony emigration: a group-level adaptive behavior. Behavioral Ecology 11:315-318

47.  Franks NR, Sendova-Franks AB, Simmons J, Mogie M (1999) Convergent evolution, super-efficient teams and tempo in Old and New World army ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 266:1697-1701

48.  Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (1999) Self-assembly, self-organization and division of labour. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 354:1395-1405

49.  Franks NR, Tofts C, Sendova-Franks AB (1997) Studies of the division of labour: neither physics nor stamp collecting. Animal Behaviour 53:219-224

50.  Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (1995c) Demonstrating new social interactions in ant colonies through randomisation tests: separating seeing from believing. Animal Behaviour 50:1683-1696

51.  Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (1995b) Division of labour in a crisis: task allocation during colony emigration in the ant Leptothorax unifasciatus (Latr.). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 36:269-282

52.  Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (1995a) Spatial relationships within nests of the ant Leptothorax unifasciatus (Latr.) and their implications for the division of labour. Animal Behaviour 50:121-136

53.  Sendova-Franks AB, Franks NR (1994) Social resilience in individual worker ants and its role in division of labour. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 256:305-309

54.  Sendova-Franks A, Franks NR (1993) Task allocation in ant colonies within variable environments. (A study of temporal polyethism: experimental). Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 55:75-96

55.  Franks NR, Sendova-Franks AB (1992) Brood sorting by ants: distributing the workload over the work-surface. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 30:109-123

56.  Franks NR, Sendova-Franks AB, Sendova-Vassileva M, Vassilev L (1991) Nuptial flights and calling behaviour in the ant Leptothorax acervorum (Fabr.). Insect Sociaux 38:327-330

57.  Vassilev IB, Sendova AB (1988) The effect of temperature and pressure on the vitality of certain insects. Comptes Rendus de'Acad.Bulg. des Sciences 41:127-129

II. Book chapters

58.  Franks NR, Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Learning and Decision Making in a Social Context. In: (R Menzel & PR Benjamin eds.) Volume 22: Invertebrate Learning and Memory, 1st Edition. Academic Press, ISBN:9780124158238, Pages:656

III. Contributions to journal issues or books based on conference proceedings

59.  Melhuish C, Wilson M, Sendova-Franks, AB (2001) Patch-sorting: multi-object clustering using minimalist robots. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 2159:543-552

60.  Deneubourg JL, Goss S, Franks N, Sendova-Franks A, Detrain C, Chretien L (1991) The dynamics of collective sorting: robot-like ants and ant-like robots. In: Meyer J-A, Wilson S (eds) Simulation of animal behaviour: from animals to animats. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 356-365

IV. Book reviews

61.  Sendova-Franks AB (2006) Problem solving inspired by ants. A review of Ant colony optimization by Marco Dorigo and Thomas Stützle, MIT Press, 2004, 305 pp. Connection Science 18:89-91

62.  Sendova-Franks AB (1994) Who's who of tramp ants. A review of Exotic ants; Biology, impact, and control of introduced species. Editor, DF Williams. Westview Press, Boulder. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 9:497-498

V. In Focus editorial articles

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2016) Neophobia and animal adjustment to urban environments. Animal Behaviour 117:iii-v

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2016) Spatial memory in frogs transporting their tadpoles. Animal Behaviour 116:iii-v

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2016) Juvenile playfulness and adulthood anxiety in mice. Animal Behaviour 114:iii-v

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2016) Same-sex sexual behaviour in flour beetles. Animal Behaviour 114:iii-v

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2016) Nursing the offspring of other females in giraffes. Animal Behaviour 113:iii-v

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2016) Memory and quantity discrimination in angelfish. Animal Behaviour 112:iii-v

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2016) Night-sky orientation in diurnal and nocturnal dung beetles. Animal Behaviour 111:iii-vi

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) Spatial segregation in foraging shearwaters. Animal Behaviour 110:iii-v

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) A g factor in wild New Zealand robins. Animal Behaviour 109:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) The function of white coloration in nocturnal spiders. Animal Behaviour 108:iii-v

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) Relationships influence exploration in wolves and dogs. Animal Behaviour 107:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) Desert ants use odour to navigate. Animal Behaviour 106:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) Age-related performance decline in zebra finches. Animal Behaviour 105:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) Winner and loser effects in flies of both sexes. Animal Behaviour 104:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) Song pitch and body size in willow warblers. Animal Behaviour 103:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) The food search strategies of noisy miners. Animal Behaviour 102:iii-v

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) Visual orientation and courtship in fiddler crabs. Animal Behaviour 101:iii-v

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) Startle displays in katydids. Animal Behaviour 100:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2015) Separate effects of population density and food availability on home ranges. Animal Behaviour 99:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Why do sea snakes dive? Animal Behaviour 98:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Honeybees eavesdrop on their ant predators. Animal Behaviour 97:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Robots influence cognitive task performance in children. Animal Behaviour 96:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Aphid manipulation of host plants benefits feeding behaviour. Animal Behaviour 95:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Macaque male attraction to female facial colour and contrast. Animal Behaviour 94:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Navigational conflict resolution by penguin chick pairs. Animal Behaviour 93:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Mothers joining forces: benefits of communal nesting in house mice. Animal Behaviour 92:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Behavioural traditions in marmosets. Animal Behaviour 91:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Group size preferences in Three-spined Sticklebacks. Animal Behaviour 90:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Mushroom harvesting in ants. Animal Behaviour 89:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Early social isolation affects lizard behaviour. Animal Behaviour 88:iii-iv

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2014) Maternal styles in quail. Animal Behaviour 87:1-2

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Song syllable order matters to skylarks. Animal Behaviour 86:1113-1115

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Individual recognition in mongooses. Animal Behaviour 86:873-875

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Time is in the eye of the beholder. Animal Behaviour 86:663-665

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Olfactory cues of social familiarity mediate group-joining decisions in predatory mites. Animal Behaviour 86:489-490

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Protective mother hens. Animal Behaviour 86:209–211

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Human mutual mate choice for height results in a compromise. Animal Behaviour 86:1–2

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Task specialization in mound-building mice. Animal Behaviour 85:1135–1136

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Sensory exploitation in mate choice. Animal Behaviour 85:867–868

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Effect of increased yolk testosterone in chickens. Animal Behaviour 85:691–692

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) The twilight ascents of swifts. Animal Behaviour 85:515–516

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Transmission of nest site preferences in titmice. Animal Behaviour 85:297–298

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2013) Flexibility of task response thresholds in bumblebees. Animal Behaviour 85:3–4

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) Adult play and social tolerance. Animal Behaviour 84:1281–1282

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) Ageing in spiders. Animal Behaviour 84:1083–1084

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) Vibrational communication in digging ants. Animal Behaviour 84:739–741

·         Sendova-Franks AB, Griffith SC (2012) Birds can recognize kin from individual odours. Animal Behaviour 84:497–498

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) Birth weight is related to learning performance in honeybee Foragers. Animal Behaviour 84:293–294

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) Exploratory behaviour and metabolic rate in shrews. Animal Behaviour 84:1–2

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) Visual lateralization in cuttlefish. Animal Behaviour 83:1301–1302

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) Courtship effort as a mate choice signal in gobies. Animal Behaviour 83:1141–1142

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) Hornet’s response to honeybee signal. Animal Behaviour 83:869–870

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) Call diversity in killer whales. Animal Behaviour 83:571–572

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) Timing of homeward flights in seabirds. Animal Behaviour 83:311–312

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2012) The effect of migration on assortative mating. Animal Behaviour 83:1–2

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2011) Orientation of nocturnal insect migrants. Animal Behaviour 82: 1219–1220

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2011) Tool use and cognition in Darwin’s finches. Animal Behaviour 82: 925–926

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2011) Salmon use diet cues to recognize a mammalian predator. Animal Behaviour 82:611–612

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2011) Alternative mating strategies in elephant seals. Animal Behaviour 82: 423–424

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2011) The role of experience in nest building. Animal Behaviour 82:175–176

·         Sendova-Franks AB (2011) Meerkats alternate roles in conflict situations. Animal Behaviour 81:1091–1092

VI. Popular science

o   Hüetlin T (2010) Vorkoster für die Königin Der Spiegel, 10 February 2010, p. 141

o   Viegas J (2010) Poison-taster ants help save colonies. Discovery News website (, 8 January 2010

o   Kelly J (2007) EPSRC funding for ‘Defying the rules’. UWE Bristol: the Bulletin, 27 February 2007, issue 65, p. 4.

o   Kelly J (2007) Why ants don’t bump into each other. UWE Bristol: the Bulletin, 27 January 2007, issue 63, p. 14; attracted attention by local newspapers, TV and radio station and some national newspapers and agencies.

o   Sendova-Franks AB (2004) Researchers star in TV documentary on biomimetics. UWE Bristol: the Bulletin, 27 May 2004, issue 40, p. 19.

o   Douse C (2004) Meet the antbots. EPSRC Newsline, Spring 2004, issue 29, pp. 16-17

o   Constable T (2002) Division of labour: the intricate ways army ants work together. BBC Wildlife Magazine, p. 22, February 2002, based on Franks et al. (2001a) above

o   Whitfield J (2001) When is an ant like a bicycle? Nature Science Update (, 30 October 2001, based on Franks et al. (2001a)

o   Sendova-Franks, AB (2000) Mathematical modelling of ant colonies. Tempus, July 2000, Faculty of Computer Studies and Mathematics, University of the West of England

A laboratory nest of a Temnothorax (formerly known as Leptothorax) ant colony made of two microscope slides separated by four 1 mm thick cardboard pillars, one pillar in each corner. Such artificial nests have two major advantages. First, they closely approximate the rock crevices these ant colonies utilise as nest sites in nature. Second, they allow us to observe all the individuals all the time. The blue dots are coloured sand blocks from a pile provided outside the nest that the ants have used to build a perimeter wall.