Lab Publications


Oi, C.A., Brown, R.L. & Sumner, S. Bee-Ing positive about wasp-negative media reporting: the opinions of scientists and their influence on the media. Insect. Soc. 71, 29–42 (2024).

Taylor, B. A., Taylor, D., Bodrug-Schepers, A., Câmara Ferreira, F., Stralis-Pavese, N.,Himmelbauer, H., Guigó, R., Reuter, M., & Sumner, S. 2024. Molecular signatures of alternative reproductive strategies in a facultatively social hover wasp. Molecular Ecology, 33, e17217.


Manfredini F., Wurm Y., Sumner S., Leadbeater E. 2023. Transcriptomic responses to location learning by honeybee dancers are partly mirrored in the brains of dance-followers. Proc. R. Soc. B290:20232274

Cunningham-Eurich, I., Kontou, D., Yordanova, M., Maeda-Obregon, A., Favreau, E., Wang, J. et al. 2023. Using citizen science data to assess the population genetic structure of the common yellowjacket wasp, Vespula vulgarisInsect Molecular Biology, 1–14

Favreau E, Cini A, Taylor D. et al. 2023. Putting hornets on the genomic map. Sci Rep 13, 6232

Sumner S, Favreau E, Geist K, Toth A L, Rehan S M. 2023. Molecular patterns and processes in evolving sociality: lessons from insects. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 378: 20220076

Wyatt C D R, Bentley M A, Taylor D. et al. 2023. Social complexity, life-history and lineage influence the molecular basis of castes in vespid wasps. Nat Commun 14, 1046.

Favreau E, Geist K S, Wyatt C D R, Toth A L, Sumner S, Rehan S M. 2023. Co-expression Gene Networks and Machine-learning Algorithms Unveil a Core Genetic Toolkit for Reproductive Division of Labour in Rudimentary Insect Societies. Genome Biology and Evolution, 15(1), evac174


Patalano S, Alsina A, Gregorio-Rodríguez C, Bachman M, Dreier S, Hernando-Herraez I, Nana P, Balasubramanian S, Sumner S, Reik W, Rulands S, Self-organization of plasticity and specialization in a primitively social insect, Cell Systems, 13(9), 2022, 768-779


Perry J R, Sumner S, Thompson C, Hart A G. 2021. ‘Citizen identification’: online learning supports highly accurate species identification for insect-focussed citizen science. Insect Conservation and Diversity. 14(6), 862-867

Detoni M, Feás X, Jeanne R L, Loope K J, O’Donnell S, Santoro D, Sumner S, Jandt J M, 2021. Evolutionary and Ecological Pressures Shaping Social Wasps Collective Defenses, Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Volume 114, 5(1), 581–595

Lengronne T, Mlynski D, Patalano S, James R, Keller L, Sumner S. 2021 Multi-level social organisation and nest-drifting behaviour in a eusocial insect. Proc. R. Soc. B-Biological Sci. 33927238.

Brock RE, Cini A, Sumner S. 2021. Ecosystem Services Provided by Aculeate Wasps. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society  96 (4), 1645-1675

Devenish A, Newton R, Bridle J, Gómez C, Midgley JJ, Sumner S. 2021. Contrasting Responses of Native Ant Communities to Invasion by an Ant Invader, Linepithema Humile. Biological Invasions 23, 2553-2571

Jonsson, GM., Broad GR, Sumner S, Isaac NJB. 2021. A Century of Social Wasp Occupancy Trends from Natural History Collections: Spatiotemporal Resolutions Have Little Effect on Model Performance. Insect Conservation and Diversity (DOI:10.1111/icad.12494)

Revely L, Sumner S, Eggleton P. 2021. The Plasticity and Developmental Potential of Termites. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9:1–13

Kennedy P, Sumner S, Botha P, Welton NJ, Higginson AD, Radford AN. 2021. Diminishing Returns Drive Altruists to Help Extended Family. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 10.1038/s41559-020-01382-z

Taylor BA, Cini A, Wyatt, CDR, Reuter M, Sumner S. 2021. The Molecular Basis of Socially Mediated Phenotypic Plasticity in a Eusocial Paper WaspNature Communications 12:775.


Detoni M, Feás X, Jeanne RL, Loope KJ, O. Donnell S, Santoro D, Sumner S, Jandt JM. 2020. Evolutionary and Ecological Pressures Shaping Social Wasps Collective Defenses. Annals of the Entomological Society of America (X):1–15

Southon RJ, Radford AN, Sumner S. (2020) Hormone mediated dispersal and sexual maturation in males of the social paper wasp Polistes lanioJournal of Experimental Biology 223: jeb226472

Highfield A, Kevill J, Mordecai G, Hunt J, Henderson S, Sauvard D, Feltwell, J., Martin, S., Sumner, S., Schroeder, D. (2020) Detection and replication of Moku virus in honey bees and social wasps. Viruses. 2020; 12(607): 4-11

Southon RJ, Radford AN, Sumner S. (2020) High reproductive skew in the Neotropical paper wasp Polistes lanio. Insectes Sociaux 67: 451-456

Taylor, B.A.Cini, A., Cervo, R., Reuter, M, Sumner. S. (2020) Queen succession conflict in the paper wasp Polistes dominula is mitigated by age-based convention. Behavioural Ecology 31 (4): 992-1002

Cini, A. Branconi, R., Patalano, S., Cervo, R., Sumner, S. (2020) Behavioural and neurogenomic responses of host workers to social parasite invasion in a social insect. Insectes Soc. 67: 295-308

Onah, I.E. and Sumner, S. (2020) DNA barcodes for nature’s pest controllers: the social wasps. Genome 10.1139/gen-2019-0193

Sumner, C.J., Sumner, S. (2020) Signal detection: applying analysis methods from psychology to animal behaviour. Philosophical Transactions for the Royal Society, Series B Biological Sciences 375: 1802

Hart, A.G., Sumner, S. (2020) Marketing Insects: Can Exploiting a Commercial Framework Help Promote Undervalued Insect Species? Insect Conservation and Diversity 13(2): 214-218


Southon R, Bell E, Graystock P, Wyatt CD, Radford AN, Sumner S. (2019). High indirect fitness benefits for helpers throughout the nesting cycle in tropical paper wasps. Molecular Ecology 10.1111/mec.15137

Colgan TJ, Carolan JC, Sumner S, Blaxter, ML, Brown, MJF (2019) Infection by the castrating parasitic nematode Sphaerularia bombi changes gene expression in Bombus terrestris bumblebee queens.  Insect Molecular Biology DOI: 10.1111/imb.12618

Sumner S, Bevan P, Hart AG, Isaac NJB. (2019) Mapping species distributions in two weeks using citizen science. Insect Conserv. Divers. (online March 2019;

Taylor BA, Reuter M, Sumner S. (2019) Patterns of reproductive differentiation and reproductive plasticity in the major evolutionary transition to superorganismality. Curr. Opin. Insect Sci.  in press

Cini, A., Sumner, S. & Cervo, R. (2019) Inquiline social parasites as tools to unlock the secrets of insect sociality. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci. 374, 20180193.


Devenish, A., Gómez, C., Bridle, J., Newton, R. & Sumner, S. (2018). Invasive ants: ill-fitting partners in an ant-plant mutualism. Biological Invasions. 10.1007/s10530-018-1829-6.

Sumner, S., Law, G. & Cini, A. (2018) Why we love bees and hate wasps. Ecological Entomology, 43, 836–845

Miller, S.E., Bluher, S.E., Bell, E., Cini, A., Carvalho, R., Souza, R. De, et al. Sumner, S., Toth, A.L., Tibbetts, E.A. and Sheehan, M.J. (2018) WASPnest: a worldwide assessment of social Polistine nesting behavior. Ecology, 10–12.

Nehring, C., Dijkstra, M.B., Sumner, S., Hughes, W.O.H., & Boomsma, J.J. (2018). Reconstructing the relatedness of cooperatively breeding queens in the Panamanian leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News in press

Taylor, D., Bentley, M., Sumner, S. (2018) Social wasps as models to study the major evolutionary transition to superorganismality Curr Opin Insect Sci 28, 26–32

Sumner, S., Bell, E. & Taylor, D. (2018) A molecular concept of caste in insect societies. Curr. Opin. Insect Sci. 25: 42–50

Kennedy, P., Higginson, A., Radford, A. N. & Sumner, S. (2018) Altruism in a volatile world. Nature 555, 359-362Manfredini F, Romero A.E., Pedroso I., Paccanaro A., Sumner S*., Brown M J.F*. 2017 Neurogenomic signatures of successes and failures in core life-history transitions in a key insect pollinator. Genome Biol. Evol. 9(11), 3059-3072. *equally contributing authors


Kennedy, P. et al. (12 authors) and Sumner. S (2017) Deconstructing superorganisms and societies to address big questions in biology. Trends Ecol. Evol. 32 (11), 861-872. DOI:

Carvell, C. et al. (including Sumner S.) (2017). Bumblebee family lineage survival is enhanced in high quality landscapes. Nature 543(7646):547-549.


Toth, AL., Sumner S. & Jeanne, RL. 2016. “Patterns of Longevity across a Sociality Gradient in Vespid Wasps.” Current Opinion in Insect Science 16. Elsevier Inc: 28–35. doi:10.1016/j.cois.2016.05.006.

Kern, Julie M., Seirian Sumner, and Andrew N. Radford. 2016. “Sentinel Dominance Status Influences Forager Use of Social Information.” Behavioral Ecology 00: arv240. doi:10.1093/beheco/arv240.


King AJ, Myatt JP, Furtbauer I, Oesch N, Dunbar RIM, Sumner S, et al (9 authors). (2015) Social density processes regulate the functioning and performance of foraging human teams. Scientific Reports 18260; doi:10.1038/srep18260.

Patalano S, Vlasova A, Wyatt C, Ewels P, Camara F, Ferreira PG, et al. Molecular signatures of plastic phenotypes in two eusocial insect species with simple societies. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2015; 1–6. doi:10.1073/pnas.1515937112

Redhead JW, Dreier S, Bourke AFG, Heard MS, Jordan WC, Sumner S, Wang J, Carvell C. (2015) Effects of habitat composition and landscape structure on worker foraging distances of five bumblebee species. Ecological Applications 2015; accepted.

Southon R, Bell E, Graystock P, Sumner S (2015) Long live the wasp: adult longevity in captive colonies of the eusocial paper wasp Polistes canadensis (L.). PeerJ, 3:e848; DOI 10.7717/peerj.848.

Sadd B et al (103 other Authors incl Sumner S.) (2015). The genomes of two key bumblebee species with primitive eusocial organisation. Genome Biology.  16:76  doi:10.1186/s13059-015-0623-3

Cini A, Patalano S, Segonds-Pichon A, Busby G, Cervo R, Sumner S. (2015) Social parasitism and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution. Frontiers in Genetics, 6, 1–11.


Grainger DP, Asher CL, Jones JC et al. (2014) A novel method of assessing dominance hierarchies shows nuance, linearity and stability in the dinosaur ant Dinoponera quadriceps. Ethology, DOI: 10.1111/eth.12280.

Warren I, Ciborowski KL, Casadei E, Hazlerigg, DG, Martin, SAM, Jordan, JC., Sumner, S. (2014) Extensive local gene duplication and functional divergence among paralogs as a route to phenotypic plasticity in Atlantic salmon. Genome Biol Evol, doi:10.1093/gbe/evu131.

Ferguson-Gow, H, Sumner, S, Bourke, AFG & Jones, KE 2014, ‘Colony size predicts division of labour in attine ants’.Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences, vol 281.

Dreier, S, Redhead, JW, Warren, IA, Bourke, AFG, Heard, MS, Jordan, WC, Sumner, S, Wang, J & Carvell, C 2014, ‘Fine-scale spatial genetic structure of common and declining bumble bees across an agricultural landscape’. Molecular Ecology, vol 23., pp. 3384-95

Sumner, S 2014, ‘The importance of genomic novelty in social evolution’. Molecular Ecology, vol 23., pp. 26-8


Ferreira, PG, Patalano, S, Chauhan, R, Ffrench-Constant, R, Gabaldon, T, Guigo, R & Sumner, S 2013, ‘Transcriptome analyses of primitively eusocial wasps reveal novel insights into the evolution of sociality and the origin of alternative phenotypes’. Genome Biology, vol 14., pp. 1-14

Bell, E & Sumner, S 2013, ‘Ecology and Social Organisation of Wasps’. Nature Encyclopaedia of Life Sciences (online).

Asher, C, Nascimento, F, Sumner, SR & Hughes, W 2013, ‘Division of labour and risk taking in the dinosaur ant, Dinoponera quadriceps (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)’. Myrmecological News, vol 18., pp. 121-129


Patalano, S, Hore, TA, Reik, W & Sumner, S 2012, ‘Shifting behaviour: epigenetic reprogramming in eusocial insects.’ Current Opinion in Cell Biology, vol 24., pp. 367-73

Lengronne, T, Leadbeater, E, Patalano, S, Dreier, S, Field, J, Sumner, S & Keller, L 2012, ‘Little effect of seasonal constraints on population genetic structure in eusocial paper wasps’. Ecology and Evolution, vol 2., pp. 2615-2624

Sumner, S & Patalano, S 2012, ‘Is the natural world one big soap?’. New Scientist, vol 214., pp. 28-29


Colgan, TJ, Carolan, JC, Bridgett, SJ, Sumner, S, Blaxter, ML & Brown, MJ 2011, ‘Polyphenism in social insects: insights from a transcriptome-wide analysis of gene expression in the life stages of the key pollinator, Bombus terrestris.’. BMC Genomics, vol 12., pp. 623

Click here for Seirian Sumner’s full publication list.