Cintia Akemi Oi

Position: Post-doctoral researcher (Marie Curie fellow)

Research interests: 

My current project named WASSUP is focused to study Ammophila solitary sand wasps to explore the molecular basis of behavioral and evolutionary transitions. Using related species, I will compare genomic traits of mass and progressive provisioning and test the hypothesis that progressive provisioning is a precursor to maternal care.

I have a broad interest in Hymenoptera and social insects, and my research interest goes from morphology, physiology, molecular biology, ecology, chemical ecology and behavioral ecology. I generally use wasps as my prime model system, but I love orchid bees and leaf-cutter ants! The origin and maintenance of sociality in insects is a central question in my research. In the past, I studied how social queen pheromones could have evolved from cues or signals present in direct solitary ancestors and how are the mechanisms that help to maintain the honesty of queen signaling systems.

Aside from my main projects, I am also interested in neurobiology (again in social insects and differences in castes) and conservation ecology (population genetics of native bees and pest control/sphecophiles in wasp nests).

Background/Biography: I’m Brazilian/Belgian and I graduated in Bsc. Biology and Master’s degree in Genetics and Evolution at the Federal University of São Carlos (Brazil). For my PhD, I moved to Belgium to study at KU Leuven and my project was funded by Science Without Borders program (Brazil). After finishing my PhD, I remain at KUL for some postdocs and I am currently a Marie Curie post-doctoral researcher here at UCL.

2022-Present: Marie Curie fellow Postdoctoral researcher UCL, UK

2016 – 2022: Post-doctoral researcher KU Leuven

2012 – 2016: PhD in Science (Biology) on the “The chemical crown of social insect wasps”, Laboratory of Socioecology & Social Evolution, Dept. of Biology, KU Leuven, Belgium (CNPq SWB Fellowship)

2008 – 2010: M.Sc. in Genetics and Evolution, Laboratory of Evolutionary Genetics of Hymenoptera (LGEH-UFSCAR), Federal University of São Carlos. São Carlos, Brazil (CAPES fellowship).

2003 – 2007: Licentiate in Biology, Federal University of São Carlos. São Carlos, Brazil. & B.Sc. in Biology, Federal University of São Carlos. São Carlos, Brazil.


36- da Silva, R.C., Oi, C.A. & do Nascimento, F.S. (2023) Chemical Resemblance of Egg Surface Compounds and Dufour’s Gland in Two Neotropical Polistinae Wasps Polistes versicolor (Olivier) and Mischocyttarus metathoracicus (de Saussure, 1854). Neotrop Entomol. Doi: 10.1007/s13744-023-01089-3  

35- Stratford, J, Stratford F., Brown R.L., Oi C.A. (2023) Nest visitors of Vespula wasps and their potential use for biological control in an invaded range. Journal of Pest Science. Doi: 10.1007/s10340-023-01643-3

34- da Silva, R.C., do Nascimento, F.S., Wenseleers, T., Oi CA (2023). Chemical signatures of egg maternity and Dufour’s gland in Vespine wasps. Sci Nat 110, 25. Doi: 10.1007/s00114-023-01852-x

33- da Silva RC, Aguiar JMRBV, Oi, CA., Eterna, JB, Giurfa M, Nascimento FS. Sex and Lifestyle Dictate Learning Performance in a Neotropical Wasp. (2023) iScience. Doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.106469

32- da Silva RC, Wenseleers T, Oi, CA., Nascimento FSTiny but socially valuable: eggs as sources of communication in the social wasp Mischocyttarus cerberus.  (2023) Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 73: 38 doi 10.1007/s00265-019-2647-2

31– Ferreira HM, Di Pietro V, Wenseleers T, Oi, CA. Conserved role of juvenile hormone in regulating behavioural maturation and division of labour in a highly eusocial wasp. (2023) Animal Behaviour

30 – da Silva et al. Juvenile hormone effects over hydrocarbon expression and reproduction in the German wasp Vespula germanica. Accepted at Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

29- Oi C.A., Silva R., Imperatriz-Fonseca V. L., Francoy T., Del Lama M.Genetic and morphometric intra- and interspecies variation in Schwarziana quadripunctata and Schwarziana mourei (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini) (2022) Insectes Sociaux doi: 10.1007/s00040-022-00878-0

28 – Prato A, da Silva R.C., Oi, C.A., Nascimento F.S.Juvenile hormone regulates reproductive physiology and the production of fertility cues in the swarm-founding wasp Polybia occidentalis. (2022) Chemoecology 32, 171–180 (2022). Doi: 10.1007/s00049-022-00376-6

27- da Silva R.C., Prato A., Tannure-Nascimento I., Oi C.A., Wenseleers T., Nascimento F.S.Cuticular hydrocarbons and caste-linked compounds in Neotropical swarm-founding wasps. (2022) PeerJ. Doi: 10.7717/peerj.13571

26- Ferreira H.M., da Silva R.C., Nascimento F.S., Wenseleers T., Oi C.A. A study case of the effects of juvenile hormone regulating reproduction and chemical signalling in foundresses of two primitively eusocial wasps Mischocyttarus. (2022) Chemoecology. Doi: 10.1007/s00049-022-00370-y

25- Silva VO, Miranda E.A., Francoy T.M., Ferreira K.M., Oi, CA, Del Lama MA. Geometric morphometrics discriminates Eastern and Western populations of Partamona rustica (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini) separated by São Francisco River. (2022) Journal of Apicultural Research Doi: 10.1080/00218839.2022.2103330.

24- Oi C.A., Honeybee queen mandibular pheromone fails to regulate ovary activation in the common wasp (2022) Journal of Comparative Physiology A. Doi: 10.1007/s00359-021-01531-0

23- Oi C.A., Ferreira H.M., da Silva R.C., Bienstman A., Nascimento F. S., Wenseleers T. Effects of juvenile hormone in fertility and fertility-signaling in workers of the common wasp Vespula vulgaris (2021) Plos One. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0250720

22- da Silva R.C., Nascimento F.S., Wenseleers T., Oi C.A. Cuticular hydrocarbons as cues of caste and sex in Vespula germanica. (2021) Insectes Sociaux. Doi: 10.1007/s00040-021-00817-5

21- da Silva R.C., Van Meerbeeck L. Nascimento F.S., Wenseleers T., Oi C.A. Close-range cues used by males of Polistes dominula in sex differentiation. (2021) The Science of Nature. Doi: 10.1007/s00114-021-01730-4

20- Oi C.A., da Silva R.C., Stevens I., Ferreira H.M., Nascimento F. S., Wenseleers T. Hormonal modulation of reproduction and fertility signaling in Polistine wasps. Current Zoology. 10.1093/cz/zoab026/6171195

19- Miranda E.A., Lima I.N., Oi C.A., López-Uribe M.M., Del Lama M.A., Freitas B.M., Silva C.I. (2021) Overlap of ecological niche breadth of Euglossa cordata and Eulaema nigrita (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Euglossini) accessed by pollen loads and species distribution modeling. Neotropical Entomology.

18- Oi C. A., Brown R. L., Silva R. C., Wenseleers T. (2020) Reproduction and signals regulating worker policing under identical hormonal control in social wasps. Scientific Reports 10:18971. Doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-76084-4

17- da Silva R. C., Prato A., Oi C. A., Turatti I. C. C. & Nascimento F. S. (2020). Dominance hierarchy, ovarian activity and cuticular hydrocarbons in the primitively eusocial wasp Mischocyttarus cerberus (Vespidae, Polistinae, Mischocyttarini). Journal of Chemical Ecology

doi: 10.1007/s10886-020-01206-1

16- Souza A.R, da Silva R. C., Ferreira R. P., Mateus S., Prato A., Oi C. A., Noll F. B. & Lino-Neto J. (2020) Larval sex identification of in vivo and long-term ethanol-preserved social wasps. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. EEA-2020-0017. (IF: 1.623, peer-reviewed). Doi: 10.1111/eea.12960

15- Oi C.A, Brown R.L., Stevens I., Wenseleers T. (2020) Hydrocarbon signatures of the ectoparasitoid Sphecophaga vesparum shows wasp host dependency. Insects. DOI: 10.3390/insects11050268 (IF: 2.139; peer-reviewed)

14- Oi C. A., R.C. Oliveira, J. van Zweden, S. Mateus, J.G. Millar, F. Nascimento & T. Wenseleers (2019) Do Primitively Eusocial Wasps Use Queen Pheromones to Regulate Reproduction? A Case Study of the Paper Wasp Polistes satan. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 7: 1-10 (IF: 2.686; peer-reviewed) doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00199

13- Oliveira R.C., Vollet-Neto A., Oi C.A., van Zweden J.S., Nascimento F., Brent C.S.  & Wenseleers T. (2017) Hormonal pleiotropy helps maintain queen signal honesty in a highly eusocial wasp. Scientific Reports 7: 1654  (IF: 4.25; peer-reviewed). Doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-01794-1

12-Oi C.A., Millar J.G., van Zweden J.S. & Wenseleers T. (2016) Conservation of queen pheromones across two species of vespine wasps. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 42(11):1175-1180 doi: 10.1007/s10886-016-0777-9 (IF: 3.15; peer-reviewed)

11- Oliveira R.C., Oi C.A., Vollet-Neto A. & Wenseleers T. (2016) Intraspecific worker parasitism in the common wasp Vespula vulgaris. Animal Behaviour, 13: 79-85, doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.12.025

10-Oi C.A., Van Oystaeyen A., Oliveira R. C., Millar J.G., Verstrepen K.J., van Zweden J.S., Wenseleers T. (2015) Dual effect of wasp queen pheromone in regulating insect sociality. Current Biology, 25(12):1638-40, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.04.040 (IF: 8.89; peer-reviewed)

9-Oi C.A., van Zweden J.C., Oliveira R.C., Van Oystaeyen A. & Wenseleers T. (2015). The origin and evolution of social insect queen pheromones: Novel hypotheses and outstanding problems. BioEssays 37(7):808-21 doi: 10.1002/bies.201400180. (IF: 4.72; peer-reviewed)

8- Oliveira R.C., Oi C. A., Castro do Nascimento M.M., Vollet-Neto A., Alves D.A., Campos M.C., Nascimento F. & Wenseleers T. (2015) The origin and evolution of queen and fertility signals in Corbiculate bees. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 15:254, doi:10.1186/s12862-015-0509-8.

7-Van Oystaeyen A., Oliveira R.C., Holman L., van Zweden J.S., Romero C., Oi C.A., d’Ettorre P., Khalesi M., Billen J., Wäckers F., Millar J.G. & Wenseleers T. (2014) Conserved class of queen pheromones stops social insect workers from reproducing. Science 343: 287-290 (IF: 31.03; peer-reviewed) doi: 10.1126/science.1244899

6- Oi C. A., M.M. López-Uribe, M. Cervini & M.A. Del Lama (2013). Non-lethal method of DNA sampling in euglossine bees supported by mark-recapture experiments and microsatellite genotyping. Journal of Insect Conservation 17(5): 1071-1079. Doi: 10.1007/s10841-013-9582-8

5- Cerântola N.C.M., Oi C.A., Cervini M. & Del Lama M.A. (2011). Genetic differentiation of urban populations of Euglossa cordata from the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Apidologie 42: 214-222. Doi: 10.1051/apido/2010055

4- López-Uribe M.M., Oi C.A. & Del Lama M.A. (2008) Nectar-foraging behavior of euglossine bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in urban areas. Apidologie 39: 410- 418 doi: 10.1051/apido:2008023

Book chapters:

  1. Oi C.A, Oliveira. R.C., Wenseleers T.. Causes and consequences of reproductive conflicts in wasp societies. Book chapter in “Neotropical Social Wasps: Basic and applied aspects.” Springer ( (doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-53510-0_8)
  2. Wenseleers, T., Oi C.A., Oliveira R.C.. Worker policing. Book chapter in “Encyclopedia of Social Insects.” Springer (doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_137-1)
  3. Wenseleers, T., Princen, S., Oliveira, R. C., Oi, C. A. Conflicts of interest within colonies. In book: Encyclopedia of Social Insects. Edited by Christopher K. Starr. Publisher: Springer (doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_28-1)