Laure, Kaiser-Arnauld

Senior scientist, INRA, then CNRS since 2013
Ingénieure Agronome of AgroParisTech; PhD (1988) and HDR (2000) in biology at the University Paris-Sud

Head of EGCE –  Evolution, Genomes, Comportement et Ecologie (UMR CNRS, Univ. Paris-Sud & IRD).

Tel 33 1 69 82 37 01 / Fax 33 1 69 82 37 36


What are the mechanisms by which insects adapt their reproductive and feeding behaviors ? With my colleagues and students, we address this question in the framework of the ecology and evolution of cereal noctuid stemborers (Busseola, Sesamia) and their parasitoids (species of the C. flavipes complex) in sub-Saharan Africa.

We investigate which genes of the parasitic wasp are involved in the adaptation of sensory, behavioural, and developmental functions, that may account for parasitic specialisation. This is a collaborative project mainly with the icipe and the IRBI, funded by the ANR Bioadapt call (project Adaptation in Biological Control: Parasitoid Population Genomic – ABC PaPoGen, resp. L. Kaiser). We found that one Cotesia population specialized on the stemborer S. nonagrioides , was a distinct species, likely formed by ecological speciation (Kaiser et al., 2015, 2017). We called it Cotesia typhae. It is thus a potential biological control agent against this Lepidoptera which is a maize pest in southern Europa. In this perspective we are evaluating its potential to control the Mediterranean corn borer (CoteBio ANR-AFB funded project, resp. L.K.) by analysing life history traits that contribute to reproductive success, and genomic polymorphism associated to intra and inter populational variations (Benoist et al. 2020a, b).  We also conduct an environmental risk-assessment of the potential introduction of C. typhae in France; we work on the susceptibility of the reproductive success to temperature variations (collab. IRBI), and develop models to simulate the potential impact of C. typhae  release on S. nonagrioides population size (collab. UMR GQE, BASC and GNIS project). We also collaborate with the technical institute ARVALIS to test C. typhae efficiency against de maize pest in greenhouse conditions.

project participants : EGCE : M. Anne, P.A. Calatayud, C. Capdevielle-Dulac, S. Dupas, C. Gilbert, R. Jeannette, T. Marques Fortuna, F. Mougel, F. Rebaudo ; IRBI: J.M. Drezen lab;  icipe: P.A. Calatayud lab; Arvalis: J.B. Thibord; UMR GQE : J. Legrand.

See also:

– ARTE documentary “Les nouveaux guerriers des champs”

– Kaiser et al. 2015, Evolutionay applications;

– Le Monde, Video Plan B “Comment des insectes peuvent sauver des millions d’humains”, 16/12/2019 ;

Keywords : adaptation, ecological specialisation, genetic variability, biological control, behaviour, foraging, oviposition, feeding

Previous topics

– appetitive odour learning in Drosophila: learning conditions, memory dynamics and social interactions (CNRS Gif, INAF, lab. DEPSN, group of Thomas Preat, and INRA, LNCI, Bures-sur-Yvette)

– physiological and genetic variability of learning to search for hosts in parasitic wasps (INRA, LNCI, Bures-sur-Yvette)

– effects of insecticidal molecules (in insecticides or genetically modified plants) on behaviour and development of parasitic wasps (INRA, LNCI, Bures-sur-Yvette)

Studied genus

  • Lépidoptère : Sesamia ; Diptère : Drosophila
  • Hyménoptères parasitoïdes : Aphidius ; Cotesia ; Leptopilina ; Trichogramma

Experimental analysis of insect behaviours in lab. conditions

We use apparatus and methodologies designed to observe orientation (four-arm and Y-tube olfactometers), mating, oviposition and food intake, in response to odours. We set up a system for automatic recording of food searching in Lepidoptera larvae (actimeter). Behavioural traits are acquired and analysed using dedicated softwares. Oviposition and food intake can be observed in imobilized insects under microscope. Rapid behaviours are analysed from videorecordings.

Original articles: ( :

Benoist R., Capdevielle-Dulac C., Chantre C., Jeannette R., Calatayud P.-A., Le Ru B., Drezen J.M., Dupas S., Le Rouzic A., Le Ru B.P., Moreau L., Van Dijk E., Kaiser L. & Mougel F. Quantitative trait loci involved in the reproductive success of a parasitoid wasp. Molecular Ecology 00:1–18. DOI: 10.1111/mec.15567

Naino Jika AK, Le Ru B, Capdevielle-Dulac C, Chardonnet F, Silvain JF, et al. (2020) Population genetics of the Mediterranean corn borer (Sesamia nonagrioides) differs between wild and cultivated plants. PLOS ONE 15(3): e0230434.

Benoist R., Paquet S., Decourcelle F., Guez J, Jeannette R., Calatayud P.-A., Le Ru B., Mougel F. Kaiser L. 2020a. Role of egg-laying behavior, virulence and local adaptation in a parasitoid’s chances of reproducing in a new host. J. Insect Physiol. 120, 103987.

Branca A, Le Ru B, Calatayud P-A, Obonyo J, Musyoka B, Capdevielle-Dulac C, Kaiser-Arnauld L, Silvain J-F, Gauthier J, Paillusson C, Gayral P, Herniou EA and Dupas S (2019). Relative Influence of Host, Wolbachia, Geography and Climate on the Genetic Structure of the Sub-saharan Parasitic Wasp Cotesia sesamiae. Ecol. Evol. 7:309. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00309

Bichang’a G.B., Da Lage J-L, Sambai K., Mule S., Le Ru B., Kaiser L., Juma G., Maina E.N., Calatayud P.-A. Salivary α-amylase of stem borer hosts determines host recognition and acceptance for oviposition by Cotesia spp. (Hymenoptera, Braconidae). Frontiers in. Ecology & Evolution 6: 228. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00228

Bichang’a G., Da Lage J.-L., Capdevielle-Dulac C., Zivy M., Balliau T., Sambai K., Le Ru B., Kaiser L., Juma G., Maina E.N.M., Calatayud P.-A. 2018. α-Amylase mediates host acceptance in the Braconid parasitoid Cotesia flavipes. Journal of Chemical Ecology 44: 1030–1039.

Gauthier J., Gayral P., Le Ru B.P., Jancek S., Dupas S., Kaiser L., Gyapay G., Herniou E. 2018. Genetic footprints of adaptive divergence in the bracovirus of Cotesia sesamiae identified by targeted re-sequencing. Molecular Ecology 27: 2109–2123.

Petit C., Ahuya P., Le Ru B., Kaiser L., Harry M., Calatayud P. 2018. Odour and feeding preference of noctuid conditioned to vanillin diet and non-vanillin diet. Phytoparasitica, 46:223–232. DOI 10.1007/s12600-018-0653-y

Petit C., Ahuya P., Le Ru B., Kaiser L., Harry M., Calatayud P. 2018. Influence of prolonged dietary experience during the larval stage on novel odour preferences in adults of noctuid stem borer moths (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Eur. J. Entomol. 115: 112-116, 2018 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2018.009

Aribi N., Oulhaci CM, Kilani-Morakchi S, Sandoz JC, Kaiser L, Denis B, Joly D, (accepted) Azadirachtin impact on mate choice, female sexual receptivity and male activity in Drosophila melanogaster (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology, 143, 95-101.

Oulhaci CM, Denis B, Kilani-Morakchi S, Sandoz JC, Kaiser L, Joly D, Aribi N. 2017. Azadirachtin effects on mating success, gametic abnormalities and progeny survival in Drosophila melanogaster (Diptera). Pest Manag Sci. 74: 174–180. doi: 10.1002/ps.4678.

Benoist R, Chantre C, Capdevielle-Dulac C, Bodet M, Mougel F, Calatayud PA, Dupas S, Huguet E, Jeannette R, Obonyo J, Odorico C, Silvain JF, Le Ru B, Kaiser L. 2017. Relationship between oviposition, virulence gene expression and parasitism success in Cotesia typhae nov. sp. parasitoid strains. Genetica. 145(6), 469-479. doi: 10.1007/s10709-017-9987-5

Kaiser L, Fernandez-Triana J, Capdevielle-Dulac C, Chantre C, Bodet M, Kaoula F, Benoist R, Calatayud P, Dupas S, Herniou EA, Jeannette R, Obonyo J, Silvain JF, Le Ru B. 2017. Systematics and biology of Cotesia typhae sp. n. (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Microgastrinae), a potential biological control agent against the noctuid Mediterranean corn borer, Sesamia nonagrioides. ZooKeys 682: 105–136. 13016

Calatayud P.A., Petit C., Burlet N., Dupas S., Glaser N., Capdevielle-Dulac C., Le Ru B., Jacquin-Joly E., Kaiser-Arnauld L., Harry M. & Vieira C. 2016. Is genome size of Lepidoptera linked to host plant range? Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 159: 354–361

Petit C, Le Ru B, Dupas S, Frérot B, Ahuya P, Kaiser-Arnauld L, Harry M. & Calatayud P.A. 2015. Influence of dietary experience on the induction of preference of adult moths and larvae for a new olfactory cue. PLoS ONE, 10(8): e0136169. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0136169.

Kergoat G.J., Toussaint E.F.A., Capdevielle-Dulac C., Clamens A-L., Ong’Amo G., Conlong D., Van der Berg J., Cugala D., Pallangyo B., Mubenga O., Chipabika G., Ndemah R., Sezonlin M., Bani G., Molo R., Ali A., Calatayud P.A., Kaiser L., Silvain J.F., Le Ru 2015. Integrative taxonomy reveals six new species related to the Mediterranean corn stalk borer Sesamia nonagrioides (Lefèbvre) (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae, Sesamiina). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 175, 244–270.

Glaser N., Gallot A., Legeai F., Harry M., Kaiser L., Le Ru B. , Calatayud P., Jacquin-Joly E. 2015. Differential expression of the chemosensory transcriptome in two populations of the stemborer Sesamia nonagrioides. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 65 : 28e34

KAISER L., LE RU B.P., KAOULA F., PAILLUSSON C., CAPDEVIELLE-DULAC C., OBONYO J.O., HERNIOU E., JANCEK S. BRANCA A. CALATAYUD P.A., SILVAIN J.F. & DUPAS S. 2015. Ongoing ecological speciation in Cotesia sesamiae, a biological control agent of cereal stem borers. Evolutionary Applications, 8(8):807-20. doi: 10.1111/eva.12260.

CHARDONNET F., CAPDEVIELLE-DULAC C., CHOUQUET B., JOLY N., HARRY M., LE RU B., SILVAIN J.F. & KAISER L. 2014.  Food searching behaviour of a Lepidoptera pest species is modulated by the foraging gene polymorphism. J. Exp. Biol. 217: 3465-3473.

JANCEK S., BÉZIER A., GAYRAL P., PAILLUSSON C., KAISER L., DUPAS S., LE RU B.-P., BARBE V., PERIQUET G., DREZEN J.-M. HERNIOU E. 2013. Adaptive selection on bracovirus genomes drives the specialization of Cotesia parasitoid wasps. PLoS ONE, 8 (5), 11pp.

CHARDONNET F., MARTÍNEZ TAKEGAMI P., CHOUQUET B., SILVAIN J.-F., KAISER L. 2012. An actimeter system for automated recording of foraging activity in stem borer caterpillars. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 142: 175-180

CHABAUD M.A., PREAT T., KAISER L. 2010. Behavioral characterization of individual olfactory memory retrieval in Drosophila melanogaster. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 4: 192

CHABAUD M.A., ISABEL G., KAISER L. & PREAT T. 2009. Social facilitation of long lasting memory retrieval in Drosophila. Current Biology 19: 1654

PEREZ-MALUF R., RAFALIMANANA H., CAMPAN E., FLEURY F. & KAISER L. 2009. Differentiation of innate but not learnt responses to host-habitat odours contributes to rapid host finding in a parasitoid genotype. Physiological Entomology 33: 226

COLOMB J., KAISER L., CHABAUD M.A. and PREAT T. 2009. Parametric and genetic analysis of Drosophila appetitive long-term memory and sugar motivation. Genes, Brain and Behavior 8: 407

RAMIREZ-ROMERO R., DESNEUX N., CHAUFAUX J. & KAISER L. 2008. Bt-maize effects on biological parameters of the non-target aphid Sitobion avenae (Homoptera: Aphididae) and Cry1Ab toxin detection. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 91: 110

RAMIREZ-ROMERO R., BERNAL J.S., CHAUFAUX J., KAISER L. 2007. Impact assessment of Bt-maize on a moth parasitoid, Cotesia marginiventris (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), via host exposure to purified Cry1Ab protein or Bt-plants. Crop protection 26: 953

CHABAUD M.A., DEVAUD J.M., PHAM-DELEGUE M.H., PREAT T. & KAISER L. 2006. Olfactory conditioning of proboscis activity in Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 192: 1335

DESNEUX N., DENOYELLE R., KAISER L. 2006. A multi-step bioassay to assess the effect of the deltamethrin on the parasitic wasp . Chemosphere 65: 1697

DESNEUX N., RABASSE J.M., BALLANGER Y. & KAISER L. 2006. Parasitism of canola aphids in France in autumn. Journal of Pest Sciences 79: 0

DESNEUX N., RAMIREZ R., KAISER L. 2006. Multi-step bioassay to predict recolonization potential of emerging parasitoids after a pesticide treatment. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 25: 2675

AZZOUZ H., CHERQUI A., CAMPAN E., RAHBE Y., DUPORT G., JOUANIN L., KAISER L. & GIORDANENGO P. 2005. Effects of plant protease inhibitors, oryzacystatin I and soybean Bowman-Birk inhibitor, on the aphid Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Homoptera Aphididae) and its parasitoid Aphelinus abdominalis (Hymenoptera Aphelinidae) Journal of Insect Physiology 51: 76

DESNEUX N., FAUVERGUE X., DECHAUME-MONCHARMONT F.X., KERHOAS L., BALLANGER Y AND KAISER L. 2004. Diaeretiella rapae limits Myzus persicae populations following applications of deltamethrin in oilseed rape. Journal of Economic Entomology 98: 0

AZZOUZ H., GIORDANENGO PH, WÄCKERS F.L. & KAISER L. 2004. Effects of feeding frequency and sugar concentration on behavior and longevity of the adult parasitoid: Aphidius ervi (Haliday) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Biological Control 31: 445

DESNEUX N., WAJNBERG E., FAUVERGUE X., PRIVET S. & KAISER L. 2004. Oviposition behaviour and patch-time allocation in two aphid parasitoids exposed to deltamethrin residues. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 112: 227

ALLA S., CHERQUI A., GIORDANENGO PH., KAISER L., AZZOUZ H. & SANGWANN-NORREEL B.S. 2003. Effects of potato plants expressing the NPTII-gus fusion marker genes on physiology and exploratory behaviour of the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 106: 95

PHAM-DELEGUE M.H., DECOURTYE A., KAISER L., DEVILLERS J. 2002. Behavioural methods to assess the effects of pesticides on honey bees. Apidology 33: 425

RAFALIMANANA H., KAISER L. & DELPUECH J-M. 2002. Stimulating effects of the insecticide chlorpyrifos on host searching and infestation efficacy of a parasitoid wasp. Pest Management Science 58: 321

COUTY A., POPPY G., DE LA VIÑA G., KAISER L. & PHAM-DELEGUE M.H. 2001. Direct and indirect sublethal effects of snow drop lectin Galanthus nivalis agglutinin (GNA) on the development of an aphid parasitoid, Aphelinus abdominalis. Journal of Insect Physiology 47: 554

COUTY A., DOWN R.E., GATEHOUSE A.M.R., KAISER L., PHAM-DELEGUE M.H.,& POPPY G.M. 2001. Effects of artificial diet containing GNA and GNA-expressing potatoes on the development of the aphid parasitoid Aphidius ervi Haliday (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae). Journal of Insect Physiology 47: 1357

COUTY A., KAISER L., HUET D. & PHAM-DELEGUE M.H., 1999. The attractiveness of different odour sources from the fruit-host complex on Leptopilina boulardi, a larval parasitoid of frugivorous Drosophila spp. Physiological Entomology, 24: 76-82.

PÉREZ-MALUF R. & KAISER L., 1998. Mating and oviposition experience influence odor learning in Leptopilina boulardi (Hymenoptera : Eucoilidae), a parasitoid of Drosophila. Biological Control, 11 : 154-159.

PÉREZ-MALUF R, KAISER L., WAJNBERG E., CARTON Y. & PHAM-DELEGUE M.H., 1998. Genetic variability of conditioned probing responses to a fruit odor in Leptopilina boulardi (Hymenoptera : Eucoilidae), a Drosophila parasitoid. Behavior Genetics, 28 : 67-73.

BENREY B., DENNO R. & KAISER L., 1997. The influence of plant species on attraction and host acceptance in Cotesia glomerata (Hymenoptera : Braconidae). Journal of Insect Behavior, 10 : 619-630.

KAISER L., BARTHEYE C., KERGUELEN V. & PHAM-DELEGUE M.H., 1995. Odour conditioning of ovipositor probing in a parasitic wasp. Ethology, Ecology and Evolution, 7 : 245-255.

KAISER L. & DE JONG R., 1995. Induction of odor preference in a specialist insect parasitoid. Animal Learning and Behavior, 23: 17-21.

KAISER L., WILLIS M.A. & CARDÉ R.T., 1994. Flight manoeuvers used by a parasitic wasp to locate host-infested plant. Entomologia experimentalis et applicata, 70 : 285-294.

KAISER L. & DE JONG R., 1993. Multi-odour memory influenced by learning order. Behavioural Processes, 30: 175-184.

DE JONG R. & KAISER L., 1992. Odour preference of a parasitic wasp depends on order of learning. Experientia, 48: 902-904.

KAISER L. & CARDÉ R.T., 1992. In-flight orientation to volatiles from the plant-host complex in Cotesia rubecula (Hym.: Braconidae): increased sensitivity through olfactory experience. Physiological Entomology, 17: 62-67.

DE JONG R. & KAISER L., 1991. Odor learning by Leptopilina boulardi, a specialist parasitoid (Hymenoptera: Eucoilidae). Journal of Insect Behavior, 4: 743-750.

BAKCHINE E., PHAM-DELEGUE M.H., KAISER L. & MASSON C., 1990. Computer analysis of the exploratory behavior of insects and mites in an olfactometer. Physiology and Behavior, 48: 183-187.

KAISER L., PHAM-DELEGUE M.H., BAKCHINE E. & MASSON C., 1989. Olfactory responses of Trichogramma maidis Pint. & Voeg.: effects of chemical cues and behavioral plasticity. Journal of Insect Behavior, 2: 701-712.

KAISER L., PHAM-DELEGUE M.H. & MASSON C., 1989. Behavioural study of plasticity in host preferences of Trichogramma maidis (Hym.: Trichogrammatidae). Physiological Entomology, 14: 53-60.

KAISER L., PHAM-DELEGUE M.H., HAWLITZKY N. & MASSON C., 1987. Comportement de recherche et d’oviposition de Trichogramma maidis Pint. & Voeg. (Hym.: Trichogrammatidae): analyse quantitative en conditions contrôlées. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences, Paris, ser. III, 305: 95-99.

Book chapters and reviews

Kaiser L, Dupas S, Branca A, Herniou EA, Clarke CW, Capdevielle Dulac C, Obonyo J, Benoist R, Gauthier J, Calatayud PA, Silvain JF, Le Ru BP. 2017. The Cotesia sesamiae story: insight into host-range evolution in a Hymenoptera parasitoid and implication for its use in biological control programs. Genetica 145(6), 455-468. doi: 10.1007/s10709-017-9989-3

Kaiser L., Ode P., Van Nouhuys S., Calatayud P.A., Colazza S., Cortesero A.M., Thiel A. & Van Barren J. 2017. The plant as habitat for entomophagous insects. Advances in Botanical Research, vol. 81, 180-223.

Kaiser L., Couty A. & Cortesero A.-M. 2013. La plante : biotope pour les insectes parasitoïdes et les prédateurs de phytophages, in:”Des insectes et des plantes”, eds. N. Sauvion, P.-A. Calatayud, D. Thiery & F. Marion-Poll. QUAE-IRD, ch. 31, pp 513-536.

Kaiser L., Couty A., Perez-Maluf R. 2009. Dynamic use of fruit odours to locate host larvae: individual learning, physiological state and genetic variability as adaptive mechanisms. Advances in Parasitology, Parasitoids of Drosophila (ed. G. Prevost) 70: 67

Kaiser L. & Marion-Poll F. 2009. Lutte contre les insectes ravageurs des plantes. In : Ethologie Appliquée, pp. 41-53. Eds. Boissy A., Pham-Delègue M.H. & Baudoin C. (SFECA) Editions Quae, INRA Versailles.

Kaiser L., Delpuech J.M., Kreiter P., Reboulet J.N., Desneux N., Rafalimanana H. & Thaon M. 2005 Evaluation des effets sublétaux d’insecticides sur des insectes auxiliaires entomophages. Dans Programme national d’écotoxicologie : avancées récentes de la recherche, La Documentation française, Paris, pp. 213-232.

Pham-Delegue M.H., Decourtye A., Kaiser L. & Devillers J., 2002. Behavioural methods to assess the effects of pesticides on honey bees. Apidology, 33: 425-432.

Kaiser L., 1999. Le comportement des insectes. Annales de la Société Française d’Entomologie, 35(suppl.): 136-147.