Vincent Fourcassie

Vincent Fourcassie

05 61 55 88 71



Vincent FOURCASSIE, Research director at th eCNRS                                                                                          CV LattesRésultat de recherche d'images pour

Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale, UMR C.N.R.S. N°5169       

Université Paul Sabatier

118 route de Narbonne, F- 31062 Toulouse cedex - FRANCE

Tel: +33    Fax: +33   Email:

Professional experience

  • 2016 ->     : Research director C.N.R.S.,  Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse
  • 2012-2013 : Invited professor, UNICAMP, Campinas, Brésil
  • 2009         : Invited professor, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgique
  • 1994-2016 : Research associate C.N.R.S.,  Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse
  • 1993-1994 : Research assistant, University of Leeds, Royaume-Uni.  
  • 1992-1993 : Auxiliaire Temporaire d'Enseignement et de Recherche, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse.
  • 1988-1990 : Research assistant, Boston University, USA.


  • Habilitation à diriger les recherches                   2007                Université Toulouse III
  • PhD                                                               1988                 Université Toulouse III



  • Master level
    • Université Toulouse III, M2R Neurosciences, Comportement, Cognition : "Orientation spatiale chez les arthropodes". (2000-2019).
    • Université Toulouse III, M2R Neurosciences, Comportement, Cognition : « Sélection de modèle et inférence multimodèle ».(2007 - 2019). Co-responsable de l’UE Statistiques du M2R (2016 - )
    • Université Paris XIII, M2R mention Ethologie – Spécialité Ethologie fondamentale et comparée :  « Auto-organisation et comportements collectifs chez les insectes sociaux » (2007-2019)
    • Université de Campinas, Brésil (professeur invité), pos-graduação em Biologia : 30 h de TD/CM sur le thème: “Statistical modeling with R: a practical course  for biology students.” (2012 – 2013
    • Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgique (professeur invité): 15h de CM sur le thème « Les déplacements animaux : aspects cognitifs et fonctionnels ».
  •  Licence/L3 level
    • Université Toulouse III : 4 h de CM sur le thème « Introduction à l’étude des migrations et de la navigation animale » (2004-2019)

Research interests

I am an ethologist and I work on the quantitative analysis of behaviour. Broadly speaking I am interested in all components of animal movement in relation to foraging activities, at the individual as well as the collective level.

My early research work dealt with the orientation and navigation mechanisms underlying the homing performance of ants. I then studied the food-search strategies used by these insects both at the individual level, through a fine analysis of their trajectories, and at the collective level, by analyzing the network of exploratory and foraging trails created by ant colonies. Since about 20 years now I have worked on self-organized phenomena in social insects by using an approach that tightly combines experiments and modelling. I investigated in particular the organization of ant traffic on foraging trails, the mechanisms underlying the building of physical trails, and the mechanisms of decision making and communication involved in the recruitment to food sources in leaf-cutting ants. These researches were conducted both in the lab and in the field (cooperation with Brazilian universities).

During the last 5 years I began to be work on the biomechanics of locomotion in ants. My first objective is to characterize the locomotory behavior of ants from a biomechanical point of view, in relation with their physical environment and the tasks they perform in their colonies. In the long term I plan to use the instrumentation and analysis tools available in biomechanics to understand how ants coordinate their collective activities.



  1. 2020 - CALDATO, N., CAMARGO, R., SOUSA, K.K.; FORTI, L.C., LOPES, J.F., FOURCASSIE, V. Longitudinal study of foraging networks in the grass-cutting ant Atta capiguara Gonçalves, 1944. In press in Neotropical Entomology.
  2. 2019 - DETRAIN, C., PEREIRA, H., FOURCASSIE, V. Differential responses to chemical cues correlate with task performance in ant foragers. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology, 73: 107.
  3. 2019 - FUMERY, G., MERIENNE, H., FOURCASSIE, V., MORETTO, P. Locomotor pattern and mechanical exchanges during collective load transport. Human Movement Science, 66: 327-334.
  4. 2019 – MERIENNE, H., LATIL, G., MORETTO, P., FOURCASSIE, V. Walking kinematics in the polymorphic seed harvester ant Messor barbarus: influence of body size and load carriage. Journal of Experimental Biology, 223: doi: 10.1242/jeb.205690
  5. 2018 - FUMERY, G., FOURCASSIE, V., MORETTO, P., BOURG, V. Analysis of gait during independent and paired walking in adults with an intellectual disability: a case report. JRM-Clinical Communications. In press.
  6. 2018 - FUMERY, G., CLAVERIE, L., FOURCASSIE, V., MORETTO, P. Walking pattern efficiency during collective load transport. Gait & Posture. doi:
  7. 2018 - BOUCHEBTI, S., TRAVAGLINI, R.V., FORTI, L.C., FOURCASSIE, V. Dynamics of physical trail construction and of trail usage in the leaf-cutting ant Atta laevigata. Ethology Ecology Evolution. DOI: 10.1080/03949370.2018.1503197
  8. 2018 - GORDON, D. G., MOREAU, M., FOURCASSIE, V., TRANIELLO, J. F. A. Limited size-related variation in behavioral performance among workers of the exceptionally polymorphic ant Pheidole rhea. Insectes Sociaux. doi: 10.1007/s00040-018-0629-4
  9. 2018 - RONQUE, M.U.V., FOURCASSIE, V., OLIVEIRA, P.S. Ecology and field biology of two dominant Camponotus ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Brazilian savanna. Journal of Natural History, 52: 237-252.
  10. 2016 - BERNADOU, A., FELDEN, A., MOREAU, M., MORETTO, P., FOURCASSIE,V. Ergonomics of load transport in the seed harvesting ant Messor bararus : morphology influences transportation method and efficiency. Journal of Experimental Biology 219: 2920-2927.
  11. 2016 - CALDATO, N., FORTI, L.C, BOUCHEBTI, S., LOPES, J.F.S., FOURCASSIE, V. Foraging activity pattern and herbivory rates of the grass-cutting ant Atta capiguara. Insectes Sociaux, 63: 421-428.
  12. 2016- LOPES, J.F.S., BRUGGER, M., MENEZES, R.B., CAMARGO, R., FORTI, L.C., FOURCASSIE, V. Spatio-temporal dynamics of foraging networks in the grass-cutting ant Atta bisphaerica Forel, 1908 (Formicidae, Attini). PlosOne, 11, e0146613.
  13. 2016 - GIRALDO, Y.M., KAMHI, J.F., FOURCASSIE, V., MOREAU, M., ROBSON, S.K., RUSAKOV, A., WINBERLY, L., DIROLETO, A., KORDEK, A., TRANIELLO, J.F.A. Lifespan behavioral and neural resilience in a social insect. Proceedings of Royal Society B. 283, 20152603.
  14. 2016 - CALDATO, N., FORTI, L.C., CAMARGO, R.D., LOPES, J.F.S., FOURCASSIE,V. Dynamics of the restoration of physical trails in the grass-cutting ant Atta capiguara (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Revista brasileira de Entomologia 60: 63-67.
  15. 2015- BOUCHEBTI, S., FERRERE, S., VITTORI, K. LATIL, G., DUSSUTOUR, A., FOURCASSIE, V.  Contact rate modulates foraging efficiency in leaf cutting ants. Scientific Reports, 5, 18650
  16. 2015- HAIFIG, I., JOST, C., FOURCASSIE, V., ZANA, Y., COSTA-LEONARDO, A.M. Dynamics of foraging trails in the Neotropical termite Velocitermes heteropterus (Isoptera: Termitidae). Behavioural Processes, 118: 123-129. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2015.06.010
  17. 2015- BOUCHEBTI, S., JOST, C., CALDATO, N., FORTI, L.C., FOURCASSIE, V. Comparative study of resistance to heat in two species of leaf-cutting ants. Insectes Sociaux, 62, 97-99. doi: 10.1007/s00040-014-0378-y
  18. 2014 - BERNADOU, A., ESPADALER, X., LE GOFF, A., & FOURCASSIE, V. Ant community organization along elevational gradients in a temperate ecosystems. Insectes Sociaux, 62, 59-71. doi: 10.1007/s00040-014-0374-2
  19. 2013 - BERNADOU, A., CEREGHINO, R., BARCET, H., COMBE, M., ESPADALER, X., FOURCASSIE, V. Physical and land-cover variables influence ant functional groups and species diversity along elevational gradients. Landscape Ecology, 28, 1387-1400. doi:10.​1007/​s10980-013-9892-y
  20. 2013 – BERNADOU, A., ESPADALER, X., FOURCASSIE, V. A preliminary checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Andorra. ZooKeys, 277: 13-23. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.277.4684
  21. 2012 - VIANA, M.P., FOURCASSIE, V., PERNA, A., COSTA, L.F., JOST, C. Accessibility in networks: a useful measure for understanding social insect nest architecture. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, 46: 38-45.  doi:10.1016/j.chaos.2012.11.003
  22. 2012 – FOURCASSIE, V., SCHMITT, T., DETRAIN, C. Impact of interference competition on exploration and food exploitation in the ant Lasius niger. Psyche. Article ID 383757. doi:10.1155/2012/383757
  23. 2012 – PERNA, A., GRANOVSKIY, B., GARNIER, S., NICOLIS, S.C., LABEDAN, M., THERAULAZ, G., FOURCASSIE, V., SUMPTER, D.J.T. Individual rules for trail pattern formation in Argentine Ants (Linepithema humile). PLoS Computational Biology, 8, e1002592. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002592
  24. 2012 – JEANSON, R., DUSSUTOUR, A., FOURCASSIE, V. Key factors for the emergence of collective decision in invertebrates. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 6. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.0012
  25. 2011 – BERNADOU, A., ESPADALER, X., DOS-REIS, V., FOURCASSIE, V. Effect of substrate roughness on load selection in the seed-harvester ants Messor barbarus L. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 65: 1763-1771. doi:10.1007/s00265-011-1184-4
  26. 2011 - OLIVEIRA, P.S., CAMARGO, R.X., FOURCASSIE, V. Nesting patterns, ecological correlates of polygyny and social organization in the Neotropical arboreal ant Odontomachus hastatus (Formicidae: Ponerinae). Insectes Sociaux, 58: 207-217.
  27. 2010 - FOURCASSIE, V., DUSSUTOUR, A., DENEUBOURG, J.L. Ant traffic management. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213, 2357-2363. doi:10.1242/jeb.031237
  28. 2010 - BERNADOU, A., GALKOWSKI, C., LE GOFF, A., FOURCASSIÉ, V., ESPADALER, X. First record of Lasius paralienus SEIFERT, 1992 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from France and Andorra. Myrmecological News
  29. 2009 - GARNIER, S., GUERECHEAU, A., COMBE, M., FOURCASSIE, V., THERAULAZ, G. Path selection and foraging efficiency in Argentine ant transport networks. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 63: 1167-1179. doi:10.1007/s00265-009-0741-6
  30. 2009 – DUSSUTOUR, A., BESHERS, S., DENEUBOURG, J.L., FOURCASSIE, V. Priority rules govern the organization of traffic on foraging trails under crowding conditions in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica. Journal of Experimental Biology, 212: 499-505.
  31. 2008 – DUSSUTOUR, A., DENEUBOURG J.L., BESHERS, S., FOURCASSIE, V. Individual and collective problem-solving in a foraging context in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica. Animal Cognition, 12: 21-30.  doi:10.1007/s10071-008-0165-0
  32. 2008 – GERBIER, G., GARNIER, S., RIEU, C., THERAULAZ, G., FOURCASSIE, V. Are ants sensitive to the geometry of tunnel bifurcation? Animal Cognition, 11, 637–642. doi: 10.1007/s10071-008-0153-4.
  33. 2008 – BERNADOU, A., FOURCASSIE, V. Does substrate coarseness matter for foraging ants? An experiment with Lasius niger (Hymenoptera; Formicidae). Journal of Insect Physiology, 54: 534-542. doi:10.1016/j.jinsphys.2007.12.001
  34. 2008 – CASELLAS, E. GAUTRAIS, J., FOURNIER, R., BLANCO, S., COMBE, M. FOURCASSIE, V., THERAULAZ, G., JOST, C. From individual to collective displacements in heterogeneous environments. Journal of theoretical Biology, 250: 424-434. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2007.10.011
  35. 2007 – DUSSUTOUR, A., BESHERS, S., DENEUBOURG, J., FOURCASSIE, V. Crowding increases foraging efficiency in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica. Insectes Sociaux, 54: 158-165. doi:10.1007/s00040-007-0926-9
  36. 2006 – DUSSUTOUR, A., NICOLIS, S., DENEUBOURG, J.L., FOURCASSIE, V. Collective decisions in ants when foraging under crowded conditions. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology,61 : 17-30. doi:10.1007/s00265-006-0233-x
  37. 2006 – VALVERDE, S., THERAULAZ, G., GAUTRAIS, J., FOURCASSIE, V., SOLE, R.V. Self-organization patterns in wasps and open source communities. IEE Intelligent Systems, 21, 36-40.
  38. 2006 – VITTORI, K., TALBOT, G., GAUTRAIS, J., FOURCASSIE, V., ARAUJO, A.F.R., THERAULAZ, G. Path efficiency of ant foraging trails in an artificial network. Journal of theoretical Biology, 239:507-515. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2005.08.017 
  39. 2005 – CHALLET, M., FOURCASSIE, V., BLANCO, S., FOURNIER, R., THERAULAZ, G., JOST, C. A new test of random walks in heterogeneous environments. Naturwissenschaften, 92: 367-370. doi:10.1007/s00114-005-0001-1
  40. 2005 – DUSSUTOUR, A., DENEUBOURG, J.L., FOURCASSIE, V. Temporal organization of bi-directional traffic in the ant Lasius niger (L.) Journal of Experimental Biology, 208: 2903-2912. doi:10.1242/jeb.01711
  41. 2005 – DUSSUTOUR, A., DENEUBOURG, J.L., FOURCASSIE, V. Amplification of individual preferences in a social context: the case of wall-following in ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B . 272: 705-714. doi:10.1098/rspb.2004.2990
  42. 2004 – MICHELENA, P., BOUQUET, P.M., DISSAC, A., FOURCASSIE, V., LAUGA, J. GERARD, J.F., BON, R. An experimental test of hypotheses explaining social segregation in dimorphic ungulates. Animal Behaviour, 68: 1371-1380. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2004.04.008 
  43. 2004 – DUSSUTOUR, A., FOURCASSIE, V., HELBING, D. & DENEUBOURG, J.L. Optimal traffic organisation in ants under crowded conditions. Nature, 428: 70-73. doi:10.1038/nature02345
  44. 2004 - VITTORI, K., GAUTRAIS, J., ARAUJO, A.F.R., FOURCASSIE, V., THERAULAZ, G. Modeling ant behavior under a variable environment. In : Proceedings of the IV International Workshop on Ant Colony Optimization and Swarm Intelligence – ANTS2004, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 3172: 190-201.
  45. 2003 – JEANSON, R., BLANCO, S. FOURNIER, R., DENEUBOURG, J.L., FOURCASSIE,, V., THERAULAZ, G. A model of animal movements in a bounded space. Journal of theoretical Biology, 225: 443-451. doi:10.1016/S0022-5193(03)00277-7 
  46. 2003 – Le BRETON, J., FOURCASSIE, V. Information transfer during recruitment in the ant Lasius niger L. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology, 55: 242-250. doi:10.1007/s00265-003-0704-2
  47. 2003 – FOURCASSIE, V., BREDARD, C., VOLPATTI, K., THERAULAZ, G. Dispersion movements in ants: spatial structuring and density-dependent effects. Behavioural Processes, 63: 33-43. doi:10.1016/S0376-6357(03)00030-5
  48. 2002 - THERAULAZ, G., BONABEAU, E., NICOLIS, S.C., SOLE, R.V., FOURCASSIE, V., BLANCO, S., FOURNIER, R., JOLY, J.L., FERNANDEZ, P., GRIMAL, A., DALLE, P., DENEUBOURG, J.L. Spatial patterns in ant colonies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99, 9645-9649. doi:10.1073/pnas.152302199
  49. 2002 - FOURCASSIE, V., OLIVEIRA, P. Foraging ecology of the giant ant Dinoponera gigantea (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ponerinae): activity schedule, diet, and spatial foraging patterns.  Journal of Natural History, 36: 2211-2227. doi:10.1080/00222930110097149
  50. 2000 - FOURCASSIE, V., DAHBI, A., CERDA, X. Orientation and navigation during adult transport between nests in the ant Cataglyphis iberica. Naturwissenschaften 87: 355-359. doi:10.1007/s001140050739
  51. 1999- Fourcassié, V., Henriques, A., Fontella, C. Route fidelity and spatial orientation in the ant Dinoponera gigantea (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in a primary forest. Sociobiology, 34: 505-524.
  52. 1998- BONABEAU, E., THERAULAZ, G., FOURCASSIE, V., DENEUBOURG, J.L. The phase-ordering kinetics of cemetery organization in ants. Physical Review E, 57: 4568-4571. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.57.4568
  53. 1995- ROBSON, S.K., LESNIAK, M.G., KOTHANDAPANI, R.V., TRANIELLO, J.F.A., B.L. THORNE, FOURCASSIE, V. Non random search geometry in subterranean termites. Naturwissenschafen, 82, 526-528. doi:10.1007/s001140050228
  54. 1995 - FOURCASSIÉ, V., TRANIELLO, J.F.A. Ant search behaviour analysis with a video frame grabber. Insectes Sociaux, 42: 249-254. doi:10.1007/BF01240419
  55. 1994 - FOURCASSIÉ, V., DENEUBOURG, J.L. The dynamics of collective exploration and trail-formation in Monomorium pharaonis: experiments and model. Physiological Entomology, 19: 291-300. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3032.1994.tb01055.x
  56. 1994 - FOURCASSIÉ, V., TRANIELLO, J.F.A. Food-searching behaviour in the ant Formica schaufussi (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): response of naive foragers to protein and carbohydrate food. Animal Behaviour., 48: 69-79. doi:10.1006/anbe.1994.1212 
  57. 1993 - FOURCASSIÉ, V., TRANIELLO, J.F.A. Effects of experience on food-searching behavior in the ant Formica schaufussi (Hymenoptera, Formicidae).Journal of Insect Behaviour., 6: 287-299. doi:10.1007/BF01048110
  58. 1992 - FOURCASSIÉ, V., COUGHLIN, D., TRANIELLO, J.F.A., Fractal analysis of search behavior in ants. Naturwissenschaften , 79: 87-89.
  59. 1992 - COLIN, M.E., RICHARD, D., FOURCASSIÉ, V., BELZUNCES, L.P. Attraction of Varroa jacobsini Oudemans, parasite of Apis mellifera L., by electric charges. Journal of Insect Physiology, 38: 111-117. doi:10.1016/0022-1910(92)90039-G 
  60. 1992 - LAFFORT, B., BEUGNON, G., FOURCASSIÉ, V. Spatial orientation and polymorphism in Camponotus aethiops (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Sociobiology, 19: 363-374.
  61. 1991 - TRANIELLO, J.F.A., FOURCASSIÉ, V., GRAHAM, T.P. Search behavior and foraging ecology of the ant Formica schaufussi: colony level and individual patterns of organization. Ecology Ethology & Evolution, 3: 35-47.
  62. 1991 - FOURCASSIÉ, V. Terrestrial landmark orientation in natural situations in the red wood ant Formica lugubris Zett. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Ecology Ethology & Evolution, 3: 89 - 99.
  63. 1988 - BEUGNON, G., FOURCASSIÉ, V. How do red wood ants orient when foraging in a three dimensional system ? II. Field experiments. Insectes sociaux, 35: 106-124. doi: 10.1007/BF02224142
  64. 1988 - FOURCASSIÉ, V., BEUGNON, G. How do red wood ants orient when foraging in a three dimensional system? I. Laboratory experiments. Insectes sociaux, 35: 92-105. doi:10.1007/BF02224141


Université Paul Sabatier
118 Route de Narbonne

31062 TOULOUSE Cedex

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