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School of Biological and Chemical Sciences   Prof Lars Chittka
Tel 44 (0)20 7882 3043
Fax 44 (0)20 8983 0973

Prof Lars Chittka

My research has established links between sensory physiology and learning psychology on the one hand, and evolutionary ecology on the other. Why do animals have the sensory systems they do? How do they use them in their natural foraging environment? How do cognitive-behavioural processes function in the economy of nature? Pollinator-plant interactions have been used as a model system to study these questions. I have been particularly interested in mutual evolutionary and ecological influences of insect colour vision and flower colour signals, and insect learning and flower advertising. In addition, I have studied bee navigation using large artificial landmarks, orientation of bees in complete darkness, as well as the question of how bees use spatial memory to navigate among several rewarded sites. Recently, I have also become interested in the evolution of cognitive capacities and communication, and the pollination biology of invasive plant species. Bees have served as model organisms in most of these studies, because their colonies can be easily kept, their experience can be readily controlled, they have a rich behavioural repertoire and amazing learning capacities. My work has made use of field studies, as well as experimental studies with computer-controlled behavioural tests, computer simulations, and phylogenetic analyses (see publications).

Chittka lab home page



Curriculum vitae




Professor in Sensory and Behavioural Ecology




School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Queen Mary, University of London

Mile End Road

London E1 4NS


Fax: 0044 (0)208 9830973

Email: l.chittka@qmul.ac.uk





2005-present: Professor in Sensory & Behavioural Ecology, University of London

2003-2005: Reader in Behavioural Ecology, Queen Mary College , University of London

2002-2003: Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary College , University of London

2000-2002: Senior Lecturer, Würzburg University

1997-2000: Lecturer, Würzburg University

1994-1997: Postdoctoral fellow, SUNY Stony Brook

1994 Postdoctoral fellow, FU Berlin



1994-1997: Adjunct Assistant Professor, SUNY Stony Brook

1997 Guest Professor, University of Oklahoma , Tulsa




1993 Ph.D. (summa cum laude – 1 st class) in Biology at the Free University in Berlin

1991 Diploma (M.S.) of Biology at the Free University of Berlin (1 st class)




PUBLISHED PAPERS AND PAPERS IN THE PRESS (top tier publications in red )

(Where a pdf is available, the pdf logo will form a link to the document)

150. Lihoreau, M.D., Chittka L., Le Comber, S.C. & Raine, N.E. (2011). Bees do not use nearest neighbour rules for optimization of multilocation routes. 2011 Biology Letters doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0661


149. Lihoreau, M.D., Chittka L. & Raine, N.E. (2011). Trade-off between travel distance and prioritization of high-reward sites in traplining bumblebees. Functional Ecology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2011.01881.x


148.Doring, T.D., & Chittka L. (2011). How human are insects and does in matter? Formosan Entomologist 31: 85 - 99.


147. Mendl, M. Paul, E.S. & Chittka L. (2011). Animal Behaviour: Emotion in Invertebrates? Current Biology 21: D463-D465


146. Whitney, H.M., Bennet, K.M.V., Dorling, M., Sandbach, L., Prince, D. Chittka L. & Glover, B.J. (2011). Why do so many petals have conical epidermal cells? Annals of Botany 108: 609-611. doi:10.1093/aob/mcr065


145. Whitney, H.M., Poetes, R., Steiner, U., Chittka L. & Glover, B.J. (2011). Determining the contribution of epidermal cell shape to petal wettability using isogenic antirrhinum lines. PloS One 6(3): e17576


144. Chittka L. & Jensen K. (2011). Animal Cognition: Concepts from Apes to Bees. Current Biology 21: R116-R119


143. Chittka L. & Skorupski P.(2011). Information processing in miniature brains. Proc Royal Soc Lond B 278:885-888 doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.2699


142. Skorupski P. & Chittka L. (2011). Is colour cognitive? Optics and Laser Technology 43:251-260



141. Arnold S.E.J., Faruq, S., Savoleinen V., McOwan P. & Chittka L (2010) FReD: The Floral Reflectance Database - a web portal for analyses of flower colour. PLoS One 5(12):e14287. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014287


140. Chittka L (2010) Lars Chittka, Q&A. Current Biology 20: R1006-R1008


139. Chittka A. & Chittka L (2010) Epigenetics of Royalty. PLoS Biol 8: e1000532


138. Ings T. C., Ings N. L., Chittka L. & Rasmont P. (2010) A failed invasion? Commercially introduced pollinators in Southern France. Apidologie 41:1–13


137. Kapustjansky A., Chittka L. & Spaethe J. (2010) Bees use three-dimensional information to improve target detection. Naturwissenschaften 97:229–233


136. Lihoreau L., Chittka L. & Raine N. E. (2010) Travel Optimization by Foraging Bumblebees through Readjustments of Traplines after Discovery of New Feeding Locations The American Naturalist 176: published online


135. Muller H., Grossmann H. & Chittka L. (2010) ‘Personality’ in bumblebees: individual consistency in responses to novel colours? Animal Behaviour 80: 1065-1074.


134. Niven, J. E. & Chittka L. (2010) Reuse of identified neurons in multiple neural circuits Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33:4


133. Skorupski P. & Chittka L. (2010). Photoreceptor Spectral Sensitivity in the Bumblebee,
Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae). PLos One 5:e12049


132. Skorupski P. & Chittka L. (2010).Differences in Photoreceptor Processing Speed for Chromatic and Achromatic Vision in the Bumblebee Bombus terrestris. The Journal of Neuroscience 30:3896 –3903


131. Stelzer R. J. & Chittka L. (2010). Bumblebee foraging rhythms under the midnight sun measured with radiofrequency identification. BMC Biology 8:93


130. Stelzer R. J., Chittka L., Carlton M. & Ings T. C. (2010). Winter active bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) achieve high foraging rates in urban Britain. PLoS One 5:e9559


129. Stelzer R. J., Raine N. E., Schmitt K. D. & Chittka L. (2010). Effects of aposematic coloration on predation risk in bumblebees? A comparison between differently coloured populations, with consideration of the ultraviolet. Journal of Zoology 282: 75-83.


128. Stelzer R. J., Stanewsky R. & Chittka L. (2010). Circadian Foraging Rhythms of Bumblebees Monitored by Radio-frequency Identification. Journal of Biological Rhythms 25: 257-267.



127. Arnold S.E.J., Savolainen V. & Chittka L. (2009). Flower colours along an alpine altitude gradient, seen through the eyes of fly and bee pollinators. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 3:27–43.


126. Arnold S. E. J., Le Comber S. C. & Chittka L. (2009). Flower color phenology in European grassland and woodland habitats, through the eyes of pollinators. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 57: 211–230


125. Chittka L & H. Muller. (2009). Learning, specialization, efficiency and task allocation in social insects. Communicative & Integrative Biology 2: 151-154.


124. Chittka L. & Niven J. (2009). Are Bigger Brains Better? Current Biology 19: R995-R1008.


123. Chittka L, Skorupski P & NE Raine. (2009). Speed-accuracy tradeoffs in animal decision making. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 24: 400-407.


122. Dangles O., Irschick D., Chittka L. & Casas J. (2009). Variability in sensory ecology: expanding the bridge between physiology and evolutionary biology. The Quarterly Review of Biology 84: 51-74.


121. Ings T.C. & Chittka L. (2009). Predator crypsis enhances behaviourally-mediated indirect effects on plants by altering bumblebee foraging preferences. Proc. Royal Soc. B 276: 2031-2036.


120. Ings TC, Raine NE & Chittka L. (2009). A population comparison of the strength and persistence of innate colour preference and learning speed in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 63: 1207-1218.


119. Leadbeater E.A. & Chittka L. (2009). Bumble-bees learn the value of social cues through experience. Biology Letters 5: 310 - 312


119. Leadbeater, E.A. & Chittka, L. (2009) Social information use in foraging insects. In: S. Jarau & M. Hrncir (eds.) Food Exploitation by Social Insects: Ecological, Behavioral, and Theoretical Approaches. CRC Press, pp 135-146.


118. Molet M, Chittka L & Raine NE (2009). Potential application of the bumblebee foraging recruitment pheromone for commercial greenhouse pollination. Apidologie 40: 608-616.


117. Molet M, Chittka L & NE Raine. (2009). How floral odours are learned inside the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) nest. Naturwissenschaften 96: 213-219.


116. Ollerton J, Cranmer L, Stelzer RJ, Sullivan S & Chittka L. (2009). Bird pollination of Canary Island endemic plants. Naturwissenschaften 96: 221-232.


115. Raine, N.E. & Chittka, L. (2009) Measuring the adaptiveness of social insect foraging strategies - an empirical approach. In: S. Jarau & M. Hrncir (eds.) Food Exploitation by Social Insects: Ecological, Behavioral, and Theoretical Approaches. CRC Press, pp 9-28.


114. Whitney H.M., Chittka L., Bruce T.J.A. & Glover B.J. (2009) Conical Epidermal Cells Allow Bees to Grip Flowers and Increase Foraging Efficiency. Current Biology 19:948-953.


113. Whitney H.M., Kolle M., Andrew P., Chittka L., Steiner U. and Glover B. J. (2009). Response to Comment on “Floral Iridescence, Produced by Diffractive Optics, Acts As a Cue for Animal Pollinators” Science 325: 1072


112. Whitney H.M., Kolle M., Andrew P., Chittka L., Steiner U. and Glover B. J. (2009). Floral Iridescence, Produced by Diffractive Optics, Acts As a Cue for Animal Pollinators. Science 323: 130-133.



111. Arnold S.E.J. , Savolainen V. & Chittka L. (2008) FReD: The floral reflectance spectra database. Nature Precedings.doi:10.1038/npre.2008.1846.1


110. Ings, T.C . & Chittka, L. (2008). Speed accuracy tradeoffs and false alarms in bee responses to cryptic predators. Current Biology 18: 1520-1524.


109. Leadbeater, E. & Chittka L. (2008). Social transmission of nectar-robbing behaviour in bumble-bees. Proc. R. Soc. B. 275: 1669-1674.


108. Molet M, Chittka L, Stelzer RJ,  Streit S & NE Raine . (2008). Colony nutritional status modulates worker responses to foraging recruitment pheromone in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris . Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 62: 1919–1926. Supplementary material.


107. Muller, H. and Chittka, L. (2008) Animal personalities: the advantage of diversity. Current Biology 20: pR961-R963.


106. Raine NE & Chittka L. (2008) The correlation of learning speed and natural foraging success in bumble-bees. Proceedings of the Royal Society - Series B 275: 803-808. Supplementary material.


105. Whitney H.M., Dyer A., Chittka L., Rands S.A. and Glover B.J. (2008). The interaction of temperature and sucrose concentration on foraging preferences in bumblebees. Naturwissenschaften 95: 845-850.





104. Chittka L. & Döring T. F. (2007) Are autumn foliage colours red signals to aphids? PLoS Biology 5: 1640-1644.


103. Chittka L., Osorio D. (2007) Cognitive Dimensions of Predator Responses to Imperfect Mimicry. PLoS Biology 5: 2754-2758.


102. Chittka, L. and Spaethe, J. (2007) Visual search and the importance of time in complex decision making by bees. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 1: 37-44.


101. Döring, T.F. and Chittka, L. (2007) Visual ecology of aphids - a critical review on the role of colours in host finding. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 1:3-16.


100. Dyer, A.G., Whitney, H.M., Arnold, S.E.J., Glover, B. J. and Chittka,  L. (2007) Mutations perturbing petal cell shape and anthocyanin synthesis influence bumblebee perception of Antirrhinum majus flower colour. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 1:45-55.


99. Leadbeater E. & Chittka L. (2007) Social learning in insects - From miniature brains to consensus building. Current Biology 17: R703-713.


98. Leadbeater, E. & Chittka, L. (2007) The dynamics of social learning in an insect model, the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 61: 1789-1796.


97. Raine NE & L Chittka. (2007) Nectar production rates of 75 bumblebee-visited flower species in a German flora (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus terrestris). Entomologia Generalis 30: 191-192.


96. Raine NE & L Chittka. (2007) The adaptive significance of sensory bias in a foraging context: floral colour preferences in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris . PLoS One 2 : e556.


95. Raine NE & L Chittka. (2007) Flower constancy and memory dynamics in bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus). Entomologia Generalis 29: 179-199.


94. Raine NE & L Chittka. (2007) Pollen foraging: learning a complex motor skill by bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Naturwissenschaften 94: 459-464.


93. Saleh, N. & Chittka, L. (2007) Traplining in bumblebees (Bombus impatiens): a foraging strategy's ontogeny and the importance of spatial reference memory in short range foraging. Oecologia 151: 719-730.


92. Saleh N., Scott A. G.,  Bryning G. P. & Chittka L. (2007) Distinguishing signals and cues: bumblebees use general footprints to generate adaptive behaviour at flowers and nest. Arthropod Plant Interactions 1: 119-127.


91. Skorupski P., Doering, T., Chittka, L. (2007) Photoreceptor spectral sensitivity in island and mainland populations of the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 193: 485-494.


90. Stelzer, R., Ollerton, J., Chittka, L. (2007) Kein Nachweis für Hummelbesuch der Kanarischen Vogelblumen (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Entomologia generalis 30: 153-154.





89. Chittka L. & Raine NE. (2006) Recognition of flowers by pollinators. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 9: 428-435.


88. Dornhaus, A., Klügl, F., Oechslein, C., Puppe, F., & Chittka, L. (2006) Benefits of recruitment in honey bees: ecology and colony size. Behavioral Ecology 17: 336-344.


87. Dyer, A.G., Whitney, H.M., Arnold , S.E.J., Glover, B.J. & Chittka, L. (2006) Bees associate warmth with flower colour. Nature , 442: 525-525.


86. Ings, T.C., Ward, N.L. & Chittka, L. (2006) Can commercially imported bumblebees out-compete their native conspecifics? Journal of Applied Ecology 43: 940-948 (with cover page).


85. Leadbeater E, Raine NE & Chittka L. (2006) Social learning: ants and the meaning of teaching. Current Biology 16: R323-R325.


84. Raine, N.E., Ings, T.C., Dornhaus, A, Saleh, N. & Chittka, L. (2006) Adaptation, chance, and history in the evolution of bee foraging behavior. Advances in the Study of Behavior 36: 305-354.


83. Raine, N. E., Ings T. C., Ramos-Rodríguez O. and Chittka L. (2006) Intercolony variation in learning performance of a wild British bumblebee population (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus terrestris audax ). Entomologia Generalis 28: 241-256.


82. Saleh, N. & Chittka, L. (2006) The importance of experience in the interpretation of conspecific chemical signals. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 61: 215-220.


81. Saleh N, Ohashi K, Thomson JD, Chittka L. (2006). Facultative use of the repellent scent mark in foraging bumblebees: complex versus simple flowers. Animal Behaviour 71: 847-854.


80. Skorupski, P., Chittka, L. (2006) Animal Cognition: an Insect's Sense of Time? Current Biology 16: R851-R853.


79. Skorupski, P., Spaethe, J. & Chittka, L. (2006) Visual search and decision making in Bees: Time, Speed and Accuracy. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 19: 342-357.


78. Spaethe, J., Tautz, J., Chittka, L. (2006) Do honeybees detect colour targets using serial or parallel visual search? The Jounal of Experimental Biology 209: 987-993.



77. Chittka, L. & Brockmann, A. (2005) Perception space, the final frontier. PLoS Biology 3: 564-568.


76. Chittka, L. & Leadbeater, E. (2005) Social learning: public information in insects. Current Biology 15: R869-R871.


75. Chittka, L. & Kevan, P.G. (2005) Flower colour as advertisement. In Dafni, A., Kevan, P.G., Husband, B.C. (eds.) Practical Pollination Biology. Enviroquest Ltd., Cambridge , ON , Canada , pp. 157-196.


74. Dornhaus, A. & Chittka, L. (2005) Bumble bees store both food and information in honeypots. Behavioral Ecology 16: 661-666.


73. Dyer, A., Neumeyer, C., Chittka, L. (2006) Honeybee ( Apis mellifera ) vision can discriminate between and recognise images of human faces. Journal of Experimental Biology, 208: 4709-4714(with cover page, and coverage in New Scientist).


72. Heiling, A.M., Cheng, K., Chittka, L. , Goeth, A. & Herberstein , M.E. (2005) The role of UV in crab spider signals: effects on perception by prey and predators. Journal of Experimental Biology208: 3925-3931.


71. Heiling, A.M., Chittka, L. , Cheng, K. & Herberstein , M.E. (2005) Colouration in crab spiders – substrate choice and prey attraction. Journal of Experimental Biology 208: 1785-1792.


70. . Ings, T., Schikora, J. & Chittka, L. (2005) Bumblebees, humble pollinators or assiduous
invaders?  A population comparison of foraging performance in Bombus terrestris. Oecologia 144: 508-516


69. Ings, T., Raine, N.E. & Chittka, L. (2005) Mating Preference of Commercially Imported Bumblebees ( Bombus terrestris ) in Britain (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Entomologia generalis 28: 233-238


68. Leadbeater, E. & Chittka, L. (2005) A new mode of information transfer in bumblebees. Current Biology 15: R447-R448. (with commentary in Nature , Science News , and The Guardian)


67. Lotto, R.B. & Chittka, L. (2005) Seeing the light: Illumination as a contextual cue to color choice behavior in bumblebees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102: 3852-3856


66. Mena Granero, A., Guerra Sanz, J.M., Egea Gonzalez FJ, Martinez Vidal, JL, Dornhaus, A. Ghani, J., Roldán Serrano, A., Chittka, L. (2005) Chemical compounds of the foraging recruitment pheromone in bumblebees. Naturwissenschaften 92: 371-374


65. Raine, N.E. & Chittka, L. (2005) Comparison of flower constancy and foraging performance in three bumblebee species (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus). Entomologia generalis 28: 81-89.


64. Raine, N.E. & Chittka, L. (2005) Colour preferences in relation to the foraging performance and fitness of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris . Uludag Bee Journal 5: 145-150.


63. Rasmont, P., Regali, A., Ings, T.C., Lognay, G., Baudart, E., Marlier, M., Delcarte, E., Viville, P., Marot, C., Falmagne, P., Verhaeghe, J.-C. & Chittka, L. (2005). Analysis of the pollen and nectar of Arbutus unedo as a food source for Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera, Apidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 98: 656-663

62. Chittka, L. (2004) Dances as windows into insect perception. PLoS Biology 2:898-900.


61. Chittka, L. , Ings, T. & Raine, N.E. (2004) Chance and adaptation in the evolution of island bumblebee behaviour. Population Ecology 46: 243-251.


60. Chittka, L., Wells, H. (2004) Color vision in bees: mechanisms, ecology and evolution. In: Prete, F.: Complex Worlds from simpler nervous systems; MIT Press, Boston pp. 165-191.


59. Dornhaus, A, & Chittka, L. (2004) Information flow and regulation of foraging activity in bumble bees (Bombus spp). Apidologie 35: 183-192.


58. Dornhaus, A. & Chittka, L. (2004) Why do honeybees dance? Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 55: 395-401.


57. Dyer, AG. & Chittka, L. (2004) Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) sacrifice foraging speed to learn difficult colour discrimination tasks. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 190: 759-763.


56. Dyer, AG. & Chittka, L. (2004) Biological significance of discriminating between similar colours in spectrally variable illumination: bumblebees as a study case. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 190: 105-114.


55. Dyer, AG. & Chittka, L. (2004) Bumblebee search times without ultraviolet light. Journal of Experimental Biology 207: 1683-1688.


54. Dyer, AG. & Chittka, L. (2004) Fine colour discrimination requires differential conditioning in bumblebees. Naturwissenschaften 91: 224-227.


53. Smith, C., Barber, I. , Wootton, R.J. & Chittka, L. (2004) A receiver bias in the origin of threespine stickleback mate choice. Proceedings of the Royal Society London Series B 271: 949-955.

52. Chittka, L., Dyer, A.G., Bock, F. & Dornhaus, A. (2003) Bees trade off foraging speed for accuracy. Nature 424: 388-388.


51. Chittka, L. & Tautz, J (2003) The spectral input to honeybee visual odometry. Journal of Experimental Biology 206: 2393-2397.


50. Dornhaus, A., Brockmann, A. & Chittka, L. (2003) Bumble bees alert to food with pheromone from tergal gland. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 189: 47-51.


49. Heiling, A. M., Herberstein, M. E. & Chittka, L. (2003) Crab-spiders manipulate flower signals. Nature 421: 334-334.


48. Spaethe, J. & Chittka, L. (2003) Interindividual variation of eye optics and single object resolution in bumblebees. Journal of Experimental Biology 206: 3447-3453.

47. Chittka, L. (2002) The influence of intermittent rewards on learning to handle flowers in bumblebees. Entomologia generalis 26: 85-91.

46. Briscoe, A. & Chittka, L. (2001) The evolution of colour vision in insects. Annual Review of Entomology 46: 471-510.


45. Chittka, L. (2001) Camouflage of Predatory Crab Spiders on Flowers, and the Colour Perception of Bees. Entomologia generalis 25: 181-187.


44. Chittka, L., Briscoe, A. (2001) Why sensory ecology needs to become more evolutionary – insect color vision as a case in point. In Barth, F.G., Schmid, A. (ed.) Ecology of Sensing, Springer Verlag, Berlin , pp.19-38.


43. Chittka, L., Schürkens S. (2001) Successful invasion of a floral market. Nature 411: 653-653.



42. Chittka, L. & Thomson, J.D. (2001) Cognitive Ecology – Preface. In: Chittka, L. & Thomson, J.D. (eds.) Cognitive Ecology of Pollination. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge , pp. x-xiii


41. Chittka, L., Spaethe, J., Schmidt, A., Hickelsberger, A. (2001) Adaptation, constraint, and chance in the evolution of flower color and pollinator color vision. In: Chittka, L. & Thomson, J.D. (eds.) Cognitive Ecology of Pollination. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge , pp. 106-126


40. Dornhaus, A., Chittka, L. (2001). Food alert in bumblebees: possible mechanisms and evolutionary implications. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 50: 570-576.


39. Kevan, P.G., Chittka, L., Dyer, A. (2001) Limits to the salience of ultraviolet – lessons from color vision in bees and birds. Journal of Experimental Biology 204: 2571-2580.


38. Schürkens, S., Chittka, L. (2001) The significance of the invasive Crucifer species Bunias orientalis (Brassicaceae) as a nectar source for central European insects. Entomologia generalis 25: 115-120.


37. Spaethe, J., Tautz, J., Chittka, L. (2001) Visual constraints in foraging bumble bees: flower size and colour affect search time and flight behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98: 3898-3903.


36. Thomson, J.D. & Chittka, L. (2001) Pollinator individuality: when does it matter? In: Chittka, L. & Thomson, J.D. (eds.) Cognitive Ecology of Pollination. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge , pp. 191-213



Chittka, L. and Thomson, J.D. (eds.) 2001.Cognitive Ecology of Pollination - Animal Behavior and Floral Evolution. Cambridge University Press, 423pp.


Robert J. Gegear, Terence M. Laverty, Randolf Menzel, Keith D. Waddington, Martin Giurfa, Miriam Lehrer, Robert A. Raguso, Lars Chittka, Johannes Spaethe, Annette Schmidt, Anja Hickelsberger, Sue Healy, T. Andrew Hurly, York Winter, Otto v. Helversen, Martha Weiss, Ann Smithson, Krinstina N. Jones, Kazuharu Ohashi, Tetsukazu Yahara, Lawrence D. Harder, Neal M. Williams, Crispin Y. Jordan, William A. Nelson, Nickolas M. Waser

Order at: www.cup.org



35. Chittka, L. (1999) Bees, white flowers, and the color hexagon – a reassessment? No, not yet. Naturwissenschaften 86, 595-597.


34. Chittka, L., Thomson, J.D. Waser, N.M (1999) Flower constancy, insect psychology, and plant evolution. Naturwissenschaften 86: 361-377.


33. Chittka, L., Williams, N., Rasmussen, H., Thomson, J.D. (1999). Navigation without vision –bumble bee orientation in complete darkness. Proceedings of the Royal Society London Series B 266: 45-50 (with commentary in Science News).


32. Dornhaus, A., Chittka, L. (1999) Evolutionary origins of bee dances. Nature 401: 38-38.


31. Gumbert, A., Kunze, J. Chittka, L. (1999) Flower color diversity in plant communities, bee color space, and a null model. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London Series B 266: 1711-1716.

30. Chittka, L. (1998) Sensori-motor learning in bumble bees: long term retention and reversal training. Journal of Experimental Biology 201: 515-524 (with commentary in New Scientist).


29. Menzel, R., Geiger, K., Mueller, U., Joerges, J. and Chittka, L. (1998) Bees travel novel homeward routes by integrating separately acquired vector memories. Animal Behaviour 55: 139-152


28. Waser , N.M. & Chittka, L. (1998) Bedazzled by flowers. Nature 394: 835-836.

27. Chittka, L. (1997) Bee color vision is optimal for coding flower colors, but flower colors are not optimal for being coded - why? Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 45: 115-127


26. Chittka, L., Gumbert, A., and Kunze, J. (1997) Foraging dynamics of bumble bees: correlates of movements within and between plant species. Behavioral Ecology 8: 239-249


25. Chittka, L., Schorn, J., de Souza, J.M., Ventura, D.F., and Camargo, J.M.F. (1997) The nest entrance signal of the Amazonian bees Partamona pearsoni - a case where insects design their own flight targets. In: Kipyatkov, V.E. (ed.) Proceedings of the Colloquia on Social Insects, Volume 3-4, pp.107-116


24. Chittka, L. and Thomson, J.D (1997) Sensori-motor learning and its relevance for task specialization in bumble bees. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 41: 385-398


23. Chittka, L. & Waser , N.M. (1997) Why red flowers are not invisible for bees. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 45: 169-183 (with commentary in TREE).

22. Chittka, L. (1996). Optimal sets of colour receptors and opponent processes for coding of natural objects in insect vision. Journal of Theoretical Biology 181: 179-196


21. Chittka, L. (1996). Does bee colour vision predate the evolution of flower colour? Naturwissenschaften 83: 136-138 (with commentary in Discover Magazine).


20. Kevan, P.G., Giurfa, M., and Chittka, L. (1996). Why are there so many and so few white flowers? Trends in Plant Sciences 1:280-284.


19. Kunze, J. and Chittka, L. (1996) Bees and butterflies fly faster when plants feed them more nectar. In: Goettingen Neurobiology Report 1996 , eds. Elsner, N. & Schnitzler, H. Stuttgart:Thieme Verlag, p. 109


18. Lunau, K., Wacht, S., and Chittka, L. (1996) Colour choices of naive bumble bees and their implications for colour perception. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 178: 477-489.


17. Maloney, L.T. and Chittka, L. (1996) Is color constancy biologically relevant? Consequences of different color constancy algorithms for simulated bee foraging performance. In: Göttingen Neurobiology Report 1996, eds. Elsner, N. & Schnitzler, H. Stuttgart:Thieme Verlag, p. 340


16. Menzel, R., Geiger, K., Chittka, L., Joerges, J., Kunze, J., and Mueller, U. (1996) The knowledge base of bee navigation. Journal of Experimental Biology 199:141-146.


15. Waser , N.M. , Chittka, L., Price, M.V., Williams, N., and Ollerton, J. (1996) Generalization in pollination systems, and why it matters. Ecology 77: 1043-1060.


14. Chittka, L. and Geiger, K. (1995) Can honeybees count landmarks? Animal Behaviour 49:159-164 (with commentary in New Scientist).


13. Chittka, L. and Geiger, K. (1995) Honeybee long-distance orientation in a controlled environment. Ethology 99:117-126.


12. Chittka, L., Kunze, J., and Geiger, K. (1995) The influences of landmarks on distance estimation of honeybees. Animal Behaviour 50:23-31.


11. Chittka, L., Kunze, J., Shipman, C., and Buchmann, S.L. (1995) The significance of landmarks for path integration of homing honey bee foragers. Naturwissenschaften 82:341-343.


10. Giurfa, M., Nunez, J., Chittka, L., and Menzel, R. (1995) Colour preferences of flower-naive honeybees. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 177:247-259.
9. Chittka, L., Shmida, A., Troje, N., and Menzel, R. (1994) Ultraviolet as a component of flower reflections, and the colour perception of hymenoptera. Vision Research 34:1489-1508.

8. Chittka, L. (1993) The colour perception of Hymenoptera, the colours of flowers, and their evolutionary and ecological relationship. PhD Dissertation, Free University of Berlin.


7. Chittka, L., Vorobyev, M., Shmida, A., and Menzel, R. (1993) Bee colour vision - the optimal system for the discrimination of flower colours with three spectral photoreceptor types? In: Sensory Systems of Arthropods, edited by Wiese, K., Gribakin, F.G., Popov, A.V., and Renninger, G.Basel/Switzerland:Birkhäuser Verlag, p. 211-218.

6. Chittka, L. (1992) The color hexagon: a chromaticity diagram based on photoreceptor excitations as a generalized representation of colour opponency. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 170:533-543.


5. Chittka, L., Beier, W., Hertel, H., Steinmann, E., and Menzel, R. (1992) Opponent colour coding is a universal strategy to evaluate the photoreceptor inputs in hymenoptera. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 170:545-563.


4. Chittka, L., Bonn, A., Geiger, K., Hellstern, F., Klein, J., Koch, G., Meuser, S. and Menzel, R. (1992) Do bees navigate by means of snapshot memory pictures? In: Rhythmogenesis in neurons and networks: Proceedings of the 20th Göttingen Neurobiology Conference, edited by Elsner, N. and Richter, D.W.Stuttgart:Georg Thieme Verlag, p. 694


3. Chittka, L. and Menzel, R. (1992) The evolutionary adaptation of flower colors and the insect pollinators' color vision systems. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 171:171-181.
2. Menzel, R., Chittka, L., Eichmüller, S., Geiger, K., Peitsch, D., and Knoll, P. (1990) Dominance of celestial cues over landmarks disproves map-like orientation in honey bees. Zeitschrift für Naturforschung 45c:723-726.
1. Chittka, L ., Hoffmann, M., and Menzel, R. (1988) Discrimination of UV-green patterns in honey bees. In: Sense organs , edited by Elsner, N. and Barth, F.G.Stuttgart:Thieme, p. 218







Jeremy Hance. 2010. Uncovering the intelligence of insects, an interview with Lars Chittka. mongabay.com. June 29, 2010.http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0629-hance_chittka.html


Molet M., Chittka, L. & Raine N. (2009) Bumblebee Foraging Pheromones. Bee Craft July 2009: 20


Döring T F, Hardie J, Leather S, Spaethe J & Chittka L. (2008) Can aphids play football? Antenna 32: 146-147.


Döring, T.F. & Chittka, L. 2007. Lesley Goodman award public lecture series on insect vision (February 2007) October 2007, Antenna 31: 187-189.


Chittka, L. (2007) Seeing red by accident? Planet Earth, Autumn 2007, pp. 30-31.

Chittka, L. & Walker, J. .2007. Insects as art lovers: Bees for Van Gogh. Antennae 2: 37-42.


Whitney H. & Chittka, L. (2007) Warm Flowers, Happy pollinators. Biologist 54: 154-159.


Chittka, L. & Walker, J. (2006) Do bees like Van Gogh’s Sunflowers? Optics and Laser Technology 38: 323-328 (with coverage on BBC and ABC news, Science , New Scientist, Art Monthly, The Times, and multiple radio stations).


Chittka, L. & Dornhaus, A. (1999) Comparisons in physiology and evolution, and why bees can do the things they do. Ciencia al Dia International 2: 1-17 (electronic publication) http://www.ciencia.cl/CienciaAlDia/volumen2/numero2/articulos/articulo5.html







Chittka, L. & Mesoudi, A. (2011) A review of: Honeybee Democracy. Seeley, Thomas D. Princeton University Press, 2010. Science 331:401



Chittka, L. (2007) A review of: Letters from the Hive – An Intimate History of Bees, Honey, and Humankind. Buchmann S & Banning R. Entomologia generalis, 29:164



Chittka, L. (2007) A review of: Asian Honey Bees – Biology, Conservation, and Human Interactions. Oldroyd BP & Wongsiri S. Entomologia generalis, 29:284



Chittka, L. (2007) A review of: A Field Guide in Colour to Bees and Wasps. Zahradnik J & Severa F. Entomologia generalis, 29:134



Chittka, L. (2007) A review of: Bumblebees. Prys-Jones OE & Corbet SA. Entomologia generalis, 29:123



Chittka, L. (2007) A review of: Bumblebees – Behaviour and Ecology. Goulson DG. Entomologia generalis, 29:134


Chittka, L. (2003) Plants and animals, forever entangled. A review of: “Plant-Animal Interactions”. C. Herrera & O. Pellmyr (eds.) Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 18: 12-13.


Chittka, L. (1999) Spatial Representation in Animals. Sue Healy (ed.) Animal Behaviour 57: 735-736


Chittka, L. (1999) Learning and Adaptation. A review of: "Cognitive Ecology: The Evolutionary Ecology of Information Processing and Decision Making". Reuven Dukas (ed.) Quaterly Review of Biology, 74: 326-327





21. NERC (2007-2008)

Application of the bumblebee foraging pheromone for commercial greenhouse pollination

(with Co-Investigators Nigel Raine, QMUL and Juliet Osborne, Rothamsted Research)


20. Wellcome Trust, BBSRC and EPSRC (2007-2010)

Bees and the travelling salesman problem: how tiny brains solve complex cognitive tasks

(with Co-Investigators Nigel Raine and Steven Le Comber, QMUL)


19. Royal Entomological Society (2006-2007)

Lesley Goodman Award to fund a public lecture series on insect vision (with T. Doering)


18. NERC (2006-2009)

Quantifying the dynamics of predator avoidance learning: bumblebees as a model

£ 334,418.11

17. The Leverhulme Trust (2005-2008)

Elucidating the ecological basis of invertebrate colour processing and perception

(with P.I. Beau Lotto at UCL London, and collaborators A. Sillito (UCL) and D. Osorio (U Sussex)

£ 207,426.00

16. NERC (2005-2008)

Dissecting the interaction between pollinator behaviour and a single plant gene controlling floral morphology

(with P.I. Beverley Glover, University of Cambridge )

£ 188,207.23

15. Central Research Fund, University of London (2004)

Intracellular recordings from bee photoreceptors

£ 5,251

14. NERC (2004-2005)

Pollination of the Canary Island “bird flowers” – a new experimental approach to generalist vs. specialist tradeoffs

£ 31,052.04

13. NERC (2004-2007)

The evolution of learning – bumblebees as a model

(with Co-Investigator Nigel Raine, QMUL)

£ 332,520.37

12. British Ecological Society (2003)

The invasion of introduced commercial bumblebees into non-native areas

£ 995

11. Australian Research Council (2003-2006)

Deceptive signals in spiders

(with PI ME Herberstein and K Cheng, Macquarie University , Australia )

£ 86,611

10. NERC (2003-2004)

Island populations as a source for sensory innovation – bumblebee colour vision as a model

£ 29,801

9. The Wellcome Trust (2003-2005)

Empirical vision: investigating the role of experience in shaping colour constancy behaviour

(with PI Beau Lotto, Institute of Ophthalmology , University College , London )

£ 94,425

8. Central Research Fund, University of London (2003)

Visual search in bumblebees

£ 7,000

7. University of Würzburg Travel Fund (2002)

Behaviour of Sardinian bumblebee populations

£ 1,850

6. University of Würzburg Travel Fund (2001)

Measuring floral spectral reflectance in Sardinia

£ 1,800

5. Universitätsbund Würzburg 00-26 (2000)

The evolution of colour preferences in bumblebees

£ 3,400

4. DFG Ch 147/3-1 (2001-2002)

Heisenberg Award

£ 87,000

3. DFG SFB 554 Project B5 (1999-2002)

Memory dynamics and foraging in bumblebees

£ 90,000

2. DFG Ch 147/2-1 (1998-2000)

Flower constancy of bumblebees

£ 40,000

1. DFG Postdoctoral Stipend (1994-1997)

Foraging strategies of bees on flowers

£ 50,400



Member, Editorial Board, PLos Biology (2004-present)

Member, Advisory Board, Quarterly Review of Biology (2004-present)

Founding Editor, Arthropod-Plant Interactions (2006-present)

Member, Editorial Board, Uludag Bee Journal (2002; 2006)

Member, Editorial Board, Entomologia generalis (2006-present)



  • 2005-2008 External examiner for Physiology/Behaviour/Ecology undergraduate courses; University of Sussex, UK
  • Ph.D. thesis, Adrian Geoffrey Dyer, Monash University, Australia (2000)
  • Ph.D. thesis, Andreas Keller, Würzburg University, Germany (2002)
  • MSc thesis, Christine Harbig, Würzburg University, Germany (2003)
  • Ph.D. thesis, David Booth, University of Sussex, UK (2004)
  • Ph.D. thesis, Roselle Chapman, UC London, UK (2004)
  • 2006 Evaluation of promotion to Associate Professor, McMaster University, Canada
  • 2005 Evaluation of promotion to Associate Professor, University of California, San Diego
  • 2004 Evaluation of promotion to Full Professor, University of Arizona, Tucson
  • 2004 Evaluation of promotion to Senior Lecturer, University of Jerusalem, Israel





  • Anna Dornhaus (1999)
  • Steffen Schürkens (2000)
  • Anja Hickelsberger (2000)
  • Juliette Schikora (2001)
  • Kristina Stüber (2001)
  • Annette Schmidt (2002)
  • Petra Frauenstein (2002)
  • Ralph Stelzer (2005)


  • Johannes Spaethe (1998-2001; completed on time; now assistant professor, University of Vienna )
  • Anna Dornhaus (1999-2002; completed on time; now assistant professor, University of Arizona , Tucson )
  • Tom Ings (2003-2006; completed on time; now postdoctoral fellow, Queen Mary, London )
  • Nehal Saleh (2003-2006; completed on time)
  • Ellouise Leadbeater (2004-present)
  • Sarah Arnold (2006-present)
  • Ralph Stelzer (2006-present)


  • Dr. Johannes Spaethe (2002; now assistant professor, University of Vienna )
  • Dr. Adrian G. Dyer (2002; 2006; now postdoc at LaTrobe University , Australia )
  • Dr. Nigel E. Raine (2004-2010)
  • Dr. Louise Cranmer (2005)
  • Dr. Thomas Doering (2005-present)
  • Dr. Tom Ings (2006-present)



2007 IBRA International Conference (Finland); Symposium on non-Apis bees

2006 Eurbee Conference, Prague , Symposia on bee learning and physiology (co-hosted with M.Giurfa)

2005 IUSSI Winter meeting at Queen Mary College, U London

2004 CEE workshop on “The evolution of visual signals and receivers”, UCL, London, UK

2001 Plant-Insect Interactions, IUSSI Berlin, Germany

1999 Behavioral dimensions of pollinator service, International Botanical Congress, St. Louis, USA




At Queen Mary, University of London


2002 – present Lectures & Practicals in Evolution (1st year)

Tutorials in Essential Skills for Biologists (1st year)

Lectures & Practicals in Decoding DNA (2nd year)

Lectures & Practicals in Animal Physiology (2nd year)

Lectures & Practicals in Genes & Bioinformatics (2nd year)

Lectures & Practicals in The Invertebrates (2nd year)

Lectures in Evolutionary Genetics (2nd year)

Tutorials in Integrative Studies in Biology (2nd and 3rd year)

Lectures in Behavioural Ecology (3rd year)


At Würzburg University


1997 – 2002 Lectures in Animal physiology for undergraduates (3rd year)

Lectures in Animal behavior (2nd year psychology students)

Tutorials in arthropod behaviour (4th and5 th year)

Tutorials in bee biology (4th and 5th year)

Practicals in physiology, neurobiology and behavioral ecology (2nd , 3rd and 4th year)


1997 Workshop: Frontiers in Biology - University of Tulsa , Oklahoma


At the Free University of Berlin :


1991 - 1993 Foraging strategies of insects on plants (4th year)

Insect orientation (4th year)

BASIC programming (3rd year)




American Naturalist; Animal Behavior; Animal Cognition; Annales de la Société Entomologique de France; Annals of Botany; Apidologie; Behavioral Ecology; Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology; Biological Cybernetics; Biotropica; Botanica Acta; Brain, Behaviour and Evolution; Canadian Entomologist; Current Biology; Ecology; Ecology Letters; Ecological Entomology; Ecological Monographs; Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata; Entomologia generalis; Ethology, Ecology & Evolution; Heredity; Insectes Sociaux; International Journal of Comparative Psychology; Israel Journal of Plant Sciences; Journal of Biosciences; Journal of Comparative Physiology; Journal of Experimental Biology; Journal of Insect Behavior; Journal of Theoretical Biology; Myrmecologische Nachrichten; Nature; Naturwissenschaften; Oecologia; Oikos; Oxford University Press; Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics; Physiological Entomology; Physiology & Behavior; Planta; Plant Biology; Plant Systematics and Evolution; PLoS Biology; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; Proceedings of the Royal Society; Quarterly Review of Biology; Science; Trends in Ecology and Evolution; Vision Research



Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), UK

Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund , United States – Israel

Binational Science Foundation , United States – Israel

British Ecological Society

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD, Germany)

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, Germany)

Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF, Vienna, Austria)

Israel Science Foundation

National Science Foundation (NSF) USA

Nature and Environment Research Council (NERC), UK

Science Foundation Ireland



  • for Central Networks / E.ON (2004) on the colour scheme of outdoors work wear, to avoid insect attacks
  • for Koppert Biological Systems (2004), on methods to improve greenhouse pollination of tomato plants by bumblebees
  • for BASF (2005), on effects of UV-protective covering for commercial greenhouses, and effects on crop pollination