Thierry Lefèvre


Phone: (404) 727-9344

De Roode Lab:


Almost all living organisms serve as hosts for one or more parasite species. While parasites evolve to optimize their host exploitation and between host transmission, hosts evolve to minimize the parasite-induced fitness losses. These conflicting evolutionary processes may result in coevolutionary arms races between parasites and hosts. This often results in fascinating adaptations in both hosts and parasites, which I am particularly interested in investigating.

Current research:

Whereas many studies have focused on the direct and genetic interactions between parasites and their hosts, the role of environmental conditions has been largely ignored. This is unfortunate as the environment may crucially affect the way in which hosts and parasites coevolve. I aim to address this gap by investigating how ecological factors such as the diversity of larval host plant can influence monarch-O. elektroscirrha interaction. In this system, the host plants contain chemicals that can affect the fitness of both host and parasite. Therefore, natural selection could have favored conflicting host plant use adaptations in monarchs and their parasites. I study these adaptations by determining (i) how a range of plants species affect the fitness of both host and parasite, (ii) whether hosts can avoid contact with parasites, and/or whether parasites can increase between host contacts (via host plant use) and (iii) whether hosts are able to self-medicate, and/or whether parasites can drive monarchs to choose host plants that increase their own fitness.



Past research:

Parasitic manipulation: All parasites must transmit from one host to another during their lifecycle and this step represents the most critical phase in the cycle. In this context, many parasites evolved the ability to alter the phenotype (physiology, morphology, behavior) of their host in a way that increases their probability of transmission, a strategy named parasitic manipulation. By using vector-borne parasites as a study model (Trypansosomes and Plasmodium species), the work carried out during my PhD in Montpellier generated considerable knowledge on the evolution, proximate mechanisms and multidimensionality (when more than one host phenotypic traits are altered) of parasitic manipulation.





Host-feeding behavior in mosquitoes: the degree of vector-host association is a key predictor of vectorial capacity and transmission intensity of vector-borne diseases. Understanding the blood-feeding behavior of mosquitoes of medical importance is thus of great interest because it can contribute to the design of vector control and disease prevention measures. A detailed understanding of the proximate and ultimate causes and processes modulating the host choice, however, is still in its infancy. I carried out field and experimental studies in Burkina Faso on the host-feeding and -seeking behavior of Anopheles gambiae sensu- stricto, the main malaria vector in sub-Saharian Africa. I'm interested in investigating how human (e.g. age, sex, health, diet...) and mosquito (e.g. genetic make-up, age, circadian rhythm, mating status, learning/memory...) characteristics can influence mosquito blood-feeding behavior.








Lefèvre T, Oliver L, Hunter M, de Roode J.C. 2010. Evidence for trans-generational medication in nature. Ecology Letters. In press

Lefèvre T, Williams A.J. & de Roode J.C. 2010. Genetic variation in resistance, but not tolerance, to a protozoan parasite in the monarch butterfly. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciencesin press

Thomas F, Lefèvre T & Raymond M. Edition 2010. BIOLOGIE EVOLUTIVE. 830 p. De Boeck

Biologie evolutive website

Lefèvre T, Gouagna L-C, Dabiré R, Elguero E, Fontenille D, Costantini C & Thomas F. 2010. Beer consumption increases human attractiveness to malaria mosquitoes. PLoS One. 5, e9546. (Correction on Figure 4)


Lefèvre T, Gouagna L-C, Dabiré R, Elguero E, Fontenille D, Costantini C & Thomas F. 2009. Beyond nature and nurture: Phenotypic plasticity in blood-feeding behavior of Anopheles gambiae s.s. when humans are not readily accessible. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 81,1023-1029.

Prugnolle F, Lefèvre T, Renaud F, Møller AP, Misse D & Thomas F. 2009. Infection and body odours: Evolutionary and medical perspectives. Infection, Genetics and Evolution. 9, 1006-1009.

Lefèvre T, Gouagna L-C, Dabiré R, Elguero E, Fontenille D, Costantini C & Thomas F. 2009. Evolutionary lability of odour-mediated host preference by the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto. Tropical Medicine and International Health. 14, 1-9.

Lefèvre T, Adamo A, Biron DG, Missé D, Hughes D & Thomas F. 2009. Invasion of the body snatchers: The diversity and evolution of manipulative strategies in host–parasite interactions. Advance in Parasitology. 68, 45-83.

Lefèvre T., Lebarbenchon C., Missé D., Poulin R. & Thomas F. 2009. Ecological significance of manipulative parasites. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 24: 41-48

Lefèvre T., Ris N. & Mitta G. 2009. Methods In: Ecology and Evolution of Parasitism (Thomas F., Gueguan J-F., Renaud F. eds) Oxford University Press. pp 165-182.


Lefèvre T., Roche B., Poulin R., Hurd H., Renaud F. & Thomas F. 2008. Exploitation of host compensatory responses: the 'must' of manipulation? Trends in Parasitology 24: 435-439.

Lefèvre T. & Thomas F. 2008. Behind the scene, something else is pulling the strings: Emphasizing parasitic manipulation in vector-borne diseases. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 8: 504–519


Lefèvre T., Thomas F., Ravel S., Patrel D., Renault L., Le Bourligu L., Cuny G. & Biron D.G. 2007. Trypanosoma brucei brucei induces alteration in the head proteome of the tsetse fly vector Glossina palpalis gambiensis.Insect Molecular Biology 16: 651-660.

Lefèvre T., Sanchez M.I., Ponton F., Hughes D. & Thomas F. 2007. Virulence and resistance in malaria: who drives the outcomes of infection.Trends in Parasitology 23: 299-302.

Lefèvre T., Thomas F., Schwartz A., Levashina E., Blandin S., Brizard J-P., Le Bourligu L., Demettre E., Renaud F. & Biron D.G. 2007. Malaria Plasmodium agent induces alteration in the head proteome of their Anopheles mosquito host. Proteomics 7: 1908-1915.

Lefèvre T., Ris N. & Mitta G. 2007. Chapitre Méthodologique dans: Ecologie et Evolution des Systèmes Parasités, Thomas F., Renaud F. & Guégan J-F. (editors) De Boeck Université, Bruxelles: Belgium. pp 373-404.


Lefèvre T., Koella J., Renaud F., Hurd H., Biron D.G. & Thomas F. 2006. New prospects for research on manipulation of insect vectors by pathogens. PLoS Pathogens 2: 633-635.

Ponton F., Lebarbenchon C., Lefèvre T., Thomas F., Duneau D., Marché L., Renault L., Hughes D.P. & Biron D.G. 2006. Hairworm anti-predator strategy: a study of causes and consequences. Parasitology 133: 631-638.

Ponton F., Lebarbenchon C., Lefèvre T., Biron D.G., Duneau D., Hughes D.P. & Thomas F. 2006. Parasite survives predation on its host.Nature 440: 756.

Ponton F., Lefèvre T., Lebarbenchon C., Thomas F.,  Loxdale H.D., Marché L., Renault L., Perrot-Minnot M.J. & Biron, D.G. 2006. Do distantly parasites rely on the same proximate factors to alter the behaviour of their hosts? Proceedings of Royal Society of London B 273: 2869-2877.

Biron D.G., Brun C., Lefèvre T., Lebarbenchon C., Loxdale H.D., Chevenet F., Brizard J.P. & Thomas F. 2006. The pitfalls of proteomics experiments without the correct use of bioinformatics tools. Proteomics 6: 5577-5596.

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