Unia Europejska

foto Piotr Ślipiński


Belonging to Ecdysozoa (molting animals), nematodes are thought to have arisen during so called ‘Cambrian explosion’. This suggests that they not only must have survived most of the mass extinction events, but also that the 500 million years of evolution allowed them to successfully inhabit various terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats on all continents. Being so ubiquitous, nematodes have developed series of environmental adaptations and biological relations with other organisms, ranging from those as simple as bacteria to those as complicated as higher animals. Although the majority of nematode species are free-living (in soils and aquatic sediments, feeding on bacteria, algae, protozoa, fungi or other nematodes and contributing to the nutrient cycle), so far mostly the parasitic ones draw scientists biggest attention. Nematode parasites of man and domestic animals are still serious health concern, especially in third-world countries. Whereas, group of plant parasitic nematodes being able to infect almost all domesticated plants, cause billions of dollar crop losses worldwide.


Scientific interests

I am a nematologist with a background in molecular biology and horticulture. Analyzes of nematode genomic sequences on the one hand help me to understand relations between particular nematode groups and their evolutionary history (especially the subject of the origins of plant parasitism) and on the other, allow to design systems for their detection. I am currently involved in studies on nematode representatives from families like Meloidogynidae, Hoplolaimidae, Anguinidae and Trichodoridae.


Research projects

2016 -

"Soil nematodes of Namibia - species characteristics and  optimization of  DNA isolation methods for formalin treated specimens" (Museum and Institute of Zoology PAS)

2012 – 2016

"Development of innovative methods for rapid identification of nematodes that cause damage to the economy" (Museum and Institute of Zoology PAS)

2007 – 2013

"Phylogenetic relationships within major nematode clades based on multiple molecular markers” (PhD thesis, Wageningen University) 

2006 – 2007

“The development and the validation of family specific, DNA barcode-based detection of stress sensitive nematode families“ (Wageningen University)

2005 – 2006

“Ribosomal DNA-based detection of the root-knot nematode species Meloidogyne naasi and M. minor“(Wageningen University)

2004 – 2006

“Construction of transgenic tomatoes var. Micro-Tom with silencedcytochrome P450 gene“ (Project concerned a functional investigation of plant genes involved in responses to nematode infection; Warsaw University of Life Sciences)



During workshops organized by the Nematology Training Centre of the Institute , I explain how different molecular techniques can be applied in detection of economically important plant parasitic nematode species.



Feel free to get familiar with my published work and visit my Google Scholar or Research Gate profile.



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  Main research interest: behavioural ecology of ants

  • Individualism in ants
  • Behavioural adaptations of subordinate species
  • Thermal risk in foraging
  • Ants in urban environment


   PhD - Rozprawa doktorska. Plasticity of competitive strategy of the ant Formica sanguinea - Plastyczność strategii konkurencyjnej mrówki Formica sanguinea [POL]

   PhD - Summary [ENG]



  • Ślipiński P. 2016. Temperature related foraging risk in temperate climate ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). North-Western Journal of Zoology 2016: e161101 [ACCEPTED]
  • Witek M., Ślipiński P., Trigos Peral G., Csata E. 2016. Consequences of the arms race between Maculinea teleius social parasite and Myrmica host ants for myrmecophilous butterfly conservation. Journal of Insect Conservation 20: 887–893.
  • Panagiotopoulou H., Baca M., Baca K., Sienkiewicz P., Ślipiński P., Żmihorski M. 2016. Genetic identification of a non-native species introgression into wild population of the field cricket Gryllus campestris (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) in Central Europe. European Journal of Entomology 113: 446-455.
  • Trigos Peral G., Markó B., Babik H., Tăuşan I., Maák I., Pálfi Z., Ślipiński P., Czekes Z., Czechowski W. 2016. Differential impact of two dominant Formica ant species (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) on subordinates in temperate Europe. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 50: 97-116.
  • Ślipiński P., Żmihorski M. 2016. Changes in the speed of ants as a result of aggressive interactions. Insect Science 00, 1–11, DOI 10.1111/1744-7917.1235
  • Żmihorski M., Ślipiński P. 2016. The importance of diurnal and nocturnal activity and interspecific interactions for space use by ants in clear-cuts. Ecological Entomology 41: 276–283.
  • Witek M., Ślipiński P., Naumiec K., Krupski A., Babik H., Walter B., Symonowicz B., Dubiec A. 2016. Performance of Myrmica ant colonies is correlated with the presence of social parasites. Ecological Entomology 41: 284–291.
  • Ślipiński P., Pomorski J. J., Kowalewska K. 2015. Heat shock proteins expression during thermal risk exposure in the xerothermic ant Formica cinerea. Sociobiology 62: 457-459.
  • Supplementary materials; Ślipiński P., Pomorski J. J., Kowalewska K. 2015. Heat shock proteins expression during thermal risk exposure in the xerothermic ant Formica cinerea. Sociobiology 62: 457-459.
  • Ślipiński P., Czechowski W., Markó B., Rzeszowski K., Babik H. 2014. Lasius fuliginosus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) shapes local ant assemblages. North-Western Journal of Zoology 10: 404-412.
  • Maák I., Markó B., Erős K., Babik H., Ślipiński P., Czechowski W. 2014. Cues or meaningless objects? Differential responses of the ant Formica cinerea to corpses of competitors and enslavers. Animal Behaviour 91: 53-59.
  • Czechowski W., Markó B., Radchenko A., Ślipiński P. 2013. Long-term partitioning of space between two territorial species of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and their effect on subordinate species. European Journal of Entomology 110: 327-337.
  • Ślipiński P., Żmihorski M., Czechowski W. 2012. Species diversity and nestedness of ant assemblages in an urban environment. European Journal of Entomology 109: 197-206.
  • Ślipiński P., Markó B., Czechowski W., Włodarczyk T. 2011. Space use in Formica sanguinea - my territory my kingdom? Entomologica Romanica 16.
  • Draber-Mońko A., Malewski T, Pomorski J., Łoś M., Ślipiński P. 2009. On the morphology and mitochondrial DNA barcoding of the flesh fly Sarcophaga (Liopygia) argyrostoma (Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830) (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) – an importand species in forensic entomology. Annales Zoologici 59: 465-493.



  • Czechowski W., Radchenko A., Ślipiński P. 2008. An unusual worker morph of Myrmica rugulosa Nyl. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). North-Western Journal of Zoology 4 (1): 42-49.


  • Czechowski W., Ślipiński P. 2008. No Lasius platythorax Seifert (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the urban greenery of Warsaw? Polish Journal of Ecology 56 (3): 541-544.


Other Publications

  1. Ślipiński P. 2015. Hunowie świata owadów. Wiedza i Życie 6: 60-63.
  2. Ślipiński P. 2014. Inżynierowie ekstremalni. Wiedza i Życie 7: 42-47.
  3. Ślipiński P. 2013. Ostateczny superorganizm. Wiedza i Życie 1: 50-55.
  4. Ślipiński P. 2012. Mrówki z rolniczym zacięciem. National Geographic Polska 11: 20-23.
  5. Ślipiński P. 2011. Rajd po niewloników. Wiedza i Życie. 11: 32-34.
  6. Ślipiński P. 2011. Cukier za Ochronę. Wiedza i Życie. 7: 58-59.
  7. Ślipiński P. 2010. Przyroda. National Geographic Polska 6: 28.
  8. Ślipiński P. 2010. Przyroda. National Geographic Polska 10: 24–25.
  9. Ślipiński P. 2009. Przyroda. National Geographic Polska 4.
  10. Ślipiński P. 2006. Żółw Błotny. Poznajmy Las 4: 14-16.



Conference presentations

  1. Ślipiński P., Żmihorski M.: „Variation in workers velocity during interactions". 6th Central European Workshop of Myrmecology" CEWM 2915. Debrecen, Hungary, 24-27.07.2015.
  2. Ślipiński P., Żmihorski M.: „Differences in behaviour of a subordinate ant species during interactions with the aggressive dominant”. Workshop of social evolution. Heishiding, China, 29.06.-4.07.2014.
  3. Ślipiński P.: „Świat mrówek”. Centrum Edukacji Leśnej, Nadleśnictwo Celestynów, Poland, 20.04.2013.
  4. Ślipiński P. Balint M., Czechowski W., Włodarczyk T.: „Space use in Formica sanguinea – My territory my kingdom?”. 4th Central European Workshop of Myrmecology, Cluj-Napoca, Rumunia, 15-19.09.2011.
  5. Ślipiński P.: Presja urbanizacyjna a zbiorowiska mrówek (referat). XVII Sympozjum Sekcji Hymenopterologicznej Polskiego Towarzystwa Entomologicznego, Ojców, 10–11.05.2010.
  6. Ślipiński P.: Lasius neglectus – inwazyjny gatunek mrówki w Europie; rozmieszczenie, elementy biologii, cechy charakterystyczne (referat). Konferencja: XVI Sympozjum Sekcji Hymenopterologicznej Polskiego Towarzystwa Entomologicznego, Ojców, 11–12.05.2009.
  7. Ślipiński P.: Reverse engineering in biology –  not only a digital platform. Tematyka: Polish – German – Portuguese EU – Grant Application Project (FP 7, FP 8). Action Plan for a Joint EU Research Proposal. First Joint Cooperation Workshop “Biodiversity – Patterns, Processes, Conservation”. Warszawa, Polska, 9–13.11.2009.
  8. Bogdanowicz W., Ślipiński P.: Copernicus tomb mystery. Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig. Bonn, Niemcy, 10.12.2009.


  1. Ślipiński P., Czechowski W., Żmihorski M.Species diversity of ant assemblages in urban environment”. 4th Central European Workshop of Myrmecology, Cluj-Napoca, Rumunia, 15-19.09.2011.



  1. Newsweek (1)
  2. Polska The Times  (2)
  3. Dziennik (1)


Research depatures

  1. Rumunia: Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj - Napoca, 21–30.07.2014. Research departure.
  2. Bulgaria: Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Sofia, 20–29.09.2013. Research departure.
  3. Romania: Babes-Bolyai University Faculty of Biology, 15–27.09.2011. Research departure.
  4. Romania: Babes-Bolyai University Faculty of Biology, 14–25.06.2010. Research departure.
  5. Romania: Babes-Bolyai University Faculty of Biology, 1–7.09.2009. Research departure.
  6. Finland: Tvärminne Zoological Station – University of Helsinki, 08–22.06.2009. Research departure.
  7. Romania: Babes-Bolyai University Faculty of Biology, 7-20.07.2008. Research departure.


   Piotr Slipinski - Nature Photgraphy

Nature Macrophotography



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 Main Research Interest

  •  social parasitism in ants
  •  myrmecophily
  •  interactions between ants and fungi
  •  ant biodiversity
  •  division of labour in social insects
  •  development of personality in ants



Current projects

  • Susceptibility of ant colonies for social parasitism and the impact of social parasites on host colony fitness (NCN: UMO-2012/04/S/NZ8/00218). In this project I study the effect of social parasites on ant colony fitness and arm race between Myrmica host ants and their social parasites Maculinea butterflies. I also try to look which ant colony traits can make them more prone for social parasitism.
  • Influence of goldenrod invasion on Myrmica ant colony life history traits.
  • Relationship between Myrmica ants and their parasitic fungus Rickia wasmannii.
  • Studies on inquiline social parasite- Myrmica karavajevi.



Sielezniew M., Patricelli D., Rutkowski R., Witek M., Bonelli S., Buś M.M. 2015. Population genetics of the endangered obligatorily myrmecophilous butterfly Phengaris (= Maculinea) arion in two areas of its European range. Insect Conservation and Diversity doi: 10.1111/icad.12129.


Witek M,Barbero F., Marko B.(2014) Myrmica ants host highly diverse parasitic communities: from social parasites to microbes. Insectes Sociaux, 61: 307-323.


Kajzer-Bonk J., Nowicki P., Bonk M., Skórka P., Witek M., Woyciechowski M. (2013). Local populations of endangered Maculinea (Phengaris) butterflies are flood resistant. Journal of Insect Conservation 17: 1105-1112.


Bonelli S., Vrabec V., Witek M., Barbero F., Patricelli D., Nowicki P. (2013) Selection on dispersal in isolated butterfly metapopulations. Population Ecology 55: 469-478.


Lenda M., Witek M., Skórka P, Moroń D, Woyciechowski M. (2013) Invasive alien plants affect grassland ant communities, colony size and foraging behavior. Biological Invasions, 15: 2403-2414.


Skórka P., Nowicki P., Kudłek J., Pępkowska A., Śliwińska E.B., Witek M., Settele J., Woyciechowski M. (2013) Movements and flight morphology in the endangered Large Blue butterflies. Central European Journal of Biology, 8: 662-669.


Skórka P., Nowicki P., Lenda M., Witek M., Śliwińska E.B., Settele J., Woyciechowski M. (2013) Different flight behaviour of the endangered scarce large blue butterfly Phengaris teleius (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) within and outside its habitat patches. Landscape Ecology, 28: 533-546.


Witek M., Casacci L.P., Barbero F., Patricelli D., Sala M., Bossi S., Maffei M., Woyciechowski M., Baletto E., Bonelli S. (2013) Interspecific relationships in co-occurring populations of social parasites and their host ants. Biological Journal of Linnean Society 109: 699-709.


Patricelli D., Sielezniew M., Ponikwicka-Tyszko D., Ratkiewicz M., Bonelli S., Barbero F., Witek M., Bus M., Rutkowski R., Balletto E. (2013) Contrasting genetic structure of rear edge and continuous range populations of a parasitic butterfly infected by Wolbachia. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13, article number 14. 


Witek M., Babik H., Czechowski W., Czechowska W. 2013. Myrmica karavajevi (Arn.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Poland: a species not as rare as it is thought to be? Fragmenta Faunistica, 56: 17–24.


Barbero F., Patricelli D., Witek M., Balletto E., Casacci P.L., Sala M., Bonelli S. (2012) Myrmica ants and their butterfly parasites with special focus on the acoustic communication Psyche special issue -Ants and their parasites, 2012: 11pp.


de Assis R.A., Bonelli S., Witek M.,  Barbero F., Casacci L.P., Balletto E., Venturino E., Ferreira W.C. (2012) A model for the evolution of parasite-host interactions based on the Maculinea-Myrmica system: Numerical simulations and multiple host behavior. Nonlinear Analysis-Real World Applications, 13: 1507-1524.


Witek M., Canterino S., Balletto E., Bonelli S. (2012) Life cycle and growth pattern of the endangered myrmecophilous Microdon myrmicae (Diptera: Syrphidae). European Journal of Entomology, 109 (3): 457-461.


Bonelli S., Barbero F., Casacci L.P., Cerrato C., Patricelli D., Vovlas A., Witek M., Balletto E. (2011) Butterfly diversity in a changing scenario. In: Changing diversity in changing environment, Eds. By Grill O, (Belgdar, INTECH Open Access Publisher), 99-132.


Particelli D., Barbero F., La Morgia V., Casacci L.P., Witek M., Balletto E., Bonelli S. (2011) To lay or not to lay: oviposition of Maculinea arion in relation to Myrmica ant presence and host plant phenology. Animal Behaviour, 82: 791-799.


Witek M., Skórka P., Śliwinska B.E., Nowicki P., Moroń D., Settele J., Woyciechowski M. (2011) Development of parasitc Maculinea teleius (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae) in laboratory nests of four Myrmica ant host species. Insectes Sociaux, 58: 403-411.


Bonelli S., Witek M., Canterino S., Sielezniew M., Stankiewicz-Fiedurek A., Tartally A., Balletto E., Schӧnrogge K. (2011) Distribution, host specificity and the potential for cryptic speciation in hoverfly Microdon myrmicae (Diptera: Syrphidae), a social parasite of Myrmica ants. Ecological Entomology, 36: 135-143.


Witek M., Particelli D., Casacci L.P., Barbero F., Balletto E., Bonelli S. (2011) Notes on the biology and host ant specificity of the myrmecohhilous syrphis fly Microdon major (Diptera: Syrphidae), a social parasite of Formica ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology, 57: 261-269.


Casacci L.P., Witek M., Barbero F, Patricelli D., Solazzo, G., Balletto E., Bonelli S. (2011) Habitat preferences of Maculinea arion and its Myrmica host ants: implications for habitat management in Italian Alps. Journal of Insect Conservation, 15 (1-2): 103-110.


Witek M., Nowicki P., Śliwinska B.E., Skórka P, Settele J, Schӧnrogge K, Woyciechowski M. (2010) Local host ant specificity of Phengaris (Maculinea) teleius butterfly, an obligatory social parasite of Myrmica ants. Ecological Entomology, 35: 557-564.



Patricelli D., Witek M., Barbero F., Casacci L.P., Bonelli S., Balletto E. (2010) Evidence

of high larval host ant specificity in the first post adoption phase for the myrmecophilous

butterfly Phengaris (Maculinea) nausithous (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Sociobiology, 55

(3): 861-870.


Sielezniew, M., Patricelli D., Dziekańska I., Barbero F., Casacci L.P., Witek M.,

Balletto E., Bonelli S. (2010) The first record of M. lonae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) as a host of socially parasitic Blue butterfly Phengaris (Maculinea) arion. Sociobiology, 56(2): 465-475.


Witek M., Śliwińska E. B., Skórka P., Nowicki P., Wantuch M., Vrabec V., Settele J.,

Woyciechowski M. (2008). Host ant specificity of Large Blue butterflies Phengaris

(Maculinea) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) inhabiting humid grasslands of East-central

Europe. European Journal of Entomology, 105: 871 – 877.


Śliwińska E. B., Witek M., Skórka P., Osikowski A., Woyciechowski M. (2008). The

frequency of multiple paternity in Myrmica scabrinodis from southern Poland.

Entomological Science, 11, 127-129.


Moron D., Witek M., Woyciechowski M. (2008). Division of labour among workers

with different life expectancy in ant Myrmica scabrinodis. Animal Behaviour, 75, 345-



Nowicki P, Pępkowska A, Kudłek J, Skórka P, Witek M, Settele J, Woyciechowski, M.

(2007). From metapopulation theory to conservation recommendations: lessons from spatial occurrence and abundance patterns of Maculinea butterflies. Biological Conservation, 140 (2), 119-129.


Witek M., Śliwinska E., Skórka P., Nowicki P., Settele J., Woyciechowski M (2006)

Polymorphic growth in larvae of Maculinea butterflies, as an example of biennialism in

myrmecophilous insects. Oecologia, 148, 729-733


Skórka P., Witek M., Woyciechowski M (2006) A simple and nondestructive method

for estimation of worker population size in Myrmica ant nests. Insectes Sociaux, 53: 97-



Śliwinska, E.B., Nowicki, P., Nash, D.R., Witek, M., Settele, J &Woyciechowski, M (2006) Morphology of caterpillars and pupae of European Maculinea species (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) with an identification table. Entomologica Fennica, 17: 351-358.


Nowicki P., Witek M., Skórka P., Woyciechowski M (2005) Oviposition patterns in

the myrmecophilous butterfly Maculinea alcon in relation to characteristic of foodplants

and presence of ant hosts. Polish Journal of Ecology, 53 (3): 409-417.


Nowicki P., Witek M., Skórka P., Woyciechowski M., Settele J (2005) Population

ecology of endangered butterflies Maculinea teleius and M. nausithous, and its

conservation implications. Population Ecology, 47 (3): 193-202. 


Dubiec A., Witek M., Cichoń M. (2005) Seasonal decline in leukocyte concentration

and reproductive output in female Great Tits. The Auk, 122 (3): 829-834.




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Main research interest: Biodiversity

Taxonomy of ants

Ants biodiversity research

Urban Ecology of ants

Ants as bioindicator group in natural and urban environments


PhD thesis: “Role Of Urban Green Spaces In Global Strategies Of Conservation Using Ants As Bioindicators”

Master thesis: “First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Campillos Lagoons Nature Reserve (Malaga)”

Conference presentations

Trigos Peral G & Reyes-López JL (September, 2013). Formícidos del Campus de Rabanales de la Universidad de Córdoba (Andalucía, España). Póster. Sevilla, España.

Trigos Peral G, Reyes-López JL & Witek M (March, 2015). First list of ants of Natural Park of Sierra Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama (Andalusia, Spain): A new environment to discover. Póster. Lichtenfels, Germany.

Trigos Peral G, Babik H, Grzés I, Morón D, Casacci LP, Walter B, Ślipiński P, Witek M (March, 2013). Influence of goldenrod invasion on ant species diversity and colony life history traits. Ponencia. Lichtenfels, Germany.

Trigos Peral G & Reyes-López JL (August, 2015). Ants in urban green: Their relationship with the environment in a 10-year study in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Ponencia. Debrecen, Hungary.