© Gudrun Herzner


PD Dr. Gudrun Herzner


Department for Zoology

University of Regensburg

93040 Regensburg


Phone: +49-941-943-2997

Email: gudrun.herzner[at]biologie.uni-regensburg.de


Current research

My major research interests are in the area of antimicrobial defense strategies in insects. I use a combination of behavioral, histological, chemical, microbiological and molecular genetic approaches to address these questions, using parasitoid and predatory wasps like the emerald cockroach wasp (or Juwelwasp) Ampulex compressa (Hymenoptera: Ampulicidae) and the European beewolf Philanthus triangulum (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae) as model systems.

My second field of interest is the evolution, phylogenetic distribution and function of the postpharyngeal gland (a head gland) in Hymenoptera, including its role in the evolution of sociality. The postpharyngeal gland has long been thought to occur only in ants, where it mediates nestmate recognition and has thus mainly a "social" function. We found that solitary parasitoid wasps also possess postpharyngeal glands with very different functions.


Curriculum vitae


as of 2015

Assistant Professor (Akademsiche Oberrätin a.Z.) at Regensburg University

2012 - 2015

Assistant Professor (Akademsiche Rätin a.Z.) at Regensburg University


Habilitation in Zoology

2004 - 2012

Assistant Professor (Hochschulassistentin) at Regensburg University

December 2004

PhD; PhD thesis: “Evolution of the Pheromone Communication System in the European Beewolf Philanthus triangulum F. (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae)”

2003 - 2004

Research Associate at Wolfgang Rössler's Lab at the Department of Behavioural Physiology and Sociobiology, Würzburg, University

2000 – 2003

Doctoral position within the SFB [Collaborative Research Center] 554 (Project B3) in Erhard Strohm’s lab at the Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, and in Peter Schreier's Lab at the Department of Food Chemistry, Würzburg University


Diplom (MSc) in Biology at Würzburg University; Diploma thesis: “Variables elterliches Investment und Phänotypische Plastizität des Dungkäfers Onthophagus taurus Schreber, 1759 (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)” [Variable parental investment and phenotypic plasticity in the dung beetle Onthophagus taurus]

August 1998 – August 1999

Academic year at Duke University, NC, USA: Fellowship granted by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and the Duke Graduate School

March 1998 – May 1998

Practical course at the Ivory Coast (Comoé National Park), West Africa: Investigations on the chemical ecology of dung beetles

April 1997 – September 1997

Volunteering as field assistant in a project in Venezuela (Embalse de Guri): Investigation of patterns and processes in the distribution and abundance of frugivorous butterflies in tropical dry forest fragments; with Ghazala Shahabuddin and John Terborgh, Duke University and Center for Tropical Conservation Biology, North Carolina, USA

1994 – 2000

Study of Biology at Würzburg University (with focus on Animal Physiology, Animal Ecology, Biochemistry, and Human Genetics)


Strohm E, Herzner G, Ruther J, Kaltenpoth M, Engl T (2019 in press) eLife 2019;8:e43718. Nitric oxide radicals are emitted by wasp eggs to kill mold fungi. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.43718.

Weiss K, Herzner G, Strohm E (2017) Sexual selection and the evolution of male pheromone glands in philanthine wasps (Hymenoptera, Crabronidae). BMC Evolutionary Biology (2017) 17:128

Stökl J, Herzner G (2016) Morphology and ultrastructure of the allomone and sex-pheromone producing mandibular gland of the parasitoid wasp Leptopilina heterotoma (Hymenoptera: Figitidae). Arthropod Structure & Development: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asd.2016.06.003

Weiss K, Strohm E, Kaltenpoth M, Herzner G (2015) Comparative morphology of the postpharyngeal gland in the Philanthinae (Hymenoptera, Crabronidae) and the evolution of an antimicrobial brood protection mechanism. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15: 291. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/15/291

Herzner G (2014) Antimicrobial defense strategies in two solitary wasp species. Entomologie heute 26: 1-17.

Weiss K, Parzefall C, Herzner G (2014) Multifaceted Defense against Antagonistic Microbes in Developing Offspring of the Parasitoid Wasp Ampulex compressa (Hymenoptera, Ampulicidae). PLoS ONE 9(6): e98784. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098784.

Kaltenpoth M, Roeser-Mueller K, Koehler S, Peterson A, Nechitaylo T, Stubblefield JW, Herzner G, Seger J, Strohm E (2014). Partner choice and fidelity stabilize co-evolution in a Cretaceous-age defensive symbiosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 111: 6359-6364.

Herzner G (2014) Wie schützen sich Larven der Juwelwespe vor schädlichen Mikroben? BIOSpektrum 20(2): 142-143.

Herzner G, Kaltenpoth M, Poettinger T, Weiss K, Koedam D, Kroiss J, Strohm E (2013) Morphology, chemistry and function of the postpharyngeal gland in the South American digger wasps Trachypus boharti and Trachypus elongatus. PLoS ONE 8(12): e82780. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082780.

Uma D, Durkee C, Herzner G, Weiss M (2013) Double deception: ant-micking spiders elude both visually- and chemically-oriented predators. PLoS ONE 8 (11): e79660.

Herzner G, Schlecht A, Dollhofer V, Parzefall C, Harrar K, Kreuzer A, Pilsl L, Ruther J (2013) Larvae of the parasitoid wasp Ampulex compressa sanitize their host, the American cockroach, with a blend of antimicrobials. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110 (4): 1369-1374.

Kaltenpoth M, Yildirim E, Gürbüz M, Herzner G, Strohm E (2012) Refining the roots of the beewolf-Streptomyces symbiosis: Antennal symbionts in the rare genus Philanthinus (Hymenoptera, Crabronidae). Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78 (3): 822-827.

Herzner G, Engl T, Strohm E (2011). The cryptic combat against competing microbes is a costly component of parental care in a digger wasp. Animal Behaviour 82: 321-328.

Herzner G, Ruther J, Goller S, Schulz S, Goettler W, Strohm E (2011) Structure, chemical composition and putative function of the postpharyngeal gland of the Emerald cockroach wasp, Ampulex compressa (Hymenoptera, Ampulicidae). Zoology 114: 36-45.

Strohm E, Kaltenpoth M, Herzner G (2010) Is the postpharyngeal gland of a solitary digger wasp homologous to ants? Evidence from chemistry and physiology. Insectes Sociaux 57:285-291.

Herzner G, Strohm E (2008). Food wrapping by females of the European beewolf Philanthus triangulum retards water loss of larval provisions. Physiological Entomology 33: 101-109.

Strohm E, Herzner G, Kaltenpoth M, Boland W, Schreier P, Geiselhardt S, Peschke K, Schmitt T (2008). The chemistry of the postpharyngeal gland of female European beewolves (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology 34: 575-583.

Oettler J, Schmitt T, Herzner G, Heinze J (2008). Chemical profiles of mated and virgin queens, egg-laying intermorphs and workers of the ant Crematogaster smithi. Journal of Insect Physiology 54: 672-679.

Strohm E, Kroiss J, Herzner G, Laurien-Kehnen C, Boland W, Schreier P, Schmitt T (2008). A cuckoo in wolves' clothing? Chemical mimicry in a specialized cuckoo wasp of the European beewolf (Hymenoptera, Chrysididae and Crabronidae). Frontiers in Zoology 5:2.

Herzner G, Goettler W, Kroiss J, Purea A, Webb A, Jakob PM., Rössler W, Strohm E (2007). Males of a solitary wasp possess a postpharyngeal gland. Arthropod Structure & Development 36: 123-133.

Strohm E, Herzner G, Goettler W (2007). A "social" gland in a solitary wasp? The postpharyngeal gland of female European beewolves (Hymenoptera, Crabronidae). Arthropod Structure & Development 36: 113-122.

Schmitt T, Herzner G, Weckerle B, Schreier P, Strohm E (2007). Volatiles of foraging honeybees Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and their potential role as semiochemicals. Apidologie 38 (2): 164-170.

Herzner G, Schmitt T, Peschke K, Hilpert A, Strohm E (2007). Food wrapping with the post pharyngeal gland secretion by females of the european beewolf Philanthus triangulum. Journal of Chemical Ecology 33 (4): 849-859.

Herzner G, Strohm E (2007). Fighting fungi with physics: food wrapping by a solitary wasp prevents water condensation. Current Biology 17: R46-R47.

Goettler W, Kaltenpoth M, Herzner G, Strohm E (2007). Morphology and ultrastructure of a bacteria cultivation organ: The antennal glands of female European beewolves, Philanthus triangulum (Hymenoptera, Crabronidae). Arthropod Structure & Development 36: 1-9.

Kroiss J, Schmitt T, Schreier P, Strohm E, Herzner G (2006). A selfish function of a social gland? A postpharyngeal gland functions as sex pheromone reservoir in males of a solitary wasp. Journal of Chemical Ecology 32: 2763-2776.

Herzner G, Schmitt T, Heckel F, Schreier P, Strohm E (2006). Brothers smell similar: Variation in the sex pheromone of male European Beewolves and its implications for inbreeding avoidance. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 89: 433-442.

Kaltenpoth M, Göttler W, Dale C, Stubblefield JW, Herzner G, Roeser-Mueller K, Strohm E (2006). 'Candidatus Streptomyces philanthi', an endosymbiotic streptomycete in the antennae of Philanthus digger wasps. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 56 (6): 1403-1411.

Herzner G, Schmitt T, Linsenmair KE, Strohm E (2005). Prey recognition by females of the European beewolf and its potential for a sensory trap. Animal Behaviour 70: 1411-1418.

Kaltenpoth M, Göttler W, Herzner G, Strohm E (2005). Symbiotic bacteria protect wasp larvae from fungal infestation. Current Biology 15: 475-479.

Herzner G, Schmitt T, Linsenmair KE, Strohm E (2003). Flagellar sensilla in male and female European beewolves, Philanthus triangulum F. (Hymenoptera : Sphecidae). Entomologica Fennica 14: 237-247.

Schmitt T, Strohm E, Herzner G, Bicchi C, Krammer G, Heckel F, Schreier P (2003). (S)-2,3-dihydrofarnesoic acid, a new component in cephalic glands of male European beewolves Philanthus triangulum. Journal of Chemical Ecology 29: 2469-2479.

Shahabuddin G, Herzner G, Aponte C, Gomez MD (2000). Persistence of a frugivorous butterfly species in Venezuelan forest fragments: the role of movement and habitat quality. Biodiversity and Conservation 9: 1623-1641.