Behavioural Ecology 

  Prey that frighten their predators: Deimatic display in the mountain katydid (Acripeza reticulata) Team: Johanna Mappes University of Jyväskylä, Finland and Sebastiano De Bona University of Jyväskylä, Finland, Tonya Haff, Western Sydney University, Tom White, Macquarie University. Warning colours should prevent prey from being attacked, so how come mountain katydids are cryptic before they are attacked and only reveal their colours afterwards? Together with Johanna Mappes and Sebastiano De Bona, in a project funded by the Hermon Slade Foundation, we are using behavioural assays, spectrophotometry, toxicology, field-based predation trials and mechanical models to try and explain this paradoxical display.

 

Prey that frighten their predators: Deimatic display in the mountain katydid (Acripeza reticulata)

Team: Johanna Mappes University of Jyväskylä, Finland and Sebastiano De Bona University of Jyväskylä, Finland, Tonya Haff, Western Sydney University, Tom White, Macquarie University.

Warning colours should prevent prey from being attacked, so how come mountain katydids are cryptic before they are attacked and only reveal their colours afterwards? Together with Johanna Mappes and Sebastiano De Bona, in a project funded by the Hermon Slade Foundation, we are using behavioural assays, spectrophotometry, toxicology, field-based predation trials and mechanical models to try and explain this paradoxical display.

  Deimatic displays in the praying mantises Collaborators: James O'Hanlon, Kate Barry and Darshana Rathnayake, Macquarie University Among the most impressive of defensive displays are those of the praying mantises. These stealthy predators are veracious hunters, but are also palatable prey for many predators. Mantises are not toxic and rely on camouflage as a primary defence but once detected can change their posture to reveal conspicuous colour patterns. We are reconstructing the evolutionary history of deimatic displays in praying mantises and in addition are conducting experiments on three species to determine what stimuli trigger praying mantises to perform their display.

 

Deimatic displays in the praying mantises

Collaborators: James O'Hanlon, Kate Barry and Darshana Rathnayake, Macquarie University

Among the most impressive of defensive displays are those of the praying mantises. These stealthy predators are veracious hunters, but are also palatable prey for many predators. Mantises are not toxic and rely on camouflage as a primary defence but once detected can change their posture to reveal conspicuous colour patterns. We are reconstructing the evolutionary history of deimatic displays in praying mantises and in addition are conducting experiments on three species to determine what stimuli trigger praying mantises to perform their display.

 
Life-saving tongues: Do blue tongues tongues save their lives? Collaborators: Martin Whiting, Sergio Naretto, William Bailes, and David Inglis, Macquarie University. We are entering the wonderful world of the Tiliqua skinks with a project on the protective value of their colourful tongue displays. Naturally this project involves some robotics and some kookaburras. One thing's for sure, we will be working flat out, like a lizard drinking.

Life-saving tongues: Do blue tongues tongues save their lives?

Collaborators: Martin Whiting, Sergio Naretto, William Bailes, and David Inglis, Macquarie University.

We are entering the wonderful world of the Tiliqua skinks with a project on the protective value of their colourful tongue displays. Naturally this project involves some robotics and some kookaburras. One thing's for sure, we will be working flat out, like a lizard drinking.

Protecting reintroduced corroboree frogs from predation Collaborators: JP Lawrence University of Mississippi, Phil Byrne University of Wollongong. Following the wonderful success of breeding programs around the country, how well will the world's most endangered frog fare upon being reintroduced into the alps? We are interested increasing our understanding of the natural history of the corroboree frog to ensure we understand all the threats they face.  

Protecting reintroduced corroboree frogs from predation

Collaborators: JP Lawrence University of Mississippi, Phil Byrne University of Wollongong.


Following the wonderful success of breeding programs around the country, how well will the world's most endangered frog fare upon being reintroduced into the alps? We are interested increasing our understanding of the natural history of the corroboree frog to ensure we understand all the threats they face.  

The adaptive significance of fighting in male grasshoppers Collaborator: Marie Herberstein, Macquarie University During her PhD Kate discovered male grasshoppers fighting over ovipositing females. This was exciting because before this grasshoppers were known for avoiding conflict. Kate conducted a series of experiments to try to get at what was driving these fights, female preference or male conflict. Now Nikolai Tatarnic, Peter Mahoney, Giselle Muschett and are continuing to look into male choice, female condition and paternity analyses to tie down why these grasshoppers fight.

The adaptive significance of fighting in male grasshoppers

Collaborator: Marie Herberstein, Macquarie University

During her PhD Kate discovered male grasshoppers fighting over ovipositing females. This was exciting because before this grasshoppers were known for avoiding conflict. Kate conducted a series of experiments to try to get at what was driving these fights, female preference or male conflict. Now Nikolai Tatarnic, Peter Mahoney, Giselle Muschett and are continuing to look into male choice, female condition and paternity analyses to tie down why these grasshoppers fight.