Erin Christine Powell

Erin Christine Powell
University of Florida | UF · Department of Entomology and Nematology

PhD Biological Sciences

About

12
Publications
1,325
Reads
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86
Citations
Introduction
I am a behavioural and evolutionary ecologist/entomologist/arachnologist currently working as a post-doc at the University of Florida. My PhD work focused on the evolution of exaggerated weaponry in harvestmen (Opiliones, Neopilionidae).
Additional affiliations
August 2014 - November 2016
University of Florida
Position
  • Outreach and Education coordinator
Education
December 2016 - January 2020
University of Auckland
Field of study
  • Biology (Behavioural and evoluntionary ecology)
August 2014 - August 2016
University of Florida
Field of study
  • Entomology
August 2011 - May 2014
University of Florida
Field of study

Publications

Publications (12)
Article
Intense sexual selection on males may drive the evolution of exaggerated weaponry, typically used in contests for females or reproductive sites. In some species, males have discontinuous variation in weapon morphology that is accompanied by alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs). Major males with enlarged weapons usually exhibit a mating tactic ba...
Article
Larger individuals typically have lower mass‐specific metabolic rates compared to small ones (hypometric scaling). This trend is most evident across species where body‐size differences can be extreme. Yet, within‐species studies are critical to decipher the morphological and physiological mechanisms responsible. However, the relatively small range...
Article
Full-text available
To avoid predation, many animals mimic behaviours and/or coloration of dangerous prey. Here we examine potential sex-specific mimicry in the jumping spider Habronattus pyrrithrix . Previous work proposed that males' conspicuous dorsal coloration paired with characteristic leg-waving (i.e. false antennation) imperfectly mimics hymenopteran insects (...
Article
Aposematic signals often allow chemically defended prey to avoid attack from generalist predators, including jumping spiders. However, not all individual predators in a population behave in the same way. Here, in laboratory trials, we document that most individual Phidippus regius jumping spiders attack and reject chemically defended milkweed bugs...
Article
In many species, competition for mates has led to exaggerated male sexually-selected traits. Sexually-selected male weapons are used in male-male combat and include structures like horns, antlers and enlarged teeth. Weapons often vary intraspecifically in size, resulting in either a continuum of weapon sizes or in discrete male polymorphisms. More...
Article
In many species, competition for mates has led to exaggerated male sexually-selected traits. Sexually-selected male weapons are used in male-male combat and include structures like horns, antlers and enlarged teeth. Weapons often vary intraspecifically in size, resulting in either a continuum of weapon sizes or in discrete male polymorphisms. More...
Article
Sexually selected weapons often function as honest signals of fighting ability. If poor-quality individuals produce high-quality weapons, then receivers should focus on other, more reliable signals. Cost is one way to maintain signal integrity. The costs of weapons tend to increase with relative weapon size, and thereby restrict large weapons to hi...
Article
Full-text available
Predators often avoid aposematic prey as a result of aversions to particular prey signals (e.g., bright colours and noxious odours). These aversions may be flexible, that is, they can be reinforced or extinguished with experience. As such, we might expect populations to differ in their biases against certain prey characteristics (e.g., colour or pa...
Article
Full-text available
Individual foraging specialization describes the phenomenon where conspecifics within a population of generalists exhibit differences in foraging behavior, each specializing on different prey types. Individual specialization is widespread in animals, yet is understudied in invertebrates, despite potential impacts to food web and population dynamics...
Article
Full-text available
Male courtship display is common in many animals; in some cases, males engage in courtship indiscriminately, spending significant time and energy courting heterospecifics with whom they have no chance of mating or producing viable offspring. Due to high costs and few if any benefits, we might expect mechanisms to evolve to reduce such misdirected c...
Data
Variation in coloration in male Habronattus hirsutus. (a) Male H. hirsutus with a completely black face (a) and a male H. hirsutus with a bright red facial patch (b). Over 95% of the males observed in our focal population at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area (RSHRA) population were the black-faced form but occasionally males with bright red f...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
Males of many groups display exaggerated structures used in male-male combat to access mates. I am investigating sexual selection in an exciting group of harvestmen where males brandish chelicera comprising over 50% of their total body weight. Furthermore, the males of at least two species exhibit a weapon trimorphism with three discrete morphs where weapons differ in shape and size. I am utilizing behavioural, physiological, and morphological approaches to investigate the evolution and maintenance of weapons in this group.