Kate D L Umbers

Kate D L Umbers
Western Sydney University · School of Science and Health

BPol, BSc(Hons), PhD

About

92
Publications
19,145
Reads
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1,052
Citations
Additional affiliations
February 2015 - present
Western Sydney University
Position
  • Lecturer
June 2013 - February 2015
University of Wollongong
Position
  • Vice Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow
January 2013 - June 2013
Macquarie University
Position
  • Lecturer

Publications

Publications (92)
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Although females rarely experience strong mate limitation, delays or lifelong problems of mate acquisition are detrimental to female fitness. In systems where males search for females via pheromone plumes, it is often difficult to assess whether female signaling is costly. Direct costs include the energetics of pheromone production and att...
Article
Full-text available
Umbers et al. introduce the biology of deimatic (frightening) visual displays used by animals. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Article
Full-text available
Prey use many strategies to avoid being detected by their predators. However, once detected and identified as potentially palatable, prey must employ a second line of defence such as performing a deimatic (startle) display. During the predation sequence, composed of the stages encounter, detection, identification, approach, subjugation and consumpt...
Article
The mechanisms and functions of reversible colour change in arthropods are highly diverse despite, or perhaps due to, the presence of an exoskeleton. Physiological colour changes, which have been recorded in 90 arthropod species, are rapid and are the result of changes in the positioning of microstructures or pigments, or in the refractive index of...
Article
Deimatic behaviours, also referred to as startle behaviours, are used against predators and rivals. Although many are spectacular, their proximate and ultimate causes remain unclear. In this review we aim to synthesise what is known about deimatic behaviour and identify knowledge gaps. We propose a working hypothesis for deimatic behaviour, and dis...
Article
Deimatic behaviour is performed by prey when attacked by predators as part of an antipredator strategy. The behaviour is part of a sequence that consists of several defences, for example they can be preceded by camouflage and followed by a hidden putatively aposematic signal that is only revealed when the deimatic behaviour is performed. When displ...
Article
Full-text available
How and when deimatic behaviours are performed can change during encounters between predators and prey. Some predators attack repeatedly, investigating and manipulating prey, and in response, an individual’s deimatic behaviour may intensify or may diminish in favour of escaping. The presence of a resource can further force a trade-off between displ...
Article
Full-text available
Many aposematic species show variation in their color patterns even though selection by predators is expected to stabilize warning signals toward a common phenotype. Warning signal variability can be explained by trade‐offs with other functions of coloration, such as thermoregulation, that may constrain warning signal expression by favoring darker...
Article
Full-text available
The underlying drivers of variation in the colouration (colour and pattern) of animals can be genetic, non‐genetic, or more likely, a combination of both. Understanding the role of heritable genetic elements, as well as non‐genetic factors such as age, habitat or temperature, in shaping colouration can provide insight into the evolution and functio...
Article
The true biodiversity of Australia’s alpine and subalpine endemics is unknown. Genetic studies to date have focused on sub-regions and restricted taxa, but even so, indicate deep divergences across small geographic scales and therefore that the bulk of biodiversity remains to be discovered. We aimed to study the phylogeography of the Australian Alp...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual signals are often central to reproduction, and their expression is thought to strike a balance between advertising to mates and avoiding detection by predatory eavesdroppers. Tests of the predicted predation costs have produced mixed results, however. Here we synthesized 187 effects from 78 experimental studies in a meta-analytic test of two...
Article
Full-text available
The evolution of male-male aggression is of interest because at its extreme it can be very energetically costly, leave males vulnerable to preadtors, and give rise to weaponry such as exaggerated traits. In grasshoppers (Acrididae), one group stands out as exceptionally aggressive, the skyhoppers ( Kosciuscola ) in which males bite, kick, mandible...
Article
Invertebrates make up the vast majority of fauna species but are often overlooked in impact assessment and conservation response. The extent to which the 2019–2020 Australian megafires overlapped with the range of vertebrate species has been well documented; consequently, substantial resourcing has been directed towards their recovery. Here, we att...
Article
Full-text available
The incubation capacity hypothesis states that clutch size is limited by the number of eggs an adult can successfully incubate due to the individual’s morphology and physiology. Clutch size may be reduced in females because of the costs of egg production or in both parents due to the need to provide post-hatching care of young, complicating the tes...
Article
The Australian skyhopper genus Kosciuscola Sjöstedt consists of brachypterous species that inhabit the Australian alpine and subalpine region. The genus used to include 5 species and 1 subspecies, but according to a recent phylogenomic study, there could be as many as 14 species in the genus, that are genetically and geographically isolated from ea...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation managers are under increasing pressure to make decisions about the allocation of finite resources to protect biodiversity under a changing climate. However, the impacts of climate and global change drivers on species are outpacing our capacity to collect the empirical data necessary to inform these decisions. This is particularly the c...
Article
Full-text available
The combined use of noxious chemical defences and conspicuous warning colours is a ubiquitous anti-predator strategy. That such signals advertise the presence of defences is inherent to their function, but their predicted potential for quantitative honesty-the positive scaling of signal salience with the strength of protection-is the subject of end...
Article
Full-text available
• Understanding how increasing risk of frequent and severe fires affects biodiversity and ecosystem function is important for effective conservation and recovery, but large knowledge gaps exist for many taxa in many parts of the world, especially invertebrates. • After Australia's 2019–2020 catastrophic bushfire disaster, estimates of biodiversity...
Article
Seasonal snow is among the most important factors governing the ecology of many terrestrial ecosystems, but rising global temperatures are changing snow regimes and driving widespread declines in the depth and duration of snow cover. Loss of the insulating snow layer will fundamentally change the environment. Understanding how individuals, populati...
Preprint
Full-text available
Conservation managers are under increasing pressure to make decisions about the allocation of finite resources to protect biodiversity under a changing climate. However, the impacts of climate and global change drivers on species are outpacing our capacity to collect the empirical data necessary to inform these decisions. This is particularly the c...
Article
Full-text available
Anti-predator defences are typically regarded as relatively static signals that conceal prey or advertise their unprofitability. However, startle displays are complex performances that deter or confuse predators and can include a spectacular array of movements, colours and sounds. Yet, we do not fully understand the mechanisms by which they functio...
Article
Full-text available
The defensive repertoires of prey are shaped by diverse ecological and evolutionary demands. This can generate trade-offs between the components of defences, as in the classic ‘fight or flight’ dichotomy, or dedicated investment in a singular end, allowing individuals in better condition to mount a more effective defence all round. Further, sexual...
Article
Full-text available
After decades of near‐complete extirpation, the yellow‐and‐black‐striped Southern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) is being reintroduced into field enclosures that exclude all but avian predators. The frog's long absence means avian attack risk to reintroduced individuals is unknown, so we asked: does corroboree frog coloration make them v...
Article
Full-text available
Predation has driven the evolution of diverse adaptations for defence among prey, and one striking example is the deimatic display. While such displays can resemble, or indeed co-occur with, aposematic ‘warning’ signals, theory suggests deimatic displays may function independently of predator learning. The survival value of deimatic displays agains...
Article
Full-text available
Investigating the stimuli that elicit dynamic defensive displays can indicate when throughout the predation sequence prey are likely to perform them. This is crucial to understanding whether these displays function as classic deimatic ‘startle’ displays, facultative aposematism or aid in facilitation of predator learning. We investigated the trigge...
Article
Full-text available
Color variation in aposematic (conspicuous and defended) prey should be suppressed by frequency-based selection by predators. However selection of color traits is confounded by the fact that coloration also plays an important role in many biological processes, and warning coloration may be constrained by biotic or abotic factors. Temperature, in pa...
Article
In many species, males can increase their fitness by mating with the highest quality females. Female quality can be indicated by cues, such as body size, age and mating status. In the alpine grasshopper Kosciuscola tristis, males can be found riding on subadult females early in the season, and as the season progresses, males engage in fights over o...
Article
Full-text available
Throughout the breeding season, changing environmental and biological conditions can lead to variation in the reproductive landscape of many species. In alpine environments temperature is a key driver of behaviour for small ectotherms such as insects, but variable biotic factors such as mate quality and availability can also influence behaviour. Ko...
Data
Female aggression. Number of female-male aggressive behaviours per trail per period. (XLSX)
Data
Mating activity. Mating frequency (number of matings) per trial per period. (XLSX)
Data
Preliminary assessment of the operational sex ratio of K. tristis on Dead Horse Gap Trail, during Periods 1, 2, and 3. Mean number of adult K. tristis grasshoppers in a 1 x 1m quadrat during a 10min interval, at three different locations along Dead Horse Gap Trail during each of the sampling periods. M refers to males, F refers to females. (XLSX)
Data
Male-male aggression. Number of male-male aggressive behaviours per trial per period. (XLSX)
Data
Temperature data from the Bureau of Meteorology of Australia. Temperature data for the 2013–2014 growing/breeding season from the Thredbo Top Station (station number 071032). (XLSX)
Data
Latency to mate. Latency of first mating per trial per period. (XLSX)
Data
Male and female size data. Correlation between mean male pronotum and femur length per trail and female size per trial. (XLSX)
Data
Female weight. Female weight per trail per period. (XLSX)
Data
Egg number. Number of mature ovarioles per female (per trial) per period. (XLSX)
Data
Egg weight. Weight of mature ovarioles per female (per trial) per period. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
Deimatic or 'startle' displays cause a receiver to recoil reflexively in response to a sudden change in sensory input. Deimatism is sometimes implicitly treated as a form of aposematism (unprofitability associated with a signal). However, the fundamental difference is, in order to provide protection, deimatism does not require a predator to have an...
Article
In the wild, male chameleon grasshoppers (Kosciuscola tristis) are frequently observed mounted on the back of females even when not in copula, and will fight off other usurping males. If this behaviour is mate guarding and reflects investment in male mate choice, then we expect males to preferably guard females based on reliable cues of quality. Cu...
Article
We document putative food-dunking behaviour in the Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen. While conducting an experiment on the Mountain Katydid Acripeza reticulata, we presented one to a wild adult Magpie, which appeared to conduct ‘dunking behaviour’ while processing the insect. The Magpie carried the katydid to a puddle of water, dunked the katyd...
Article
Animal coloration can be the result of many interconnected elements, including the production of colour-producing molecules de novo, as well as the acquisition of pigments from the diet. When acquired through the diet, carotenoids (a common class of pigments) can influence yellow, orange, and red coloration and enhanced levels of carotenoids can re...
Article
Kahle and Umbers introduce the ways by which organisms emit light though chemical reactions.
Article
Full-text available
Correspondence: K. Umbers, School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Hawkesbury, Richmond, NSW 2753, Australia.
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of behaviours, including sex-biased dispersal and kin-association, provides important insight into the costs and benefits of group-living. Such behaviours can be difficult to observe directly, but have quantifiable genetic signatures that allow us to determine their occurrence within and among groups. The mourning cuttlefish Sepia plangon...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral data are notable for presenting challenges to their statistical analysis, often due to the difficulties in measuring behavior on a quantitative scale. Instead, a range of qualitative alternative responses is recorded. These can often be understood as the outcome of a sequence of binary decisions. For example, faced by a predator, an indi...
Article
Full-text available
In alpine Australia, Orthoptera are abundant, dominant herbivores, important prey species, and hosts for parasites and parasitoids. Despite the central role of orthopterans in alpine ecosystems, the impact of parasites on orthopteran populations is under-explored. In this study we describe the relationship between parasite prevalence and host sex,...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mountain landscapes are topographically complex, creating discontinuous `islands¿ of alpine and sub-alpine habitat with a dynamic history. Changing climatic conditions drive their expansion and contraction, leaving signatures on the genetic structure of their flora and fauna. Australia¿s high country covers a small, highly fragmented are...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual selection theory predicts different optima for multiple mating in males and females. We used mating experiments and genetic paternity testing to disentangle pre- and postcopulatory mechanisms of sexual selection and alternate reproductive tactics in the highly promiscuous lizard Eulamprus heatwolei. Both sexes mated multiply: 30–60 % of clut...
Article
Full-text available
Bright colours often communicate important information between conspecifics. In sexually dichromatic species where males exhibit bright colours, two hypotheses are often invoked to explain the function of the colour. First, if a male’s bright colour contains information about his quality, females may prefer brighter males. Equally, male colour may...
Data
Full-text available
Diversity and speciation in Australia's alpine biota are poorly understood. Here we present a molecular phylogeny of the Australian alpine grasshopper genus Kosciuscola (Sjösted) that currently includes five described species. These grasshoppers are of interest not only because of their alpine distribution but also for the extraordinary colour chan...
Article
Full-text available
Diversity and speciation in Australia's alpine biota are poorly understood. Here we present a molecular phylogeny of the Australian alpine grasshopper genus Kosciuscola (Sjösted) that currently includes five described species. These grasshoppers are of interest not only because of their alpine distribution but also for the extraordinary colour chan...
Article
Full-text available
A set of polymorphic loci was characterised using an enrichment library for the Australian alpine specialist, the chameleon grasshopper (Kosciuscola tristis), an atypical grasshopper known for its remarkable temperature-controlled colour change. The number of alleles per locus ranged from three to 20 and observed heterozygosity from 0.16 to 0.76. T...
Article
Full-text available
Contests among individuals over mating opportunities are common across diverse taxa, yet physical conflict is relatively rare. Due to the potentially fatal consequences of physical fighting, most animals employ mechanisms of conflict resolution involving signalling and ritualistic assessment. Here we provide the first evidence of ubiquitous escalat...
Data
The first part of this recording shows a common bout of fighitng between male Kosciuscola tristis. Three males are primarily involved in the fight with four surrounding. During the fighitng the female’s oviposition is interrupted. The second recording shows a defending male and a challenger with the defending male using mandible display. The challe...
Article
Bright colouration in animals has long attracted the attention of physicists, chemists and biologists. As such, studies on the functions of colours are interdisciplinary, focusing on the mechanisms of colour production and maintenance, the physical and chemical properties of the colour-producing elements, and visual systems and behaviour of potenti...
Article
Full-text available
Empirical studies of the determinants of contests have been attempting to unravel the complexity of animal contest behaviour for decades. This complexity requires that experiments incorporate multiple determinants into studies to tease apart their relative effects. In this study we examined the complex contest behaviour of the tawny dragon (Ctenoph...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics is important for many animals, especially territorial species since it allows them to avoid unnecessary interactions with individuals that pose little threat. There are very few studies, however, that identify the proximate cues that facilitate such recognition in visual system...
Data
##Assembly-Data-START## Assembly Method :: geneious v. 2.5.6 Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##
Article
Full-text available
In antagonistic encounters individuals' displays reflect both the quality of the resource under dispute and their perception of the threat posed by their rival. All else being equal, as the value or threat to contested resources increases, so should an individual's level of aggression. Using a territorial species of Australian agamid lizard, the ta...
Article
Full-text available
We isolated 25 new polymorphic microsatellite markers from the eastern mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki. Initially, 454 shotgun sequencing was used to identify 1187 loci for which primers could be designed. Of these 1187, we trialled 48 in the target species, 40 of which amplified a product of expected size. Subsequently, those 40 loci were screene...