Marie E. Herberstein

Marie E. Herberstein
Macquarie University · Department of Biological Sciences

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160
Publications
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Publications

Publications (160)
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
Full-text available
Building behaviour in animals extends biological functions beyond bodies. Many studies have emphasized the role of behavioural programmes, physiology and extrinsic factors for the structure and function of buildings. Structure attachments associated with animal constructions offer yet unrealized research opportunities. Spiders build a variety of on...
Article
Ostreid herpes virus causes serious disease in the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), but not in the Sydney Rock Oyster (Saccostrea glomerata). To investigate differences in disease progression, we injected oysters with double stranded RNA (dsRNA). dsRNA is known to mimic viral infection, and can evoke immune responses when Toll-like receptors det...
Article
The evolution of a visual signal will be affected by signaller and receiver behaviour, and by the physical properties of the environment where the signal is displayed. Crab spiders are typical sit-and-wait predators found in diverse ambush sites, such as tree bark, foliage and flowers. Some of the flower-dweller species present a UV(+) -white visua...
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
The anchorage of structures is a crucial element of construction, both for humans and animals. Spiders use adhesive plaques to attach silk threads to substrates. Both biological and artificial adhesive structures usually have an optimal loading angle, and are prone to varying loading situations. Silk anchorages, however, must cope with loading in h...
Article
Full-text available
Mimicry complexes typically consist of multiple species that deter predators using similar anti-predatory signals. Mimics in these complexes are assumed to vary in their level of defence from highly defended through to moderately defended, or not defended at all. Here, we report a new multi-order mimicry complex that includes at least 140 different...
Chapter
Mating systems describe the usual number of mating partners, patterns of mate location, and patterns of parental care in populations and species. While most types of mating systems can be found in arthropods, scramble competition polygyny is likely to be very common based on the ecology of many insects and spiders. In this review we focus on terres...
Article
The non-consumptive effects of predation contribute to reduce preys' fitness. In this way, predation imposes a cost to animals, not only through direct consumption, but also as an energetic cost. One way used to estimate this cost in the past has been to measure the production of CO2 to estimate the change in metabolic rate because of predation. It...
Article
Full-text available
The use of ultraviolet (UV) cues for intra- and inter-specific communication is common in many animal species. Still, the role of UV signals under some predator-prey contexts, such as Batesian mimicry, is not clear. Batesian mimicry is a defensive strategy by which a palatable species (the mimic) resembles an unpalatable or noxious species (the mod...
Article
Full-text available
Receiver biases offer opportunities for the evolution of deception in signalling systems. Many spiders use conspicuous body colouration to lure prey, yet the perceptual basis of such deception remains largely unknown. Here we use knowledge of visual perception in key pollinator groups (bees and flies) to test whether colour-based lures resemble flo...
Article
In groups of socially foraging animals, feeding behaviour may change with group size in response to varying cost–benefit trade-offs. Numerous studies have described group-size effects on group-average feeding behaviour, particularly emphasizing an increase in scrounging incidence for larger groups, where individuals (scroungers) feed from the food...
Article
Full-text available
The world in color presents a dazzling dimension of phenotypic variation. Biological interest in this variation has burgeoned, due to both increased means for quantifying spectral information and heightened appreciation for how animals view the world differently than humans. Effective study of color traits is challenged by how to best quantify visu...
Article
The orb-web spider genus Argiope (Araneae ) offers an excellent opportunity to detect cryptic female choice and to identify the species-specific traits that might lead to its evolution and maintenance. All studied species of the genus Argiope are characterized by low male mating rates . While males of some species are strictly mono- or bigynous , o...
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
The sterile male technique is a common method to assign paternity, widely adopted due to its relative simplicity and low cost. Male sterility is induced by exposure to sub lethal doses of chemosterilants or irradiation, the dosage of which has to be calibrated for every species to provide successful male sterilisation, without affecting male physio...
Article
Two theoretical models, the ‘economic’ and the ‘optimal’ model, have been proposed to explain how the fitness of prey changes in relation to flight initiation distance (FID): the distance between predator and prey when the prey initiates escape. Both hypotheses assume that the cost for the prey of remaining foraging (=capture by a predator) influen...
Article
Cryptic coloration may evolve in response to selective pressure imposed by predators, yet effective intraspecific communication may require some level of detectability. This creates a tension between the benefits of sexually selected visual traits and the predatory costs imposed by greater conspicuousness, and little is known about how this tension...
Article
Full-text available
Courtship signals are expected to be consistent within but vary between males of different qualities. Such traits are, therefore, predicted to exhibit high repeatability. However, studies have shown that courtship behaviors vary greatly in their within-individual repeatability, resulting in substantial variation in their ability to reflect male qua...
Article
Spiders are highly efficient predators in possession of exquisite sensory capacities for ambushing prey, combined with machinery for launching rapid and determined attacks. As a consequence, any sexually motivated approach carries a risk of ending up as prey rather than as a mate. Sexual selection has shaped courtship to effectively communicate the...
Article
1. The astounding diversity of animal colouration is indicative of a wide variety of selection pressures. Despite great interest in adaptive function, detailed understanding of the constituent elements of colour traits is lacking for many systems. Such information is important in allowing more accurate appraisals of colour variation and its potenti...
Article
Full-text available
The diversity, variability, and apparent rapid evolution of animal genitalia are a vivid focus of research in evolutionary biology, and studies exploring genitalia have dramatically increased over the past decade. These studies, however, exhibit a strong male bias, which has worsened since 2000, despite the fact that this bias has been explicitly p...
Article
Group activities that require an initial investment are liable to be exploited. This situation can, for example, be found in group-hunting lions, but also in subsocial and social spiders, in which several individuals capture single large prey items. Individuals could save investment by contributing less to the hunt but also during feeding by saving...
Article
Full-text available
Female reproductive status can have strong selective effects on male mating strategies due to the threat of sperm competition, which may explain why males prefer virgin over mated females. However, in mating systems with female multiple mating rates and mating plugs, males should not only respond to the risk but also to the level of sperm competiti...
Article
Predators use many different strategies to capture prey, including ambushing, active pursuit and luring [1]. No matter the strategy used, predators usually attempt to make the first physical contact with prey. This is not surprising, as prey, regardless how dangerous, can damage or kill a predator if they initiate contact with the predator [2,3]. I...
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
Full-text available
Cases of imperfect or non-model mimicry are common in plants and animals and challenge intuitive assumptions about the nature of directional selection on mimics. Many non-rewarding flower species do not mimic a particular species, but attract pollinators through 'generalised food deception'. Some predatory animals also attract pollinators by resemb...
Article
Full-text available
In brood-caring species, family members are faced with a conflict over resource distribution. While parents are selected to adapt the amount of care according to their offspring's needs, offspring might be selected to demand more care than optimal for parents. Recent studies on birds have shown that the social network structure of offspring affects...
Article
In unpalatable prey, long-wavelength colors such as red or yellow are often thought to be aposematic (warning) signals, due to their high conspicuousness. However, conspicuousness depends on the visual physiology of the receivers. Tectocoris diophthalmus is a shieldback stinkbug with highly variable coloration; individuals may be all orange or have...
Article
Many animals deceive prey by presenting a deceptive signal that lures prey into close proximity. These predators are predicted to select habitats that maximize the efficacy of their deceptive signal and offer high levels of prey traffic. The orchid mantis Hymenopus coronatus preys upon pollinators that are deceived by the predator’s resemblance to...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Mimicry has evolved in contexts such as camouflage, predator deterrence, luring of prey, and pollinator attraction. Mimicry of flowers has until now been demonstrated only in angiosperms, yet it has been hypothesized that the Malaysian orchid mantis Hymenopus coronatus mimics a flower to attract pollinators as prey. Despite the popularity...
Article
Full-text available
During courtship, individuals transfer information about identity, mating status and quality. However, male web-building spiders face a significant problem: how to begin courting female spiders without being mistaken for prey? Male Argiope spiders generate distinctive courtship vibrations (shudders) when entering a female's web. We tested whether c...
Article
Full-text available
The Australian continent is renowned for its idiosyncratic flora and fauna and high diversity of endemic taxa (e.g., Eucalyptus, marsupials, and monotremes; Braithwaite RW. 1990. Australia’s unique biota: implications for ecological processes. J Biogeogr. 17:347–354.). Given this diversity, it is perhaps not surprising that Australia is a coveted a...
Chapter
Crab spiders are formidable predators of many insects. Their colour is particularly fascinating and we have an excellent account of the foraging ecology of some species. A more recent research focus has been the prevalence of UV reflection in some crab spider species. In this chapter we discuss the methods of quantifying colour and colour contrast...
Article
Full-text available
Theory suggests that aposematism, specifically the learned avoidance of unprofitable prey via memorable color patterns, should result in selection for pattern uniformity. However, many examples to the contrary are seen in nature. Conversely, honest sexual signals are likely to exhibit greater variation because they reflect underlying variation in m...
Article
Although model systems are useful in entomology, allowing generalizations based on a few well-known species, they also have drawbacks. It can be difficult to know how far to generalize from information in a few species: Are all flies like Drosophila? The use of model systems is particularly problematic in studying sexual selection, where variabilit...
Article
Full-text available
A reduced predation risk is considered to be a major adaptive advantage of sociality. While most studies are concerned with non-predatory prey species, group-living predators are likely to face similar threats from higher-order predators. We studied the relationship between group size and predation risk in the subsocial crab spider Diaea ergandros...
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...
Article
Full-text available
Web-building spiders are important models for sexual selection. While our understanding of post-copulatory mechanisms including sperm competition and cryptic female choice is considerable, our knowledge of courtship and how it influences male and female mating decisions is still extremely poor. Here, we provide the first comprehensive description o...
Data
High-speed (300 fps) footage of male mating thread dance, showing plucks and bounces. (MOV)
Data
Start of male mating thread dance, showing plucks and bounces. (MOV)
Data
High-speed (300 fps) footage of a male shuddering. (MOV)
Data
Male abdominal wagging. (MOV)
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
Mating plugs have been described in many species, and their presence often implies a function in protecting a male's ejaculate. Yet, explicit functions are not always tested. In this study, we test whether fragments of male genitalia lodged in the female genital opening of the St Andrew's Cross spider (Argiope keyserlingi) are mating plugs and prev...
Article
Full-text available
Sit-and-wait predators have evolved several traits that increase the probability of encountering prey, including lures that attract prey. Although most crab spiders (Thomisidae) are known by their ability to change colour in order to match the background, a few use a different strategy. They are UV-reflective, creating a colour contrast against UV-...
Article
Conspicuous displays of color comprise an enormously diverse and functionally complex class of biological signals. Many of these displays are widely publicized as resulting from chemical colorants known as pigments, which act by selectively "absorbing" part of the light spectrum (Appendix 1). However, the full diversity of animal coloration is just...
Article
Full-text available
Jumping spiders use defocus as a gauge of depth perception to locate prey.
Article
Orb web spiders sit at the centre of their approximately circular webs when waiting for prey and so face many of the same challenges as central-place foragers. Prey value decreases with distance from the hub as a function of prey escape time. The further from the hub that prey are intercepted, the longer it takes a spider to reach them and the grea...
Article
Sperm competition occurs when a female mates with more than one male, and the sperm of those males compete directly over fertilizing her eggs. In polyandrous animals, males can respond to the perceived risk of sperm competition by flexibly adjusting aspects of their development and reproductive investment. In high-risk scenarios we might expect mal...
Article
Full-text available
Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain the evolution of inaccurate mimicry. Here we investigated the novel hypothesis that inaccurate mimicry (in color and shape) is maintained by opposing selective pressures from a suite of different predators: model-aversive visually oriented predators and model- and mimic-specialized predators indif...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral studies of sexual selection tend to focus on events that lead up to copulation and the transfer of sperm. Not surprisingly, we know most about how the selective forces prior to copulation act on female choice and male--male competition. The playground for postcopulatory processes is the female genital tract where we expect male and femal...
Article
Full-text available
Scramble competition polygyny is expected when females and/or resources are widely dispersed and not easily monopolized by males, or when there is an abundance of mates during an extremely restricted reproductive period. Additional factors such as first male sperm precedence or low female re-mating rate might further explain the propensity of males...
Article
Full-text available
Female St Andrew’s Cross spiders control copulation duration by timing sexual cannibalism and may thereby control paternity if cannibalism affects sperm transfer. We have investigated the effect of copulation duration on sperm transfer and documented sperm storage patterns when we experimentally reduced the ability of females to attack and cannibal...
Article
Spider orb webs are known to produce colour displays in nature, both in reflection and transmission of sunlight, under certain illumination conditions. The cause of these colours has been the subject of speculation since the time of Newton. It has also been the topic of observational interpretation and some experiment which has proposed diffraction...
Article
Estimating paternity patterns provides insights into the importance of competing evolutionary forces on mating systems. The number of sires contributing to a female's offspring is mostly influenced by her relative promiscuity. However, in a postcopulatory context, it will also be affected by sperm competition and cryptic female choice. Here, we des...
Chapter
Spiders are well known as prolific and efficient predators that overwhelm their prey with potent toxins or strong silks. The deployment of cunning tactics to lure and deceive their prey is less appreciated despite a considerable history of research into deceptive spider signals. In the early twentieth century, observations already suggested the pre...
Chapter
The introductory chapter has been written especially for readers unfamiliar with the finer details of spider systematics, terminology and biology. The introduction is by no means intended to be a complete account of spider biology, which can be found in the excellent Biology of Spiders by Rainer Foelix (1996). Instead, here we concentrate on those...
Article
The webs of spiders are the first things we notice, long before we recognise the occupant. Silk production and web building is a defining feature of all spiders, and certainly the trait they are best known for. The obvious diversity in different web types and structures has always fascinated; even Aristotle made attempts to define different web typ...
Book
Spiders are often underestimated as suitable behavioural models because of the general belief that due to their small brains their behaviour is innate and mostly invariable. Challenging this assumption, this fascinating book shows that rather than having a limited behavioural repertoire, spiders show surprising cognitive abilities, changing their b...
Article
Full-text available
1. Australian crab spiders exploit the plant–pollinator mutualism by reflecting UV light that attracts pollinators to the flowers where they sit. However, spider UV reflection seems to vary broadly within and between individuals and species, and we are still lacking any comparative studies of prey and/or predator behaviour towards spider colour var...
Article
Although male polymorphisms occur widely in nature and have received considerable recent attention from studies of alternative mating strategies, male genital polymorphisms are less well known. Here, we describe a dimorphism in the orientation of the male genitalic complex of the praying mantid genus Ciulfina. Populations of Ciulfina species vary i...