28.09.2017: Media coverage on our “Target-specific chemical defences” paper
Have a look at the nice article that Inside Science published about our paper on target-specific chemical defences. Other stories about this study are available in DiscoverMagazine, Phys.org, and Science Daily.
27.09.2017: Our new paper “How to fight multiple enemies: target specific defences in tan aposematic moth” is out today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B
In this paper we report the first documented case of target-specific defences in an insect! Wood tiger moths produce two types of fluids, one from their cervical glands (aka. neck fluids) and one from their abdomen. When offered oat flakes coated with neck fluids, birds hesitated to eat the flakes for a long time, while ants would happily drink from droplets containing the same type of fluids (as seen in the photo below). As opposed to that, when offered oat flakes coated with the abdominal fluids, birds couldn’t care less while ants were clearly deterred. These findings show that wood tiger moths have a different chemical weapon against each enemy!
20.09.2017: Our paper on human detection of coloured stimuli in complex visual environments is out in Biology Letters
A lot of what we know about the way in which us humans perceive colours comes from psychophysical studies which are carried out in controlled conditions in the lab. However, we do not know nearly as much about what happens in the ‘real world’, in which the visual environments in our surroundings are much more complex. In this study we show how colourful objects can be detected in a visually noisy environment (i.e., a forest) in function of both luminance and saturation contrast, and highlight the importance of combining the information from psychophysical studies with behavioural tasks in the ‘real world’ to get a more thorough understanding about human colour vision.
24.07.2017: Symposium on the challenges and achievements of Latin American women in Herpetology
A completely new experience came this summer, as I was invited to speak in this symposium organised by Drs. Jenny Stynoski, Patricia Salerno and Mónica Páez, within the XI Latin American Congress of Herpetology (Quito, Ecuador). It was both moving and empowering to hear about the paths that many talented women from different countries have followed during their journey as herpetologists. Sadly, there were a few problems which seemed to be common for several of us, but the symposium offered a great platform to discuss possible solutions, and highlighted the need to put all these issues out there in order to foster a change.
6.07.2017: The field season in Georgia is underway!
We have arrived in Georgia and are very happy to see our host family and our moths. Males are flying, the weather is not too bad… Love is in the air!
15.04.2017: Visit to the Evolutionary Ecology Lab at Macquarie University
I am visiting A/Prof Darrell Kemp’s lab for two months (March-May) in order to set up a collaborative project on the evolutionary ecology of colour perception in humans. Within this project we are interested in identifying which colour trait(s) best predict the detection of colourful objects in visually complex environments (such as a forest). This is being done in collaboration with Dr. Thomas White too (and the gallah is there just because it’s pretty!).