Dr Anne Wignall staff profile picture

Contact details +6492136511

Dr Anne Wignall PhD

Senior Lecturer in Zoology and Ecology

Doctoral Supervisor
School of Natural Sciences

I am a behavioural ecologist who uses invertebrate model systems, particularly spiders and insects, to answer evolutionary questions about the function of behaviour. My key research interests are in predator-prey interactions, animal communication and sexual selection. Recent research programmes focus on the strategies that predators use to hunt their prey, variation in predator behaviour and the evolution of courtship signals. My lab uses diverse field and lab techniques from the disciplines of ecology annd physics and we collaborate closely with theoretical ecologists to develop a holistic understanding of behaviour.  

Professional

Contact details

  • Location: 01, 56
    Campus: Albany

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy - Macquarie University (2009)

Certifications and Registrations

  • Licence, Supervisor, Massey University

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Predator-prey interactions

Animal communication

Sexual selection

Evolutionary ecology

Behavioural ecology

Invertebrate biology

Thematics

Resource Development and Management

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Animal Behaviour (060801): Behavioural Ecology (060201): Biological Sciences (060000): Ecology (060200): Invertebrate Biology (060808): Zoology (060800)

Keywords

Behavioural ecology; predator-prey interactions; courtship; sexual selection; animal communication; laser vibrometry; spiders; insects; 

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 0 7

Research Outputs

Journal

Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2022). Male courtship reduces the risk of female aggression in web-building spiders but varies in structure. Behavioral Ecology. 33(1), 280-287
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Soley, FG. (2021). Assassin bugs can reduce the aggression of their spider prey before an attack. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 134(4), 809-814
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Edirisinghe, HM., Leschen, RAB., Dale, J., & Wignall, AE. (2021). Insights into the Establishment of Introduced Species Using Coccinellines (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) as a Model System. Coleopterists Bulletin. 75(1), 121-149
[Journal article]Authored by: Dale, J., Wignall, A.
Magris, M., Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2020). Courtship and copula duration influence paternity success in a spider. Animal Behaviour. 165, 1-9
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Gokhale, CS., & Wignall, A. (2019). On the innovation and evolution of predatory tactics. bioRxiv. , Retrieved from https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/530238v1.full
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
O’Hanlon, JC., Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2018). Short and fast vs long and slow: age changes courtship in male orb-web spiders (Argiope keyserlingi). Science of Nature. 105(1-2)
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Bulbert, M., & Wignall, A. (2016). Luring. Current Biology. 26(23), R1212-R1213
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Bulbert, M., & Wignall, AE. (2016). Luring. Current Biology. 26(23), R1212-R1213
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Magris, M., Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2015). The sterile male technique: Irradiation negatively affects male fertility but not male courtship. Journal of Insect Physiology. 75, 85-90
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., Kemp, DJ., & Herberstein, ME. (2014). Extreme short-term repeatability of male courtship performance in a tropical orb-web spider. Behavioral Ecology. 25(5), 1083-1088
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Herberstein, ME., Wignall, AE., Hebets, EA., & Schneider, JM. (2014). Dangerous mating systems: Signal complexity, signal content and neural capacity in spiders. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 46(P4), 509-518
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2013). The Influence of Vibratory Courtship on Female Mating Behaviour in Orb-Web Spiders (Argiope keyserlingi, Karsch 1878). PLoS ONE. 8(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2013). Male courtship vibrations delay predatory behaviour in female spiders. Scientific Reports. 3
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Herberstein, ME., Wignall, AE., Nessler, SH., Harmer, AMT., & Schneider, JM. (2012). How effective and persistent are fragmentsof male genitalia as mating plugs?. Behavioral Ecology. 23(5), 1140-1145
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., Jackson, RR., Wilcox, RS., & Taylor, PW. (2011). Exploitation of environmental noise by an araneophagic assassin bug. Animal Behaviour. 82(5), 1037-1042
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Taylor, PW. (2011). Assassin bug uses aggressive mimicry to lure spider prey. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 278(1710), 1427-1433
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Taylor, PW. (2010). Predatory behaviour of an araneophagic assassin bug. Journal of Ethology. 28(3), 437-445
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Taylor, PW. (2009). Alternative predatory tactics of an araneophagic assassin bug (Stenolemus bituberus). Acta Ethologica. 12(1), 23-27
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Taylor, PW. (2009). Responses of an araneophagic assassin bug, Stenolemus bituberus, to spider draglines. Ecological Entomology. 34(3), 415-420
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Taylor, PW. (2008). Biology and life history of the araneophagic assassin bug Stenolemus bituberus including a morphometric analysis of the instars (Heteroptera, Reduviidae). Journal of Natural History. 42(1-2), 59-76
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Taylor, PW., Roberts, JA., Wignall, AE., & Uetz, GW. (2008). Foreleg autotomy reduces mating success of male Schizocosa ocreata wolf spiders. Journal of Insect Behavior. 21(4), 193-202
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Taylor, PW. (2008). Growth and development of an araneophagic assassin bug, Stenolemus bituberus (Heteroptera:Reduviidae). Australian Journal of Zoology. 56(4), 249-255
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., Heiling, AM., Cheng, K., & Herberstein, ME. (2006). Flower symmetry preferences in honeybees and their crab spider predators. Ethology. 112(5), 510-518
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Cheng, K., & Wignall, AE. (2006). Honeybees (Apis mellifera) holding on to memories: Response competition causes retroactive interference effects. Animal Cognition. 9(2), 141-150
[Journal article]Authored by: Wignall, A.

Book

Herberstein, ME., & Wignall, A. (2011). Deceptive signals in spiders. In Spider Behaviour: Flexibility and Versatility. (pp. 190 - 214).
[Chapter]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Herberstein, ME., & Wignall, A. (2011). Introduction: Spider biology. In Spider Behaviour: Flexibility and Versatility. (pp. 1 - 30).
[Chapter]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Herberstein, ME., & Wignall, AE. (2011). Deceptive signals in spiders. In ME. Herberstein (Ed.) Spider Behaviour. (pp. 190 - 214). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
[Chapter]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Herberstein, ME., & Wignall, AE. (2011). Introduction: spider biology. In ME. Herberstein (Ed.) Spider Behaviour: Flexibility and Versatility. (pp. 1 - 30). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
[Chapter]Authored by: Wignall, A.

Conference

Edirisinghe, H., Leschen, R., Dale, J., & Wignall, A. (2021, April). Variation in responses to simulated predator attacks ladybirds (Coleopotera: Coccinellidae).. Presented at 69th Entomological Society of New Zealand Conference
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Dale, J., Wignall, A.
Wignall, A., Soley, F., Kemp, D., & Herberstein, M. (2019, February). Constraints on courtship signalling in web-building spiders. Invited Symposium presentation in: The breadth of sexual strategies and reproductive morphology in arachnids - this is just the beginning! (Symposium organisers: Anita Aisenberg & Michael Kasumovic). Presented at 21st International Congress of Arachnology. Canterbury, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, A., & Martin Pava, M. (2019, February). The effect of recent feeding history on predatory behaviour in jumping spiders. Presented at 68th Entomological Society of New Zealand Conference. Hanmer Springs.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Edirisinghe, H., Leschen, R., Dale, J., & Wignall, A. (2019, February). Phylogeny of New Zealand ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae).. Presented at 68th NZ Entomological Society Conference. Hanmer Springs.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Edirisinghe, H., Leschen, R., Dale, J., & Wignall, A. (2018, November). Phylogeny of New Zealand ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae).. Presented at 21st NZ Molecular Ecology conference
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, A., & Harmer, A. (2018, April). Better the devil you know: familiarity reduces contest aggression in spiders. Presented at 67th Entomological Society of New Zealand Conference. Whanganui, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2017, July). Phylogenetically conserved courtship signalling in web-building spiders. Presented at Behaviour 2017 - 35th International Ethological Conference. Estoril, Portugal.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Edirisinghe, H., Leschen, R., Dale, J., & Wignall, AE. (2017, April). Phenotypic variation in ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Presented at The 66th Entomological Society of New Zealand Conference. Wellington, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Dale, J., Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2017, April). Phylogenetically conserved courtship signalling in web-building spiders. Presented at The 66th Entomological Society of New Zealand Conference. Wellington, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Gokhale, C. (2016, November). The evolution of flexible predatory strategies in jumping spiders. Presented at Australian Entomological Society 47th AGM and Scientific Conference and Entomological Society of New Zealand – 2016 Conference. Melbourne, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE. (2015). Killer instinct: understanding the evolution of flexible predatory strategies. Poster session presented at the meeting of Behaviour 2015 - 34th International Ethological Conference. Cairns, Australia
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE. (2015, April). Sex lies and rock'n'roll: Signal function and evolution in spider webs. Presented at 64th Annual Conference of the Entomological Society of New Zealand. Auckland, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Soley, FG., Wignall, AE., & Taylor, PW. (2013, August). Risk-dependent predatory behaviour of an araneophagic assassin bug.. Presented at Behaviour 2013. Newcastle Gateshead, England.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2012, November). Signalling on the web: the function and evolution of courtship 'shudders' in male web-building spiders. Presented at 43rd AGM & Scientific Conference of the Australian Entomological Society and Australasian Arachnological Society.. Tasmania, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2012, August). Good vibrations reduce aggression in female spiders. Presented at 14th Congress of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology.. Lund, Sweden.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., Kemp, DJ., & Herberstein, ME. (2012). Repeatability and the structure of male courtship in Argiope spiders. Poster session presented at the meeting of Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASSAB 2012). Geelong, Australia
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Taylor, PW., Wignall, AE., & Jackson, RR. (2011, July). Assassin bugs crack the code of spider perception.. Presented at Behaviour 2011: Joint Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society & International Ethological Conference.. Bloomington, USA.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2011, April). Male or meal?: the function of 'shuddering' by male spiders.. Presented at Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour.. South Australia, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Herberstein, ME. (2010, September). Strumming on silk: are courtship vibrations an indicator of male quality and do they predict mating success in spiders?. Presented at 13th International Behavioral Ecology Congress.. Perth, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE. (2010, April). Courtship behaviour in an orb-web spider, Argiope keyserlingi.. Presented at Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour.. Narrabri, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., Schaber, CF., & Taylor, PW. (2009, April). Vibrations in 3-dimensional spider webs: what characterises prey?. Presented at Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour.. Auckland, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., Wilcox, RS., & Taylor, PW. (2008, March). On shaky ground: the exploitation of smokescreens by hunting assassin bugs.. Presented at Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour.. Coffs Harbour, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Prenter, J., Soley, FA., Wignall, AE., & Taylor, PW. (2008). Assassin assignations: mating in the Australian assassin bug Stenolemus bituberus.. Poster session presented at the meeting of Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Coffs Harbour, Australia
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE. (2008). Araneophagic assassin bugs exploit spider traces as predatory cues.. Poster session presented at the meeting of Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Coffs Harbour, Australia
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., Mankin, R., Evans, CS., & Taylor, P. (2007, April). A wolf in flies' clothing: do assassin bugs mimic prey in spider webs?. Presented at Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour.. Canberra, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., Mankin, R., Evans, CS., & Taylor, PW. (2007, July). When prey bites back: an assassin bug that appears to aggressively mimic prey to hunt spiders.. Presented at Animal Behavior Society Annual Meeting.. Vermont, USA.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Taylor, P. (2007, August). Spider cues indicate prey presence to araneophagic assassin bugs.. Presented at 17th International Congress of Arachnology.. Sao Paulo, Brazil.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Taylor, PW. (2007, August). To kill or be killed: predatory behaviour of an araneophagic assassin bug, Stenolemus bituberus (Heteroptera, Reduviidae).. Presented at Interational Ethological Conference.. Nova Scotia, Canada.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Evans, CS., Wignall, AE., & Evans, L. (2006, August). Crowing functions as an 'all clear' signal in fowl (Gallus gallus).. Presented at Animal Behavior Society Annual Meeting.. Utah, USA.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., Mankin, R., Evans, CS., & Taylor, PW. (2006, September). Do hunting assassin bugs, Stenolemus bituberus, aggressively mimic insect prey in spider webs?. Presented at Australian and New Zealand Entomological Societies' Conference.. South Australia, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., & Taylor, PW. (2006). To catch a spider: do hunting Stenolemus bituberus aggressively mimic insect prey in webs?. Poster session presented at the meeting of Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Sydney, Australia
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Heiling, AM., Wignall, AE., Cheng, K., Chittka, L., & Herberstein, ME. (2005, December). Evolution of flower signal exploitation by crab spiders.. Presented at The Combined Australian Entomological Society, Society of Australian Systematic Biologists and Invertebrate Biodiversity and Conservation Conference.. Canberra, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.
Wignall, AE., Heiling, AE., Cheng, K., & Herberstein, ME. (2003, April). Floral symmetry, crab spiders and honeybees.. Presented at Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour.. Canberra, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Wignall, A.

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

196.101 Ecology, Evolution & Behaviour

199.211 Invertebrate Zoology

199.312 Behavioural Ecology

Courses Coordinated

Graduate Supervision Statement

Recent postgraduate projects include:

- Heshani Edirisinghe (PhD): Biology and behaviour of native and introduced New Zealand ladybirds

- Melissa Caffell (MSc): The influence of personality on predatory behaviour in jumping spiders

Potential postgraduate projects include: 

-  How do predators assess risk? (MSc or PhD)

-  Are predatory strategies innate or learnt? (PhD)


Dr Anne Wignall is available for Masters and Doctorial supervision.

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Main Supervisor 0 1

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Main Supervisor of:

  • 2021 - Heshani Edirisinghe - Doctor of Philosophy
    Biology and behaviour of New Zealand ladybirds: Insights into the establishment success of introduced species

Media and Links

Media

  • 28 Oct 2021 - Online
    Science News - article
    Assassin bugs tap spiders to distract them before a lethal strike
  • 28 Jan 2013 - Magazine, Online
    Science Magazine article on research
    Science Magazine article no research by Joseph Bennington-Castro (ScienceShot): The smooth moves of the male orb-web spider.
  • 27 Nov 2021 - Other
    FunKids Science Weekly - podcast interview
    How does the assassin bug calm its prey? Interview with Dan Simpson
  • 23 Apr 2015 - Online
    Jumping spiders: good things come in small package
    Blog article for Sciblogs
  • 20 Dec 2013 - Online
    i09 article by Joseph Bennington-Castro
    Male spiders 'shudder' to calm their cannibalistic brides: online news article on research
  • 20 Dec 2013 - Online
    Rocking the webs saves males from becoming dinner
    ABC Science. News in Science by Stuart Gary. Online article about research
  • 19 Mar 2015 - Online, Radio
    Spider chatter on the web
    Interview with Radio NZ: Our Changing World
  • 19 Dec 2013 - Online, Magazine
    Science Magazine article on research
    Science Magazine article by Lizzie Wade (ScienceShot) "This foreplay trick will save your life (if you're a spider)
  • 03 Nov 2021 - Online
    SyFy Wire - Article
    Web of lies! Assassin bugs use gentle taps to hunt unsuspecting spiders.

Other Links