Dr Chrissie Painting

Senior Lecturer

Qualifications: BSc Hons - Lincoln University, PhD University of Auckland

Personal Website:

Research Interests

I’m a behavioural ecologist with a particular interest in what drives diversity in exaggerated animal traits, such as weapons and ornaments. This fits into a central goal of evolutionary biology which is to understand patterns in the variation of animal phenotypes. My research is primarily on arthropods including beetles, harvestmen and spiders, with a strong basis in natural history.

Research Supervised


  • Connolly, Simon (in progress). Monogyny and introgression in New Zealand fishing spiders.

MSc (Research)

  • Chapman, Brody (in progress).  Invertebrate community responses to forest fragmentation
  • Lambert, Michaela (in progress). The effect of population density on mating dynamics in New Zealand giraffe weevils.
  • Mills, Lara (in progress). Personality and assessment strategies during contest behaviour of field crickets
  • Fale, Grant (in progress). Effect of honey bee abundance on the foraging behaviour of New Zealand native bees
  • Devenish, René (in progress). Exploring the energetic impacts of warming on pollinator behaviour and ecosystem functioning. (main supervisor: Andrew Barnes)

Teaching Commitments


Animal Behaviour; Biology; Ecology

Behavioural Ecology; Evolution; Entomology; Sexual Selection

Recent Publications

  • Muschett, G. E., Painting, C. J., Herberstein, M. E., & Umbers, K. D. L. (2022). Aggressive behaviour in the skyhoppers of the Australian Alps. Evolutionary Ecology. doi:10.1007/s10682-022-10185-6

  • Mammola, S., Malumbres-Olarte, J., Arabesky, V., Barrales-Alcalá, D. A., Barrion-Dupo, A. L., Benamú, M. A., . . . Chuang, A. (2022). An expert-curated global database of online newspaper articles on spiders and spider bites. Scientific Data, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41597-022-01197-6

  • Pekár, S., Wolff, J. O., Černecká, Ľ., Birkhofer, K., Mammola, S., Lowe, E. C., . . . Cardoso, P. (2021). The World Spider Trait database: a centralized global open repository for curated data on spider traits. Database, 2021. doi:10.1093/database/baab064

  • Powell, E. C., Willmott, N. J., Selleck, C. J., Painting, C. J., Hickey, A. J., Machado, G., & Holwell, G. I. (2021). No risk to scrambling? Mating tactic does not affect the frequency of leg autotomy in a New Zealand harvestman. Animal Behaviour, 177, 99-106. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2021.04.015

View All research publications by Chrissie Painting