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

  • Powell, E. C., Painting, C. J., Hickey, A. J., & Holwell, G. I. (2020). Defining an intrasexual male weapon polymorphism in a New Zealand harvestman (Opiliones: Neopilionidae) using traditional and geometric morphometrics. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 130(2), 395-409. doi:10.1093/biolinnean/blaa040

  • Harvey, J. A., Heinen, R., Armbrecht, I., Basset, Y., Baxter-Gilbert, J. H., Bezemer, T. M., . . . de Kroon, H. (2020). International scientists formulate a roadmap for insect conservation and recovery. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 4(2), 174-176. doi:10.1038/s41559-019-1079-8

  • O'Brien, D. M., Boisseau, R. P., Duell, M., McCullough, E., Powell, E. C., Somjee, U., . . . Emlen, D. J. (2019). Muscle mass drives cost in sexually selected arthropod weapons. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1905). doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.1063

  • Zeng, H., Wee, S. S. E., Painting, C. J., Zhang, S., & Li, D. (2019). Equivalent effect of UV coloration and vibratory signal on mating success in a jumping spider. Behavioral Ecology, 30(2), 313-321. doi:10.1093/beheco/ary167

View All research publications by Chrissie Painting

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Painting, Dr Chrissie 9639 cpaintin R.2.20 Ecology, Biodiversity and Animal Behaviour

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