Hagfish Slime Cells Tailored to Deter Predation

My new paper addresses the evolution of hagfish slime thread and the thread cells. It shows the largest cell size allometry in animals known. The results suggest a significant impact from body size-related selection (via predator-prey interactions) for the evolution of slime threads. See interviews by The Scientists and SYFY Wire.

Evolution of flight morphology in stick insects

The origin of insect flight presumably underwent a series of intermediate morphologies, which, unfortunately, has not been shown in the fossil record. However, we can infer such transition by studying extant insects undergoing secondary flight reduction. In this new publication (link), we presented a framework for describing the evolutionary pathway between winged and wingless (volant)

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Omnidirectional strikes in flat spiders

Many animals attack prey with rapid strikes, typically a linear motion pointing forward and powered a rapid release of energy. To have the flexibility of strike direction is extremely rare in nature. My collaborator Dr. Crews and I found the flat spiders (Family Selenopidae) can strike toward any direction. This novel mechanism is enabled by

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Rapid aerial righting in baby stick insects falling upside-down

(this is part of an article written for the Phasmid Studies Group news letter, June issue 2017) Most stick insects are friendly and easy to rear, which made them convenient for lab studies. Also, there are more important reasons why they are suitable for the topics I was addressing – flight evolution. Anybody who has

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Aerial righting in wingless stick insects

Following my discovery of gliding behaviors of nymphal Extatosoma tiaratum stick insect at UW greenhouse in fall 2005, I conducted a series of researches on gliding behavior of nymphal stick insects as an undergrad. It was extended into my PhD thesis research, which addressed key issues in insect flight evolution by using the stick insects as a model system. The

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