New paper – shiny bugs show negative intersexual genetic correlation in colour


I couldn’t use this image on the journal cover so I will use it here. New paper just out looking at the heritability of iridescent colour in hibiscus harlequin bugs. The seeds of this were sown back when I was in Australia and it’s really nice to see it out. Find it at the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Iridescent Bugs

I’m currently in Australia(!) and will be here for the next 4 months on an Endeavour Fellowship, working on the ecological and genetic basis of colour variation in Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs (Tectocoris diophthalmus). I’m based at Macquarie University in Sydney, working with Mariella Herberstein and Kate Umbers.


Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs have contrasting pattern made up of orange colouration and iridescent blue patches that vary considerably in size between individuals and populations. Northern populations have far less blue colouration, and may even be completely orange. Furthermore this variation has been shown to influence survival against different types of predators. My work will focus on the causes of this variation, both within and between populations.