Sep 012015


September 18th, 2015

Timema cristinae on Ceanothus VP

All monthly meetings are open to the public. If you are interested in insects, please join us!
Members may bring exhibits for show-and-tell. If you have photos, video, or other media to share, please email the society.

Speaker: Tim Farkas

Title: Evolutionary ecology of Timema cristinae walking sticks: From communities to genomes and back again

Abstract: Timema cristinae stick insects, endemic to southern California chaparral, face an evolutionary dilemma. As dietary generalists, they eat both chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum: Rosaceae) and greenbark (Ceanothus spinosus: Rhamnaeceae), but a single camouflage strategy to these morphologically dissimilar plant species is impossible. To overcome this hurdle, they have evolved two distinct color-patterns, each conferring excellent camouflage on one of the plant species. But even for Timema the grass is always greener, so they disperse from their resident populations, and often end up on the wrong plants. This spells death for many of the unfortunate mismatches and their offspring, but the effects of their naive actions have dire consequences for the entire insect community. The plants themselves, of course, all are the happier for it.


  • 6:00pm, Willington Pizza House (menu)
  • 25 River Road (Route 32), Willington, CT 06279 (map)


  • 7:30pm, University of Connecticut
  • Biology and Physics Building room 130, 91 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269 (map)
  • Please park in the lot near the visitor’s center (across from North Garage). Parking on the road, or in student lots near the dorms, risks getting a ticket.


Tim Farkas is a career student of ecology and evolutionary biology. A New York State native, he two degrees in Biology from Wesleyan University and one in Animal and Plant Sciences from the University of Sheffield in the UK. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Connecticut, where he studies community and evolutionary ecology with water fleas. He lives in Storrs, CT with his partner Sundari, and his favorite insects are Lycaenid butterflies of most varieties.

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