My research interest lies predominantly in the development and evolution of arthropods. During my Bachelor Thesis I worked on fossil insects (Palaeodictyoptera) and cockroaches (Dictyoptera) and the development of their wings (cf. Kiesmüller et al. 2019). I also worked on a few research practical during my Master studies comprising different research areas: camel spiders (Solifugae) and their tagmatisation, cockroaches and a potential wing locking-mechanism and also on peculiar marine slugs (Heterobranchia, Mollusca) which had a probably secondarily coiled visceral sac similar to that found in terrestrial snails (but without the shell). My Master Thesis was on the pupal development of flour beetles (Tenebrionidae, Coleoptera, Insecta) during which tried different techniques to look inside the pupae (histology and cuticle made transparent).
Now I’m mostly interested in adaptions for a predatory or predator-avoiding (prey) life style in insects. In my PhD thesis I will work on this with the title: “Devouring and to be devoured” in
fossils – functional adaptions predatory insects and its prey.
Insects like most animals can be categorised as either predator or prey (or both), so adaptions to a predatory or predator-avoiding life style is very common. That’s also why predator-prey-interactions are a general principle of ecology: even Darwin studied these types of interactions. Adaptions of this kind can take hold on different layers of interactions, meaning that adaptions can be looked at either from the perspective of the predator or the prey (and sometimes both at the same time). So adaptions for a predatory life style could mean for instance repurposing of appendages for prey capture, this is e.g. found in assassin bugs which have raptorial forelegs similar to those found in mantodeans.
These days most ecologists who work on predator-prey interactions work with models of these systems and less with field work, probably because these interactions are more difficult to assess in the field. This is why morphology and also predominately functional morphology is more and more import. Due to the behavioural aspect of these interactions, it is difficult to observe in the field and even more so in the fossil record. Nonetheless the work with fossils can show results, because behaviour doesn’t have to be directly observed (‘frozen behaviour’), but it can be indirectly shown as well. There are many different methods regarding this, all of which have some connection to the preservation of the fossils.
An example of a well preserved fossil is e.g. odonatan (dragonfly) larvae with its characteristic raptorial labial mask (cf. image below). Odonatan larvae are fierce ambush predators in the aquatic realm and can also be found in the fossil record. But even if the preservation doesn’t allow detailed observation of the animal or if only parts of the animal are preserved, you still can use a phylogenetic position to pinpoint eventual (potential) behaviour exhibited by them when comparing to the behavioural range of closely related recent species of this group.
“Landesgraduiertenförderung aus Landesmitteln” PhD fellowship (national funding for PhD students of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) of the University Greifswald
Hörnig, M. K., Kiesmüller, C., Müller, P., Haug, C. & Haug, J. T. 2020. A new glimpse on trophic interactions of 100-million-year old lacewing larvae. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 65, 777–786. Free access PDF
Kiesmüller, C., Hörnig, M. K., Leipner, A., Haug, C. & Haug, J. T. 2019. Palaeozoic palaeodictyopteran insect nymphs with prominent ovipositors from a new locality. Bulletin of Geosciences 94, 23–40. Free access PDF
- Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society (DZG; Greifswald)
- graduate forum (GraFO) of the German Zoological Society (DZG; Munich)
- Meeting of entomologists (Entomologentagung DGaaE, Freising)
- 18th Meeting of German Crustaceologists (Crusttag; Berlin)
- International Congress on Invertebrate Morphology (ICIM4; Moscow)
- 17th Annual Meeting of the Society for biological systematics (GfBS; Munich; non-official)
- Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society (DZG; Kiel)
- Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society (DZG; Graz)
- Meeting of Palaeoentomologists (Paläoentomologentagung; Bonn)
Christine Kiesmüller & Joachim T. Haug: “A look inside: Approaching the “mysterious” pupal development of holometabolan insects“. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft (DZG) Greifswald 2018.
Christine Kiesmüller: “Entwicklung bei Palaeodictyoptera: Neue Nymphenfunde vom Piesberg mit massivem Ovipositor“. Paläoentomologentreffen Bonn 2015.
Christine Kiesmüller, Nerida G. Wilson, Katharina M. Jörger & Timea P. Neusser: “Another weird secondarily coiled acochlidian slug – 3D-reconstruction of Helicohedyle sp. from Lord Howe Island“. 6. International Heterobranch Workshop (IHW) Fremantle 2018.
Christine Kiesmüller & Carolin Haug: “Tagmatisation in camel spiders: how functional constraints shape a complex body organisation“. 4. International Congress on Invertebrate Morphology (ICIM4) Moskau 2017.
Christine Kiesmüller, Marie K. Hörnig & Joachim T. Haug: “Segmental mismatch in a nymphal cockroach: a case of left-right asymmetry“. Entomologentagung (DGaaE) Freising 2017.
Juliana Bjarsch, Christine Kiesmüller, Timo Kolb, Anja Biging, Luisa Brück, Johann Chretien, Joshua Gauweiler, Dominik Kammerer, Katharina Klaffke, Philipp Kraemer, Christina Nagler, Philipp Wagner, Ann-Christin Richter, Marie K. Hörnig, Carolin Haug & Joachim T. Haug: “Studentische Exkursion mal anders – ab in die Sammlung“. 18. Crustaceologentagung Berlin 2017.
Christine Kiesmüller & Carolin Haug: “Tagmatisation in camel spiders with a focus on the special condition of the anterior body“. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft (DZG) Kiel 2016.
Christine Kiesmüller, Marie K. Hörnig, Angelika Leipner, Carolin Haug & Joachim T. Haug: “Evolution of the ontogenetic development of wings: data from supposedly ‘primitive’ flying insects“. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft (DZG) Graz 2015.