CIE Seminar Series – 2019: In living colour: Why do colours change across life stages?

SPEAKER: Dr Iliana Rocio Medina Guzman, McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow, School of BioSciences, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne

DATE: Friday, 14th June 2019

TIME: 1:30pm

LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds – room ka4.207.

Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood – Burwood Corporate Centre and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.19 (Fishbowl).

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Many insects change colour during ontogeny and, in some, this can be explained by different selective pressures acting on highly dissimilar adult and larval forms. However, some insects, such as many true bugs (Heteroptera), retain similar body shape and share similar predators and habitats through ontogeny. Many of these species also release defensive secretions which are advertised with bright colours, and are thus considered aposematic.

In this talk I will present the most recent results on two projects related to this question. We use a comparative approach and predation experiments to understand what drives the evolution of colour changes in butterflies and in bugs.


Iliana completed her Undergrad and Masters at the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, where she studied evolution of colour in poison frogs. In 2012 she moved to Australia to complete her PhD at the Australian National University. She then moved to Melbourne as a McKenzie Fellow.

Iliana’s main interest is the macroevolution of animal behaviour and coloration, and she uses phylogenetic comparative methods in combination with field and lab experiments to answer broad questions in ecology.

Appointments with speaker may be made via Matthew Symonds (

For more info: