Evolutionary Ecology

Breadcrumb Navigation

Cristina Tuni

Dr. Cristina Tuni

(per 01.06.2014)


LMU München/Department Biologie II
Großhaderner Str. 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried

Room: C 02.054
Phone: +49 89 2180 74 265

Website: http://bit.ly/tunilab


I am broadly interested in reproductive biology, sexual selection and mating system evolution. My main research aim is to understand the adaptive significance of female polyandry and the evolution of male mating strategies in arthropods, particularly spiders and crickets. Together with experimental laboratory trials through which I study a wide range of reproductive traits (from behavior to ejaculates) and resulting fitness in response to changing selective pressures I also conduct field studies to assess the ecological factors that may ultimately constrain encounter rates among potential mating partners and/or competitors, and affect mating strategies in natural populations. I apply molecular methods to estimate natural mating rates and paternity patterns, both in the wild and in laboratory experiments, and use experimental evolution to understand the strength of post-mating selection in shaping reproductive traits and its interaction with pre-mating sexual selection. 


PhD student Magdalena Matzke

PhD student Michelle Beyer



Birth: 15/07/79 (Rome, Italy)
Nationality: Italian


2011: Ph.D in Bioscience, Aarhus University (Denmark).
2007: M.Sc in Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata (Italy).


2014 - Ludwig Maximilians University
2011-2013 Post-Doctoral fellow, Aarhus University (Denmark)


Current Topics in Behavioural Ecology, Experimental Behavioural Ecology, Evolutionary Ecology, Ecology 1 and Ecology 2, Skills 2 Scientific Writing, Skills 4 Grant writing.




Matzke M, Toft S, Bechsgaard J, Lauridsen A, Uhl G, Kunzel S, Tuni C & Bilde T. Sperm competition intensity affects sperm precedence patterns in a polyandrous gift-giving spider. Accepted in Molecular Ecology.


Heimerl D, Dudová P, Wacker K, Schenkel E, Despréaux G, Tuni C. 2021. Adult sex ratio and male body condition affect alternative reproductive tactics in a spider. Behavioural Ecology, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arab138

Beyer M, Mangliers J & Tuni C. 2021. Silk-borne chemicals of spider nuptial gifts elicit female gift acceptance. Biology Letters 17(11), 20210386.

McMahon S, Matzke M & Tuni C. 2021. Food limitation but not enhanced rates of ejaculate production imposes reproductive and survival costs to male crickets. Cells, 10: 1498.


Tuni C, Schneider J, Uhl G & Herberstein M. 2020. Sperm competition when transfer is dangerous. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 375:20200073.


Tuni C., Mestre L., Berger-Tal R., Lubin Y. & Bilde T. 2019. Mate choice in naturally inbred spiders: testing the role of relatedness. Animal Behaviour, 157:27-33.

Tuni C., Mizerakis V.L. & Dingemanse N.J. 2019. Experimental evidence that winning or losing a fight does not affect sperm quality in a field cricket. Ethology, 00: 1– 5.

Magris M. & Tuni C. 2019. Enough for all: no mating effort adjustment with varying mating opportunities. Behavioural Ecology arz102, https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arz102.

Niemela P., Niehoff P.P., Gasparini C., Dingemanse N.J. & Tuni C. 2019. Crickets become behaviourally stable when raised under higher temperatures. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 73:81.


Tuni C., Han C.S., & Dingemanse N.J. 2018. Multiple biological mechanisms result in correlations between pre- and post-mating traits that differ among versus within individuals and genotypes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 285(1885). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0951.

Han C.S., Tuni C., Ulcik J., & Dingemanse N.J. 2018. Increased developmental density decreases the magnitude of indirect genetic effects expressed during agonistic interactions in an insect. Evolution In Press. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.13600

Czaczkes T.J., Bastidas Urrutia A., Ghislandi P. & Tuni C. 2018. Reduced light avoidance in spiders from populations in light-polluted urban environments. The Science of Nature 105:64. doi: 10.1007/s00114-018-1589-2.

Ghislandi P.G., Pekár S., Matzke M., Schulte-Döinghaus S., Bilde T. & Tuni C. 2018. Resource availability, mating opportunity, and sexual selection intensity influence the expression of male alternative reproductive tactics. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 31:1035-1046. doi:10.1111/jeb.13284

Beyer M., Czaczkes T.J. & Tuni C. 2018. Does silk mediate chemical communication between the sexes in a nuptial feeding spider? Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 72:49. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-018-2454-1


Gasparini C., Lu C., Dingemanse N. & Tuni C. 2017. Paternal-effects in a terrestrial ectotherm are temperature dependent but no evidence for adaptive effects. Functional Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13022.

Tuni C., Weber S., Bilde T. & Uhl G. 2017. Male spiders reduce pre- and post-mating sexual investment in response to sperm competition risk. Behavioral Ecology 28.4: 1030-1036.

Ghislandi P.G., Beyer M., Velado P. & Tuni C. 2017. Silk wrapping of nuptial gifts aids cheating behavior in male spiders. Behavioural Ecology 28.3: 744-749.


Berger-Tal R., Berner-Aharon N., Aharon S., Tuni C. & Lubin Y. 2016. Good reasons to leave home: proximate dispersal cues in a social spider. Journal of Animal Ecology 85.4: 1035-1042.

Tuni C., Perdigón Ferreira J., Fritz Y., Munoz Meneses A. & Gasparini C. 2016. Impaired sperm quality and delayed mating but no costs for offspring fitness in field crickets winning a fight. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12888


Berger-Tal R., Lubin Y., Settepani V., Mejer M., Bilde T. & Tuni C. 2015. Evidence for loss of nepotism in the evolution of permanent sociality. Scientific Reports 5. doi:10.1038/srep13284.

Mestre L., Rodríguez-Teijeiro J.D. & Tuni C. 2015. Females of the cellar spider discriminate against previous mates. Ethology 121: 994-1001.

Ghislandi P., Bilde T. & Tuni, C. 2015. Extreme male mating behaviours: anecdotes in a nuptial feeding spider. Arachnology 16: 273-275.


Ghislandi P., Albo M.J, Tuni C. & Bilde T. 2014. Evolution of deceit by worthless donations in a nuptial gift-giving spider. Current Zoology 60: 43-51.

Berger-Tal R., Tuni C., Lubin Y., Smith D. & Bilde T. 2014. Fitness consequences of outcrossing in a social spider with an inbreeding mating system. Evolution 68: 343-351.


Tuni C., Albo M. J. & Bilde T. 2013. Polyandrous females acquire indirect benefits in a nuptial-feeding species. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 1307-1316.

Tuni C., Beveridge M. & Simmons L.W. 2013. Female crickets assess relatedness during mate guarding and bias storage of sperm toward unrelated males. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 1261-1268.


Tuni C. & Berger-Tal R. 2012. High mortality and female-biased operational sex ratio result in low encounter rates and moderate polyandry in a spider. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 107: 910 - 919.

Tuni C., Goodacre S., Bechsgaard J. & Bilde T. 2012. Moderate multiple parentage and low genetic variation reduces the potential for genetic incompatibility avoidance despite high risk of inbreeding. PlosONE 7: e29636. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029636.

Tuni C. & Berger-Tal R. 2012. Male preference and female cues: males assess female sexual maturity and mating status in a web-building spider. Behavioral Ecology 23: 582 - 587.


Albo M.J., Winther G., Tuni C., Toft S. & Bilde T. 2011. Worthless donations: male deception and female counter play in a nuptial gift-giving spider. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 329.

Tuni C. & Bilde T. 2010. No preference for novel mating partners in the polyandrous nuptial feeding spider Pisaura mirabilis (Araneae: Pisauridae). Animal Behaviour 80: 435 - 442.


Bilde T., Goodacre S., Tuni C., Garoia F. & Santini A. 2009. Characterisation of microsatellite loci in the subsocial spider Stegodyphus lineatus, (Araneae: Eresidae). Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 128 – 130.

Bilde T., Tuni C., Elsayed R., Pèkar S. & Toft S. 2007. Nuptial gifts of male spiders: sensory exploitation of the female’s maternal care instinct or foraging motivation? Animal Behaviour 73: 267 - 273.

Bilde T., Tuni C., Elsayed R., Pèkar S. & Toft S. 2006. Death feigning in the face of sexual cannibalism. Biology letters 2: 23 - 25.