UC SPARK - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Associate Professor Ximena Nelson

Biological Sciences

Fields of Research

  • Jumping spider behaviour
  • Neural basis of information processing. Neuroethology of vision
  • Predator and prey assessment and behaviour
  • Mimicry and deceptive signals
  • Communication and cognition in birds

Researcher Summary

My primary research interests lie in animal behaviour and physiology. I am particularly interested in animal communication and animal cognition, as well as the manner in which animal sensory systems interact with behaviour to form the neuroethology of information processing and decision-making.

Subject Area: Disciplines

Research Projects

Key Methodologies

  • Intracellular electrophsyiology
  • 3D animation
  • Acoustic and video playback
  • Field studies

Equipment

Affiliations

Research/Scholarly/Creative Works

Journal Article
  • Schwing R., Nelson XJ., Wein A. and Parsons S. (2017) Positive emotional contagion in a New Zealand parrot. Current Biology 27(6): R213 - R214.
  • Dolev Y. and Nelson XJ. (2016) Biological relevance affects object recognition in jumping spiders. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 43(1): 42 - 53.
  • Nelson XJ. and Card A. (2016) Locomotory mimicry in ant-like spiders. Behavioral Ecology 27(3): 700 - 707.
  • Schwing R., Nelson XJ. and Parsons S. (2016) Audiogram of the kea parrot, Nestor notabilis. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 140(5): 3739 - 3744.
  • Greer AL., Gajdon GK. and Nelson XJ. (2015) Intraspecific variation in the foraging ecology of kea, the world's only mountain- and rainforest-dwelling parrot. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 39(2): 254 - 261.
  • Greer AL., Horton TW. and Nelson XJ. (2015) Simple ways to calculate stable isotope discrimination factors and convert between tissue types. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 6(11): 1341 - 1348.
  • Dolev Y. and Nelson XJ. (2014) Innate Pattern Recognition and Categorization in a Jumping Spider. PLoS ONE 9(6): 8.
  • Nelson X. (2014) The Spider's Charade. Scientific American 311(6): 86 - 89.
  • Nelson XJ. (2014) Animal behavior can inform conservation policy, we just need to get on with the job - or can it? Current Zoology 60(4): 479 - 485.
  • Nelson XJ. (2014) Evolutionary implications of deception in mimicry and masquerade. Current Zoology 60(1): 6 - 15.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2014) Timid spider uses odor and visual cues to actively select protected nesting sites near ants. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 68(5): 773 - 780.
  • Kross SM. and Nelson XJ. (2013) Factors influencing the behavioural development of juvenile New Zealand Falcons (Falco novaeseelandiae). Emu 113(1): 84 - 87.
  • Kross SM., McDonald PG. and Nelson XJ. (2013) New Zealand Falcon nests suffer lower predation in agricultural habitat than in natural habitat. Bird Conservation International 23(4): 512 - 519.
  • Kross SM., Tylianakis JM. and Nelson XJ. (2013) Diet composition and prey choice of New Zealand falcons nesting in anthropogenic and natural habitats. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 37(1): 51 - 59.
  • Nelson XJ. and Fijn N. (2013) The use of visual media as a tool for investigating animal behaviour. Animal Behaviour 85(3): 525 - 536.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2013) Hunger-driven response by a nectar-eating jumping spider to specific phytochemicals. Chemoecology 23(3): 149 - 153.
  • Jackson RR. and Nelson XJ. (2012) Attending to detail by communal spider-eating spiders. Animal Cognition 15(4): 461 - 471.
  • Jackson RR. and Nelson XJ. (2012) Evarcha culicivora chooses blood-fed Anopheles mosquitoes but other East African jumping spiders do not. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 26(2): 233 - 235.
  • Jackson RR. and Nelson XJ. (2012) Specialized exploitation of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) by spiders (Araneae). Myrmecological News 17 33 - 49.
  • Kross SM., Tylianakis JM. and Nelson XJ. (2012) Effects of Introducing Threatened Falcons into Vineyards on Abundance of Passeriformes and Bird Damage to Grapes. Conservation Biology 26(1): 142 - 149.
  • Kross SM., Tylianakis JM. and Nelson XJ. (2012) Translocation of Threatened New Zealand Falcons to Vineyards Increases Nest Attendance, Brooding and Feeding Rates. PLoS ONE 7(6): 10.
  • Nelson XJ. (2012) A Predator's perspective of the accuracy of ant mimicry in spiders. Psyche : A Journal of Entomology
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2012) Fine tuning of vision-based prey-choice decisions by a predator that targets malaria vectors. Journal of Arachnology 40(1): 23 - 33.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2012) How spiders practice aggressive and Batesian mimicry. Current Zoology 58(4): 620 - 629.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2012) The discerning predator: decision rules underlying prey classification by a mosquito-eating jumping spider. Journal of Experimental Biology 215(13): 2255 - 2261.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2012) The role of numerical competence in a specialized predatory strategy of an araneophagic spider. Animal Cognition 15(4): 699 - 710.
  • Nelson XJ., Pratt AJ., Cheseto X., Torto B. and Jackson RR. (2012) Mediation of a Plant-Spider Association by Specific Volatile Compounds. Journal of Chemical Ecology 38(9): 1081 - 1092.
  • Nelson XJ., Warui CM. and Jackson RR. (2012) Widespread reliance on olfactory sex and species identification by lyssomanine and spartaeine jumping spiders. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 107(3): 664 - 677.
  • Schwing R., Parsons S. and Nelson XJ. (2012) Vocal repertoire of the New Zealand kea parrot Nestor notabilis. Current Zoology 58(5): 727 - 740.
  • Young LM., Kelly D. and Nelson XJ. (2012) Alpine flora may depend on declining frugivorous parrot for seed dispersal. Biological Conservation 147(1): 133 - 142.
  • Zurek DB. and Nelson XJ. (2012) Hyperacute motion detection by the lateral eyes of jumping spiders. Vision Research 66 26 - 30.
  • Zurek DB. and Nelson XJ. (2012) Saccadic tracking of targets mediated by the anterior-lateral eyes of jumping spiders. Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology 198(6): 411 - 417.
  • Jackson RR. and Nelson XJ. (2011) Reliance on trial and error signal derivation by Portia africana, an araneophagic jumping spider from East Africa. Journal of Ethology 29(2): 301 - 307.
  • Kross SM. and Nelson XJ. (2011) A portable low-cost remote videography system for monitoring wildlife. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2(2): 191 - 196.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2011) Evidence that olfaction-based affinity for particular plant species is a special characteristic of Evarcha culicivora, a mosquito-specialist jumping spider. Journal of Arachnology 39(3): 378 - 383.
  • Jackson RR., Salm K. and Nelson XJ. (2010) Specialized prey selection behavior of two East African assassin bugs, Scipinnia repax and Nagusta sp that prey on social jumping spiders. Journal of Insect Science 10 19.
  • Nelson XJ. (2010) Polymorphism in an ant mimicking jumping spider. Journal of Arachnology 38(1): 139 - 141.
  • Nelson XJ. (2010) Visual cues used by ant-like jumping spiders to distinguish conspecifics from their models. Journal of Arachnology 38(1): 27 - 34.
  • Nelson XJ., Garnett DT. and Evans CS. (2010) Receiver psychology and the design of the deceptive caudal luring signal of the death adder. Animal Behaviour 79(3): 555 - 561.
  • Zurek DB., Taylor AJ., Evans CS. and Nelson XJ. (2010) The role of the anterior lateral eyes in the vision-based behaviour of jumping spiders. Journal of Experimental Biology 213(14): 2372 - 2378.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2009) Aggressive use of Batesian mimicry by an ant-like jumping spider. Biology Letters 5(6): 755 - 757.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2009) Collective Batesian mimicry of ant groups by aggregating spiders. Animal Behaviour 78(1): 123 - 129.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2009) Prey classification by an araneophagic ant-like jumping spider (Araneae: Salticidae). Journal of Zoology 279(2): 173 - 179.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2009) The influence of ants on the mating strategy of a myrmecophilic jumping spider (Araneae, Salticidae). Journal of Natural History 43(11-12): 713 - 735.
  • Wilson DR., Nelson XJ. and Evans CS. (2009) Seizing the Opportunity: Subordinate Male Fowl Respond Rapidly to Variation in Social Context. Ethology 115(10): 996 - 1004.
  • Jackson RR., Nelson XJ. and Salm K. (2008) The natural history of Myrmarachne melanotarsa, a social ant-mimicking jumping spider. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 35(3): 225 - 235.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2008) Anti-predator creches and aggregations of ant-mimicking jumping spiders (Araneae : Salticidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 94(3): 475 - 481.
  • Nelson XJ., Wilson DR. and Evans CS. (2008) Behavioral Syndromes in Stable Social Groups: An Artifact of External Constraints? Ethology 114(12): 1154 - 1165.
  • Wilson DR., Bayly KL., Nelson XJ., Gillings M. and Evans CS. (2008) Alarm calling best predicts mating and reproductive success in ornamented male fowl, Gallus gallus. Animal Behaviour 76(3): 543 - 554.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2007) Ant-mimicking jumping spiders never cease to disguise. Notes from Underground 12(3).
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2007) Complex display behaviour during the intraspecific interactions of myrmecomorphic jumping spiders (Araneae, Salticidae). Journal of Natural History 41(25-28): 1659 - 1678.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2007) Vision-based ability of an ant-mimicking jumping spider to discriminate between models, conspecific individuals and prey. Insectes Sociaux 54(1): 1 - 4.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2006) A Predator from East Africa that Chooses Malaria Vectors as Preferred Prey. PLoS ONE 1(2): 5.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2006) Compound mimicry and trading predators by the males of sexually dimorphic Batesian mimics. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 273(1584): 367 - 372.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2006) Vision-based innate aversion to ants and ant mimics. Behavioral Ecology 17(4): 676 - 681.
  • Nelson XJ., Jackson RR. and Li DQ. (2006) Conditional use of honest signaling by a Batesian mimic. Behavioral Ecology 17(4): 575 - 580.
  • Nelson XJ., Jackson RR., Li D., Barrion AT. and Edwards GB. (2006) Innate aversion to ants (Hymenoptera : Formicidae) and ant mimics: experimental findings from mantises (Mantodea). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 88(1): 23 - 32.
  • Nelson XJ., Li DQ. and Jackson RR. (2006) Out of the frying pan and into the fire: A novel trade-off for batesian mimics. Ethology 112(3): 270 - 277.
  • Jackson RR., Nelson XJ. and Sune GO. (2005) A spider that feeds indirectly on vertebrate blood by choosing female mosquitoes as prey. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States 102(42): 15155 - 15160.
  • Nelson XJ., Jackson RR. and Sune G. (2005) Use of Anopheles-specific prey-capture behavior by the small juveniles of Evarcha culicivora, a mosquito-eating jumping spider. Journal of Arachnology 33(2): 541 - 548.
  • Nelson XJ., Jackson RR., Edwards GB. and Barrion AT. (2005) Living with the enemy: Jumping spiders that mimic weaver ants. Journal of Arachnology 33(3): 813 - 819.
  • Nelson XJ., Jackson RR., Pollard SD., Edwards GB. and Barrion AT. (2004) Predation by ants on jumping spiders (Araneae : Salticidae) in the Philippines. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 31(1): 45 - 56.
  • Jackson RR., Pollard SD., Nelson XJ., Edwards GB. and Barrion AT. (2001) Jumping spiders (Araneae : Salticidae) that feed on nectar. Journal of Zoology 255 25 - 29.
Conference Contribution - Other
  • Kross S; Tylianakis J; Nelson XJ (2009) Observing New Zealand falcon nests using remote videography. Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand: Meeting of Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASSAB), 15 Apr 2009
  • Young L; Kelly D; Nelson X (2009) Are Fruit-Dispersal Mutualisms Still Functioning in the New Zealand Subalpine Zone? Brisbane, Australia: 10th International Congress of Ecology, 16 Aug 2009
  • Zurek D; Nelson XJ; Evans CS (2009) Motion perception in the antero-lateral eyes of bark-dwelling jumping spiders. Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand: Meeting of Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASSAB), 15 Apr 2009
  • Nelson XJ; O'Carroll D (2008) The not so secondary eyes of jumping spiders. Backaskog Castle, Sweden: International Conference on Invertebrate Vision, 01 Aug 2008
  • Wilson DR; Nelson X; Evans C (2008) Seizing the opportunity: social context affects mating effort in subordinate male fowl. Snowbird, UT, USA: Animal Behavior Society 45th Annual Meeting, 16 Aug 2008
  • Evans CS; Nelson XJ; Wilson DR (2007) Behavioural Syndromes' as an epiphenomenon. Animal Behavior Society, Burlington, Vermont, USA: Animal Behavior Society, 21 Jul 2007
  • Garnett D; Nelson X; Evans C (2007) Design of a deceptive visual signal: Death adders attract lizards by mimicking the movement of invertebrate prey. Canberra, Australia: Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASSAB) Conference 2007, 12 Apr 2007
  • Nelson X; Wilson D; Evans C (2007) Modular fowl: 'behavioural syndromes' as an epiphenomenon. Canberra, Australia: Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASSAB) Conference 2007, 12 Apr 2007
  • Wilson DR; Bayly KL; Nelson XJ; Gillings M; Evans CS (2007) Garrulous Gallus gets the girls: production of high-risk alarm calls is the best predictor of male mating success in fowl. Halifax, Canada: International Ethological Conference, 15 Aug 2007
  • Nelson Ximena (2006) More to mimicry than meets the eye: the cloaks and daggers of resembling ants. Tours, France: International Society for Behavioral Ecology, 23 Jul 2006
  • Nelson Ximena (2006) The unique motion detecting eyes of a miniature predator. Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia: Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour, 20 Apr 2006
  • Nelson Ximena (2004) Blood-lust of an East African jumping spider. Gent, Belgium: International Arachnology Conference, 02 Aug 2004
  • Nelson; Ximena; Jackson; Robert (2003) Little murderers: how do jumping spiders judge? Florianopolis, Brazil: International Ethological Conference, 20 Aug 2003
  • Nelson; Ximena; Jackson; Robert (2001) How do salticids mimic ants? Badplaas, South Africa: 15th International Congress of Arachnology, 26 Mar 2001
Additional Publications
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2011) Flexibility in the foraging strategies of spiders. Spider Behaviour: Flexibility and Versatility: 31 - 56.
  • Nelson XJ. and Jackson RR. (2011) Flexible use of anti-predator defences. Spider Behaviour: Flexibility and Versatility: 99 - 126.
  • Nelson XJ. (2008) A spider's eye(s) view. Sydney, Australia.
  • Nelson XJ. (2008) What lurks behind the eyes of fly tigers? University of Vienna, Austria.
  • Nelson XJ. (2007) Modular fowl: behavioural syndromes as an epiphenomenon. University of Canterbury, NZ.
  • Nelson XJ. (2006) Seeing things as the hunted and the hunters. University of California, Berkeley, USA.
  • Nelson XJ. (2005) Mechanisms underlying visual perception and vision-based decision-making. Christchurch, New Zealand. University of Canterbury.
  • Nelson Ximena. (1998) Morphological & behavioural adaptations of two species of ant-like salticids (Myrmarachne). Christchurch, New Zealand. University of Canterbury.