Institute for Integrative Genome Biology


Christiane WeirauchChristiane Weirauch

Assistant Professor of Entomology

Mailing Address:

Entomology / 125
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521

Phone: (951) 827-5707
Fax: (951) 827-3086
Email: christiane.weirauch@ucr.edu


PhD Biology 2003 Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
MSc Biology 1998 Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen, Germany

College/Division Affiliation:

College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Center/Inst Affiliation(s):

Center for Disease Vector Research

Areas Of Expertise:

Morphological and molecular systematics of Heteroptera with an emphasis on assassin bugs (Reduviidae) and plant bugs (Miridae); Evolutionary Biology; Biological Control

Awards / Honors:

2003-2006 - American Museum of Natural History Postdoctoral Researcher

Research Summary:

Our research focuses on systematics and evolution of Heteroptera or True Bugs. Heteroptera comprise about 40,000 species in 85 families and are one of the largest groups of non-holometabolous insects. True Bugs are found in terrestrial, aquatic, and even marine habitats and their feeding preferences cover the entire range from phytophagous, to zoophagous, and hematophagous, involving monophagy, mixed feeding, and parasitism. The majority of Heteroptera is plant feeding and species in many families are serious crop pests, but there are also beneficial Heteroptera that are used as biocontrol agents in integrated pest management. One aspect of our research focuses on Reduviidae or assassin bugs. With more than 6500 described species Reduviidae are the second largest and one of the morphologically and ecologically most diverse groups of Heteroptera. Mainly predators of other insects and arthropods, species of Triatominae or kissing bugs are blood feeding and transmit Chagas Disease in South and Middle America. Predation techniques comprise cleptoparasitism in spider webs, camouflage with corpses of dead prey, and sticky trap methods, some species attract and paralyze ants with gland secretions. Reduviidae therefore range among the most inventive predators alive! Our second group of interest are Miridae or plant bugs. With about 10,000 species worldwide Miridae are the largest family of Heteroptera, but many new species remain to be described. Often plant feeding and host specific, Miridae are currently established as a model to study the evolution of insect host-plant relationships. Another striking aspect are the myrmecomorphic features of Miridae although the nature of their association with ants are still not well understood. Our studies comprise all systematic levels from species-level analyses to higher-level relationships and integrate morphological and molecular character information. We use these hypotheses to gain insights into the evolution of behaviors, such as prey specialization in Reduviidae and choice of host plant in Miridae. In addition, we are exploring comparative and functional morphology of various glands across Heteropteraand work on the functional morphology of mating in this group of insects.

Selected Publications:

List of publications from PubMed

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Genomics Information

Institute of Integrative Genome Biology
2150 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-7177
E-mail: Aurelia Espinoza, Managing Director