Dr Nikolai Tatarnic

Curator of Entomology

Terrestrial Zoology

B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.

Nikolai Tatarnic


(08) 9212 3791 nikolai.tatarnic@museum.wa.gov.au


  • Sexual selection, the evolution of insect mating systems, and the role of sexual conflict in driving male and female behaviour and morphology.
  • Systematics of bugs and grasshoppers, including their phylogenetic history and evolutionary relationships.
  • Coevolution and speciation.


  • Researches the systematics, taxonomy and evolution of insects, focusing on the True Bugs (Heteroptera) and acridid grasshoppers.
  • Develops the Museum’s collections through targeted fieldwork and collaborations with other organisations.

Services (to other bodies):

  • Council member of the Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASSAB)

Adjunct/Honourary positions:

  • Adjunct Lecturer, Centre for Evolutionary Biology, University of Western Australia
  • Visiting Fellow, Research School of Biology, Australian National University
  • Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong

Exhibitions and Public Programs

  • Presents talks and provides media coverage of research on evolution and insects.
  • Ad-hoc reviewer for numerous journals: African Entomology, Animal Behaviour, Australian Journal of Entomology,  Biology Letters, Biological Reviews, Canadian Journal of Entomology, Cladistics, Evolution, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Physiological Entomology, Royal Society of London Series B, Zootaxa.
  • Co-supervisor to several honours and post-graduate students at various universities.

Selected Publications

Tatarnic N.J., Cassis. G. and Siva-Jothy, M.T. (2014). Traumatic insemination in terrestrial arthropods. Annual Review of Entomology 59: 245–261. http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/eprint/kaA4UnbT5FIwsSjtW5Wp/full/10.1146/annurev-ento-011613-162111

Tatarnic, N.J. and Cassis, G. (2013). Surviving in sympatry: paragenital divergence and sexual mimicry between a pair of traumatically inseminating plant bugs. American Naturalist 182: 542–551. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/671931

Tatarnic N.J., Umbers, K.D.L., and Song, H. (2013). Molecular phylogeny of the Kosciuscola grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acrididae) endemic to the Australian alpine and montane regions. Invertebrate Systematics 27: 307–316.

Tatarnic, N.J. and Cassis, G. (2013). Description of eight new species of the traumatically inseminating plant bug genus Coridromius (Heteroptera: Miridae: Orthotylinae: Coridromini).  European Journal of Taxonomy 35: 1–24. http://www.europeanjournaloftaxonomy.eu/index.php/ejt/article/view/157

Tatarnic, N.J. and Spence, J.R. (2013). Courtship and mating in the crusader bug, Mictis profana  Fabricius. Australian Journal of Entomology. 52: 151–155.

Publications for Nikolai Tatarnic, 2010-2014

Umbers, K.D.L., Tatarnic, N.J., Holwell, G.I. and Herberstein, M.E. (2013). Bright turquoise as an intraspecific signal in the chameleon grasshopper (Kosciuscola tristis). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 67: 439–447.

Tatarnic, N.J. (2012). Mafulemesa schuhi (Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Emesinae), a new species from Australia. Entomologica Americana 118: 274–277.

Umbers, K.D.L., Tatarnic, N.J., Holwell, G.I., and Herberstein, M.E. (2012). Ferocious fighting between male grasshoppers. PLoS ONE 7(11): e49600 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049600 http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0049600

Bath, E., Tatarnic, N.J. and Bonduriansky, R. (2012). Asymmetric reproductive isolation and interference in neriid flies: the roles of genital morphology and behaviour. Animal Behaviour 84(6): 1331–1339.

Tatarnic, N.J. and Cassis, G. (2012). The Halticini of the world (Insecta: Heteroptera: Miridae: Orthotylinae): generic reclassification, phylogeny, and host plant associations. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 164: 558–658.

Cassis, G. Cheng, M. and Tatarnic, N.J. (2012). Systematics of the plantbug genus Irianocoris Carvalho (Insecta: Heteroptera: Miridae: Orthotylinae: Austromirini). Entomologica Americana 118: 157–176.

Tatarnic, N.J. and Cassis, G. (2011). The thread–legged bugs (Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Emesinae) of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. Zootaxa 2967: 21–43.

Tatarnic, N.J., Wall, M. A., and Cassis, G. (2011). A systematic revision of the Australian ploiarioline thread–legged assassin bus (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Emesinae). Zootaxa 2762: 1–30.

Cassis, G., Tatarnic, N. and Symonds, C. (2011). Systematics of Kundakimuka Cassis from the eastern hemisphere (Heteroptera: Miridae: Deraeocorinae: Termatophylini). Heteropterus Revista de Entomologia 11: 215–225.

Tatarnic, N.J. and Cassis, G. (2010). Sexual coevolution in the traumatically inseminating plant bug genus Coridromius. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23:1321–1326.

Cassis, G., Symonds, C. and Tatarnic, N. (2010). A remarkable new species of stone–dwelling Orthotylini (Heteroptera: Miridae: Orthotylinae) from Australia. Zootaxa 2485: 58–68.