David Outomuro, Postdoctoral Researcher

I am a behavioral ecologist, interested in the micro- and macroevolutionary processes that promote diversity. My research has explored questions on the evolution of color signals, color vision, and flight morphology. I am particularly interested in understanding the evolution of color signals, how they are perceived by intended and unintended receivers and the role of these audiences in driving population and species divergence. I also study the evolution of flight morphology because wings are large conspicuous body surfaces that can be also used as motion signal vehicles for intra- and interspecific communication. I use an integrative, multidisciplinary approach, combining physiological, ecological and behavioral studies in the field and in the lab, with modeling and state-of-the-art statistical analyses. My main study animals are dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies and spiders.

2017-present Postdoctoral researcher with Nathan Morehouse, University of Cincinnati, USA

2015-2017 Postdoctoral researcher with Frank Johansson, Karin Nordström and Anders Ödeen, Uppsala University, Sweden

2014-2015 Visiting Professor, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

2011-2013 Postdoctoral researcher with Frank Johansson, Uppsala University, Sweden

2005-2011 PhD in Biology. Universidad de Oviedo, Spain.

2000-2005 Licenciado en Biología. Universidad de Oviedo, Spain.

Curriculum vitae

David Outomuro and Jenny Sung doing field research in Singapore

Current Research

In the Morehouse lab, I am investigating the evolution of color vision and female attention across species of jumping spiders. Male jumping spiders have evolved complex courtship displays that involve visual and vibratory signals. Many species have also evolved striking colorations that can be involved in intraspecific communication. My research focuses on the visual component of spider perception. I am measuring the spectral sensitivities of jumping spiders from around the world, using retinal microspectrophotometryI am interested in understanding how and why transitions to improved color vision occur in this group of terrestrial invertebrates. I am also investigating female attention during male courtship display using retinal tracking in species of the genus Habronattus. This genus of jumping spiders shows an incredible diversity of colors and courtship routines. I am trying to understand which components of the male courtship elicit female attention, a crucial piece of the process of sexual communication and decision-making.

Four species of Habronattus jumping spiders

Prior Research

Visual ecology of predator-prey systems. I explore the costs and benefits of expressing conspicuous colorations in two scenarios: sexually selected conspicuous traits and the cost in predation (e.g. Outomuro et al. 2017, 2020); and conspicuous aposematic traits and their benefits in reducing predation risk (e.g. Outomuro et al. 2016a, Corral-Lopez et al. 2021). I integrate retinal electrophysiology, modeling of color perception of visual signals, shape analyses, video tracking, field predation experiments and laboratory assays of predator behaviorMy main study group are dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies predated by birds. I am currently investigating flight mimicry in a novel mimicry system in the Neotropics: Polythoridae damselflies mimicking Ithomiini glasswing butterflies.

Functional morphology of flight. Wings are not only used for flight but for many other aspects of an animal’s life such as avoiding predation or intraspecific communication. explore how flight morphology can be shaped by natural and sexual selection (e.g. Outomuro et al. 2013c, 2014c, 2019). These two selection pressures can act antagonistically in certain components of flight morphology such as wing shape, but agonistically in others such as wing size (Outomuro et al. 2016b). I use an integrative approach combining shape analyses, behavioral experiments, mark-recapture studies and comparative approaches in dragonflies and damselflies. I am currently investigating the role of wing pigmentation as a flickering signal during sexual displays as a combination of wing motion and iridescent color production. 

Selected Publications

Corral-Lopez A, Varg JE, Cano-Cobos YP*, Losada R*, Realpe E, Outomuro D2021. Field evidence for colour mimicry overshadowing morphological mimicry. Journal of Animal Ecology, early online.  

Outomuro DUrhan U, Brodin A, Johansson F. 2020. Preference for supernormal stimuli tends to override initially learned associations for conspicuous prey traits: implications from a laboratory study. Journal of Ethology 38: 365-371.  

Outomuro D, Johansson F. 2019. Wing morphology and migration status, but not body size, habitat or Rapoport’s rule predict range size in North-American dragonflies (Odonata: Libellulidae). Ecography 42: 309-320. 

Rivas-Torres A, Outomuro D, Lorenzo-Carballa MO, Cordero-Rivera A. 2019. The evolution and diversity of intra-male sperm translocation in Odonata: a unique behaviour in animals. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 73: 54. 

Outomuro D, Johansson F. 2017. A potential pitfall in studies of biological shape: does size matter? Journal of Animal Ecology 86: 1447-1457. 

Sniegula S, Prus MA, Golab MJ, Outomuro D. 2017. Do males with higher mating success invest more in armaments? An across-populations study in damselflies. Ecological Entomology 42: 526-530. 

Outomuro DSöderquist L*, Johansson F, Ödeen A, Nordström K. 2017. The price of looking sexy: visual ecology of a three level predator-prey system. Functional Ecology 31: 707-718. 

Outomuro DÁngel-Giraldo P*, Corral-Lopez A, Realpe E. 2016a. Multi-trait aposematic signal in Batesian mimicry. Evolution 70: 1596-1608. 

Outomuro DSöderquist L*, Nilsson-Örtman V, Cortázar-Chinarro M*, Lundgren C*, Johansson F. 2016b. Antagonistic natural and sexual selection on wing shape in a scrambling damselfly. Evolution 70: 1582-1595. 

Outomuro D, Johansson F. 2015. Bird predation selects for wing shape and coloration in a damselfly. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 28: 791-799. 

Outomuro DSöderquist L*, Rodríguez-Martínez S*, Johansson F. 2014a. A preliminary study on female-limited colour polymorphism in Lestes sponsaInternational Journal of Odonatology 17: 89-93. 

Outomuro D, Cordero Rivera A, Nava-Bolaños A, Córdoba-Aguilar A. 2014b. Does allometry of a sexually-selected ornamental trait vary with sexual selection intensity? A multispecies test in damselflies. Ecological Entomology 39: 399-403. 

Outomuro D, Rodríguez-Martínez S*, Karlsson A*, Johansson F. 2014c. Male wing shape differs between condition-dependent alternative reproductive tactics in territorial damselflies. Animal Behaviour 91: 1-7. 

Outomuro D, Dijkstra K-DB, Johansson F. 2013a. Habitat variation and wing coloration affect wing shape evolution in dragonflies. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 1866-1874. 

Outomuro D, Adams DC, Johansson F. 2013b. Wing shape allometry and aerodynamics in calopterygid damselflies: a comparative approach. BMC Evolutionary Biology 13: 118. 

Outomuro D, Adams DC, Johansson F. 2013c. The evolution of wing shape in ornamented-winged damselflies (Calopterygidae, Odonata). Evolutionary Biology 40: 300-309. 

Outomuro D, Cordero-Rivera A. 2012. Allometry of secondary, primary and non-sexual traits in the beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo). Canadian Journal of Zoology 90: 1094–1101. 

Outomuro DBokma F, Johansson F. 2012. Hind wing shape evolves faster than front wing shape in Calopteryx damselflies. Evolutionary Biology 39: 116-125. 

Outomuro DOcharan FJ. 2011a. The larval life history of Calopteryx virgo meridionalis Sélys, 1873 (Odonata: Calopterygidae) in northern Spain and the voltinism of the south-western European Calopteryx Leach, 1815. Entomologia Generalis 33: 125-135. 

Outomuro DOcharan FJ. 2011b. Wing pigmentation in Calopteryx damselflies: a role in thermoregulation? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 103: 36-44. 

Outomuro D, Johansson F. 2011. The effects of latitude, body size, and sexual selection on wing shape in a damselfly. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 102: 263-274. 

Outomuro D, Torralba-Burrial A, Ocharan FJ. 2010. Distribution of the Iberian Calopteryx damselflies and its relation with bioclimatic belts: Evolutionary and biogeographic implications. Journal of Insect Science 10: 61. 

Eroukhmanoff F, Outomuro DOcharan FJ, Svensson EI. 2009. Patterns of phenotypic divergence in wing covariance structure of calopterygid damselflies. Evolutionary Biology 36: 214-224.