Profile image Christine Kiesmüller © Christine Kiesmüller

Christine Kiesmüller, M.Sc.

Zoological Institute and Museum
Cytology and Evolutionary Biology

Soldmannstr. 23
House 6.1
17489 Greifswald

Phone: +49 (0)3834 420 4065
Fax:      +49 (0)3834 420 4067

Email christine.kiesmuellerstud.uni-greifswaldde

Email christine.kiesmuellerpalaeo-evo-devoinfo

Palaeo-Evo-Devo Network

Research interest / Curriculum Vitae
Different fossil insects: from left to right Cretomantis and its predatory mouth parts (Dictyoptera); bark louse with camouflaging debris atop (Psocodea); Gryllobencain, a possible bush-cricket with predatory legs and mouthparts and peculiar cerci (Orthoptera); neuropteran larvae in defence position and beetle (Coleoptera); a dragonfly larva and its characteristic labial mask (Odonata) (all amber pieces except Cretomantis and odonatan larva) © Palaeo-Evo-Devo-Group
Different fossil insects (all amber pieces except upper left corner and lower right corner)

My research interest lies predominantly in the development and evolution of arthropods. During my Bachelor Thesis I worked on fossil insects (Palaeodictyoptera) and cockroaches (Dictyoptera) and the development of their wings (cf. Kiesmüller et al. 2019). I also worked on a few research practical during my Master studies comprising different research areas: camel spiders (Solifugae) and their tagmatisation, cockroaches and a potential wing locking-mechanism and also on peculiar marine slugs (Heterobranchia, Mollusca) which had a probably secondarily coiled visceral sac similar to that found in terrestrial snails (but without the shell). My Master Thesis was on the pupal development of flour beetles (Tenebrionidae, Coleoptera, Insecta) during which I tried different techniques to look inside the pupae (histology and cuticle made transparent).




Now I’m mostly interested in adaptions for a predatory or predator-avoiding (prey) life style in insects. In my PhD thesis I will work on this with the title: “To eat or to be eaten” in the fossil record – functional adaptations of predatory insects and their prey.

Insects like most animals can be categorised as either predator or prey (or both), so adaptations to a predatory or predator-avoiding life style are very common. That’s also why predator-prey-interactions are a general principle of ecology: even Darwin studied these types of interactions. Adaptations of this kind can take hold on different layers of interactions, meaning that adaptations can be looked at either from the perspective of the predator or the prey (and sometimes both at the same time). So adaptations for a predatory life style could mean for instance repurposing of appendages for prey capture, this is e.g. found in assassin bugs which have raptorial forelegs similar to those found in mantodeans.

These days most ecologists who work on predator-prey interactions work with models of these systems and less with field work, probably because these interactions are more difficult to assess in the field, especially in smaller animals such as insects. This is why morphology and also predominately functional morphology is more and more import. Due to the behavioural aspect of these interactions, it is difficult to observe in the field and even more so in the fossil record. Nonetheless the work with fossils can show results, because behaviour doesn’t have to be directly observed (‘frozen behaviour’), but it can be indirectly inferred as well. There are many different methods regarding this, all of which have some connection to the preservation of the fossils.

An example of a well preserved fossil is e.g. odonatan (dragonfly) larvae with its characteristic raptorial labial mask (cf. image above, right lower corner). Odonatan larvae are fierce ambush predators in the aquatic realm and can also be found in the fossil record. But even if the preservation doesn’t allow detailed observation of the animal or if only parts of the animal are preserved, you still can use a phylogenetic position to pinpoint potential behaviour exhibited by them when comparing to the behavioural range of closely related recent species of this group.

Landesgraduiertenförderung aus Landesmitteln (University Greifswald) / PhD scholarship of national funding (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)
Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft e.V. (DZG)
International Society for Invertebrate Morphology (ISIM)
Paläontologische Gesellschaft (PalGes)
Contributions to conferences
Christine Kiesmüller, Joachim T. Haug, Marie K. Hörnig: "“Camouflage” in immature bark lice in 100 million-year-old amber". 92. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft (PalGes) Wien 2021.
Christine Kiesmüller, Joachim T. Haug, Marie K. Hörnig: "A case of frozen behaviour: A putative parasitoid flat wasp with a beetle larvae in its grasp in 100 million years old amber". 113. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft (DZG) Würzburg 2021.
Christine Kiesmüller & Joachim T. Haug: "A look inside: Approaching the “mysterious” pupal development of holometabolan insects". 111. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft (DZG) Greifswald 2018.
Christine Kiesmüller: "Entwicklung bei Palaeodictyoptera: Neue Nymphenfunde vom Piesberg mit massivem Ovipositor". Paläoentomologentreffen Bonn 2015.
  • Christine Kiesmüller, Nerida G. Wilson, Katharina M. Jörger & Timea P. Neusser: “Another weird secondarily coiled acochlidian slug – 3D-reconstruction of Helicohedyle sp. from Lord Howe Island“. 6. International Heterobranch Workshop (IHW) Fremantle 2018.
  • Christine Kiesmüller & Carolin Haug: “Tagmatisation in camel spiders: how functional constraints shape a complex body organisation“. 4. International Congress on Invertebrate Morphology (ICIM4) Moskau 2017.
  • Christine Kiesmüller, Marie K. Hörnig & Joachim T. Haug: “Segmental mismatch in a nymphal cockroach: a case of left-right asymmetry“. Entomologentagung (DGaaE) Freising 2017.
  • Juliana Bjarsch, Christine Kiesmüller, Timo Kolb, Anja Biging, Luisa Brück, Johann Chretien, Joshua Gauweiler, Dominik Kammerer, Katharina Klaffke, Philipp Kraemer, Christina Nagler, Philipp Wagner, Ann-Christin Richter, Marie K. Hörnig, Carolin Haug & Joachim T. Haug: “Studentische Exkursion mal anders – ab in die Sammlung“. 18. Crustaceologentagung Berlin 2017.
  • Christine Kiesmüller & Carolin Haug: “Tagmatisation in camel spiders with a focus on the special condition of the anterior body“. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft (DZG) Kiel 2016.
  • Christine Kiesmüller, Marie K. Hörnig, Angelika Leipner, Carolin Haug & Joachim T. Haug: “Evolution of the ontogenetic development of wings: data from supposedly ‘primitive’ flying insects“. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft (DZG) Graz 2015.


  • Baranov V, Pérez-de la Fuente R, Engel MS, Hammel JU, Kiesmüller C, Hörnig MK, Pazinato PG, Stahlecker C, Haug C, Haug JT (2022). The first adult mantis lacewing from Baltic amber, with an evaluation of the post-Cretaceous loss of morphological diversity of raptorial appendages in Mantispidae. Fossil Record, 25(1): 11–24. Open Access
  • Haug JT, Kiesmüller C, Haug GT, Haug C, Hörnig MK (2022). A fossil aphidlion preserved together with its prey in 40 million-year-old Baltic amber. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments. Open Acess
  • Haug JT, Hörnig MK, Kiesmüller C, Pazinato PG, Baranov V, Haug C (2022). A 100-million-year-old ensiferan with unusual mouthparts and comments on the evolution of raptorial appendages within Polyneoptera. Geodiversitas, 44(4): 57–73. Open Access
  • Zippel* A, Kiesmüller* C, Haug GT, Müller P, Weiterschan T, Haug C, Hörnig MK, Haug JT (2021). Long-headed predators in Cretaceous amber—fossil findings of an unusual type of lacewing larva. Palaeoentomology, 004(5): 475–498. Open Access *shared first authorship

  • Kiesmüller C, Haug JT, Müller P, Hörnig MK (2021). Debris-carrying behaviour of bark lice immatures preserved in 100 million years old amber. PalZ. Open Access

  • Hörnig MK, Kiesmüller C, Müller P, Haug C, Haug JT (2020). A new glimpse on trophic interactions of 100-million-year old lacewings. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 65(4): 777–786.  Open access
  • Kiesmüller C, Hörnig MK, Leipner A, Haug C, Haug JT (2019). Palaeozoic palaeodictyopteroidean insect nymphs with prominent ovipositors. Bulletin of Geosciences, 94(5): 23–40. Open Access