Staff profile

Dr Richard Peters


College of Science, Health and Engineering
School of Life Sciences

Biological Sciences Building 1, Room 340, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA(Hons), PhD (Macquarie)

Membership of professional associations


Area of study


Brief profile

  • Full details about my research activities can be found on the Peters' Lab pages.
  • My primary interests concern the motion ecology of animals:
  • Evolution of movement-based signals: Movement-based signals are found in many and varied species and represent an interesting, yet challenging area of research. I study the Australian jacky lizard (Amphibolurus muricatus) as a model to consider the factors that affect signal design and that have contributed, through evolution, to the diversity we see today.
  • Detection of predators and prey: The primary threats facing adult lizards are aerial predators. Efficient mechanisms that allow an animal to evaluate the threat are paramount to survival. The spatiotemporal changes associated with looming are particularly important to recognise. Movement is also a key factor in the initiation of predatory behaviour. It is likely that lizards attend to a variety of movement patterns, but their response is mediated by further analysis of stimulus characteristics. This makes lizards ideal for analysing how stimulus characteristics influence the probability of attack.
  • Other research interests include the evolution of animal communication strategies more generally and topics that have a visual ecology theme including foraging behaviour of Jack jumper ants (Genus: Myrmecia).

Research interests

Behavioural ecology

- Evolution of motion signalling

Teaching units

ZOO3EPA - Behavioural Ecology

ZOO3EPA - Mallee Field Course

AGR1ANS - Animal Behaviour

Recent publications

Peters, RA, Movement-based signalling and the physical world: modelling the changing perceptual task for receivers. In Modelling Perception with Artificial Neural Networks, Ed. Tosh C & Ruxton G, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, (2010)

Peters, RA , Allen SJ. Movement signal choreography unaffected by receiver distance in the Australian Jacky lizard, Amphibolurus muricatus. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology. 63,1593-1602. (2009)

Peters, RA, Hemmi, JM & Zeil J Image motion environments: background noise for movement-based animal signals. Journal of Comparative Physiology A , 194, 441-456. (2008)

Peters RA, Environmental motion delays the detection of movement-based signals. Biology Letters, 4, 2-5. 2008

How MJ, Hemmi JM, Zeil J & Peters RA, Claw waving display changes with receiver distance in fiddler crabs, Uca perplexa. Animal Behaviour, 75, 1015-1022. (2008)

Peters RA, , Hemmi JM & Zeil J Signalling against the wind: modifying motion signal structure in response to increased noise. Current Biology, 17, 1231-1234. 2007

Ord, TJ, Peters RA , Clucas, B & Stamps JA. Lizards speed up visual displays in noisy motion habitats. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B 274 1057-1062. (2007)

Peters RA & Evans CS. Active space of a movement-based signal: response to the Jacky dragon (Amphibolurus muricatus) display is sensitive to distance, but independent of orientation. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210, 395-402. (2007)