Location: Room 248, Macleay Building A12 | Phone: 02 9351 2267 | Email: ros.gloag@sydney.edu.au

Biographical details

Dr Ros Gloag

I returned to the University of Sydney in 2014 on a USyd Postdoctoral Fellowship. I was here previously as an undergraduate and a research assistant, which is when I developed my interest in behavioural evolution generally and social insect behaviour in particular. In between I went away and undertook a PhD at the University of Oxford, investigating the behaviours of an equally fascinating group of animals: birds. I completed my PhD in December 2012.

Research interests

I am broadly interested in the evolution and ecology of animal behaviours. My work has focused on the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies. These include social parasitism (also called brood parasitism, where females lay their eggs in the nests of conspecifics or interspecifics), asexual reproduction (e.g. thelytoky in honey bees, where unmated females clone themselves to produce daughters) and eusociality (where reproduction is divided among different castes of females in a society, e.g. queens and workers in a honey bee nest). I use experimental fieldwork, molecular laboratory techniques and mathematical models. Currently, my specific research topics of interest are:

  • Thelytoky in Asian and African honey bees.
  • Coevolution of brood parasitic birds and their hosts (particularly the parasitic South American cowbirds and Australian bronze-cuckoos).
  • The evolution of social parasitism in honey bees
  • Behaviour and Ecology of Australian stingless bees

In the media

Gorman, J. “In a Bird’s Nest, An Animal Behaviour Puzzle” The New York Times, Dec 10, 2013

Marshall, M. "To kill a mockingbird? No, to parasitise it." New Scientist, Dec 7 2011

Selected publications


Gloag, R., Fiorini, V.D., Reboreda, J-C and Kacelnik, A. (2014). Shiny cowbirds share foster mothers but not true mothers in multiply parasitized mockingbird nests. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. Online Jan 2014


Gloag, R., Fiorini, V.D., Reboreda, J-C and Kacelnik, A. (2013) The wages of violence: mobbing by mockingbirds as a frontline defence against brood parasitic cowbirds. Animal Behaviour 86: 1023-1029

Gloag, R. and Kacelnik, A. (2013) Host manipulation via begging call structure in the brood parasitic shiny cowbird. Animal Behaviour 86: 101-109

De Marsico, M., Gloag, R. Ursino, C. and Reboreda, J-C. (2013) A novel method of rejection of brood parasitic eggs reduces parasitism intensity in a cowbird host. Biology Letters 9: 20130076


Gloag, R., Fiorini, V.D., Reboreda, J-C and Kacelnik, A. (2012). Brood parasite eggs enhance host egg survival in a multiply parasitized host. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279: 1831-1839

Gloag, R., Tuero, D.T., Fiorini, V.D., Reboreda, J-C. and Kacelnik, A. (2012) The economics of nestmate-killing in avian brood parasites: a provisions trade-off. Behavioral Ecology 23: 132-140


Lo, N., Gloag, R., Anderson, D.L. and Oldroyd, B.P. (2010). A molecular phylogeny of the genus Apis suggests that the giant honeybee of the Philippines, A. breviliula Maa, and the plains honeybee of southern India, A. indica Fabricius, are valid species. Systematic Entomology 35: 226-233

Allsopp, M.H., Beekman, M., Gloag, R. and Oldroyd, B.P. (2010). Maternity of replacement queens in the thelytokous Cape honey bee Apis mellifera capensis. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 64: 567-574

Oxley, P.R., Hinhumpatch, P., Gloag, R. and Oldroyd, B.P. (2010). Genetic evaluation of a novel system for controlled mating of the honeybee, Apis mellifera Journal of Heredity 101: 334-338


Chapman, N.C. ,Nanork, P., Gloag, R., Wattanachaiyingcharoen, W., Beekman, M. and Oldroyd, B.P. (2009). Queenless colonies of the Asian red dwarf honeybee Apis florea are infiltrated by workers from other queenless colonies. Behavioral Ecology 20: 817-820

Gloag, R., Shaw, S. R. and Burwell, C. (2009). A new species of Syntretus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Euphorinae) parasitises the stingless bee Trigona carbonaria (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponinae). Australian Journal of Entomology 48: 8-14


Oldroyd, B.P., Allsopp, M.H., Gloag, R. Lim, J., Jordan, L.A. & Beekman, M. (2008). Thelyotokous parthenogensis in unmated queen honeybees (Apis mellifera capensis): Central fusion and high recombination rates. Genetics 180: 359-366.

Gloag, R., Heard, T.A., Beekman, M. & Oldroyd, B.P. (2008). Nest defence in a stingless bee: What causes fighting swarms in Trigona carbonaria (Hymenoptera: Meliponini)? Insectes Sociaux 55: 387-391.


Nanork, P., Chapman, N.C., Wongsiri, S., Lim, J., Gloag, R. & Oldroyd, B.P. (2007) Social parasitism by workers in queenless and queenright Apis cerana colonies. Molecular Ecology 16: 1107-111

Gloag, R., Beekman, M., Heard, T.A. & Oldroyd, B. P. (2007). No worker reproduction in the Australian stingless bee Trigona carbonaria Smith (Hymenoptera, Apidae). Insectes Sociaux 54: 412-417