We model and analyse the secular evolution of stellar bars in spinning dark matter (DM) haloes with the cosmological spin λ ∼ 0–0.09. Using high-resolution stellar and DM numerical simulations, we focus on angular momentum exchange between stellar discs and DM haloes of various axisymmetric shapes – spherical, oblate, and prolate. We find that stellar bars experience a diverse evolution that is guided by the ability of parent haloes to absorb angular momentum, J, lost by the disc through the action of gravitational torques, resonant and non-resonant. We confirm that dynamical bar instability is accelerated via resonant J-transfer to the halo. Our main findings relate to the long-term secular evolution of disc–halo systems: with an increasing λ, bars experience less growth and basically dissolve after they pass through vertical buckling instability. Specifically, with increasing λ, (1) the vertical buckling instability in stellar bars colludes with inability of the inner halo to absorb J – this emerges as the main factor weakening or destroying bars in spinning haloes; (2) bars lose progressively less J, and their pattern speeds level off; (3) bars are smaller, and for λ ≳ 0.06 cease their growth completely following buckling; (4) bars in λ > 0.03 haloes have ratio of corotation-to-bar radii, RCR/Rb > 2, and represent so-called slow bars without offset dust lanes. We provide a quantitative analysis of J-transfer in disc–halo systems, and explain the reasons for absence of growth in fast spinning haloes and its observational corollaries. We conclude that stellar bar evolution is substantially more complex than anticipated, and bars are not as resilient as has been considered so far.

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Published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, v. 476, issue 1, p. 1331-1344.

This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2018 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

The copyright holders have granted the permission for posting the article here.

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This work has been partially supported by the HST/STScI Theory grant AR-14584, and by JSPS KAKENHI grant #16H02163 (to IS). The STScI is operated by the AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.