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Abraham Miller

Abraham L. Miller
Associate Professor

2001: West Texas A&M University, B.S. Biology
2002: University of Tasmania, H.Sc. Zoology
2008: University of Texas at Arlington, Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Biology, Advisor: Daniel Formanowicz
Dissertation Title: "Phylogeography and geographical variation of behavioral and morphological characteristics in Paruroctonus boreus."

Research Topics Abraham Miller Has Investigated:

Scorpion Research

  • Male behavioral response of the northern scorpion to the presence of male and female conspecifics
  • Scorpion distribution along a latitudinal gradient
  • Morphological variation of mating structures in scorpions using SEM
  • Phylogeography of the northern scorpion, inferred from mitochondrial DNA
  • Mite parasitism on the southern scorpion in Tasmania, Australia
  • Reproductive behavior of the southern scorpion in Tasmania

Human Research

  • Maximizing batter swing speed through various warm-up routines in intercollegiate baseball players (Effects of Post Activation Potentiation)
  • Hair color preferences of males and females; the influence of family and society
  • Sexual selection in humans influences choice in sunglasses, which is dependent on the environment and the surveyor behavior.

Questions the Research Can Address:

Scorpion Research

  • Do male scorpions randomly search for mates or are they responding to chemical cues, which they use to differentiate between males and females?
  • Are scorpions sexually dimorphic in their structures associated with mate location and mating?
  • Are geographically widespread species isolated in some areas? If so, do these populations exhibit genetic divergence?
  • How frequent are the rates of parasitism in scorpions and what effects do they have on populations?

Human Research

  • What is the optimal warm-up routine for batters? Does the weight of the bat or time before an “at bat” affect the swing speed?
  • What hair color is most preferred?
  • Is hair color choice influenced by your parents or the location where you live?
  • Does hair color preference vary between males and females?
  • Does sex ratio affect the stereotypical behaviors of males and females?
  • Is the choice of sunglasses dependent on the environment you are in?  Would people choose the same sunglasses at the beach as they do at an office?

Research Ideas/Projects for Undergraduates:


  • Create distributional maps of Florida scorpions using collected specimens and museum specimens. Using GIS, we can map the distribution of the species, potential areas of occurrence and track the spread of invasive species in the state.
  • Describe the mating behaviors and reproductive structures of scorpions in Florida. Research literature has not documented the mating behaviors of Florida scorpions or their reproductive structures.
  • Investigate the reproductive investment of female scorpions. Female scorpions demonstrate parental care and it is unknown if the scorpions in Florida experience reproductive trade-offs between the size and number of offspring that they have. Additionally, it is undocumented whether years with less prey (drought years) affect the reproductive investment of females the following year. If so, do females give birth to fewer young following bad years or do they give birth to the same number, but smaller young.
  • Sprint speeds of scorpions under different temperatures. What are the physiological limitations they may vary between species and affect their distributions?


  • Identify characteristics that males and females use to select who they find attractive.
  • Symmetrical faces are viewed as more attractive across cultures, but is this an honest signal.


2013 Miller, A. L., R. A. Makowsky, C. L. Cox, L. Prendini, D. R. Formanowicz. Cryptic genetic diversity and complex phylogeography of the boreal North American scorpion, Paruroctonus boreus (Vaejovidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (In Press).

2011 Wilson, J.M., A.L. Miller, D.J. Szymanski, N.M. Duncan, J.C. Andersen, Z.G. Alcantara, C.J. Bergman & T.J. Morrison. Effects of various warm-up devices and rest period lengths on batting velocity and acceleration of intercollegiate baseball players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26 (9): 2317-2323.

2010 Miller, A. L. & D. Formanowicz. Friend or foe: behavioral responses to conspecifics in the northern scorpion, Paruroctonus boreus (Scorpionida: Vaejovidae). Journal of Ethology 29:251-256.

2002 Seeman, O. & A Miller. Mite parasitism on the southern scorpion Cercophonius squama. Tasmanian Naturalist 124: 49-55.

2016 Miller, A. L., Wotham, J., Delvescovo, D. Female hair color preference: Does female choice vary by region? Human Behavior and Evolution Society.

2015 Liddy, A & A.L. Miller. Sex-specific behavioral responses to pheromones in the scorpion Paruroctonus boreus. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

2014 Miller, A.L. & Wortham, J.L. From crabs, scorpions to humans – are behaviors really what we think they are for? Good sex for her may be bad sex for him. University of Tampa Honors Symposium. (Co-Presenting Author)

2011 Miller, A.L., J.M. Wilson, M. Cannata, K. Thompson, T.J. Morrison, C. Bergman, N. Duncan, J.C. Andersen, K. Morris, C. Baietto, R. Lowry, K. Otero, J. O’Sullivan, D.J. Szymanski. Effects of various warm-up implements and rest period lengths on batting acceleration and velocity. National Strength and Conditioning Association Annual Meeting.

2010 Miller, A.L., Friend or foe; behavioral responses to pheromones of conspecifics in the northern scorpion, Paruroctonus boreus. Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology.