Paige Carlson

Mentor: Dr. Christine W. Miller
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
"My goal has always been to pursue a career that allows me to work tirelessly and think critically, and I have found research to be the culmination of those two ideals. The professors and graduate students with whom I work are, in large part, why I initially got involved (and have since thrived) in research. Their profound love for the field has encouraging and inspired me to question the natural world in which we live, and I am eternally grateful for their guidance as my journey to becoming a scientist continues."


Entomology & Nematology



Research Interests

  • Interspecific Associations
  • Evolutionary Ecology
  • Animal Behavior

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program 2016
  • Mulrennan Scholarship 2016
  • "Welcome to Narnia" Travel Grant 2016


  • UF Entomology Club
  • UF Outdoor Adventure & Recreation (OAR)
  • Field Exploration & Recreational Natural History (FERNh)


  • UF Miller Lab of Evolutionary Ecology

Hobbies and Interests

  • Forest Entomology
  • UF Marching Band
  • Ultimate Frisbee

Research Description

Hind Legs Used as a “Risky Decoy” in the Leaf-Footed Bug, Leptoglossus phyllopus
Autotomy, induced limb loss, is an extreme survival trait observed throughout the animal kingdom. Recently, the “risky decoy” hypothesis has been proposed suggesting that autotomy can result in the evolution of conspicuous traits. The conspicuous traits can then misdirect fatal attacks away from the body, providing the animal the opportunity to escape from a predation attempt. Here, I investigated whether or not the enlarged hind tibias of coreids (Insecta: Hemiptera: Coreidae) also serve as risky decoys. To test my hypothesis, I investigated the following through experimentation: 1) Are insects with large tibias attacked sooner and more often (i.e., risky)? 2) Are attacks misdirected towards their legs (i.e., decoy)? Not only does this study help us better understand animal form and function, but it suggests that separate taxa have followed convergent evolutionary trajectories following the evolution of autotomy.