Cara Shillington

Cara in SanSal



401Q Science Complex


[email protected]


  • BS, Washington State University, 1992, 1993
  • MS, Washington State University, 1996
  • Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 2001

Interests and Expertise

I take an integrative, field-based, evolutionary approach to studying the physiological ecology of ectothermic organisms, especially arachnids and arthropods (but also including reptiles and amphibians). My research concerns a variety of interactions between animals and their environments, including ecological energetics, behavioral ecology, thermoregulatory physiology and thermal ecology. My research at this time centers on potentially adaptive whole-animal functions as expressed in the context of natural habitats including intra- and intersexual variation in energetics of tarantulas, and thermal preferences of a variety of organisms. Other areas of interest include studies of animal behavior, particularly sexual strategies and mating behavior, as well as feeding behaviors and preferences.


  • BIO 105 Introductory Biology for Non-majors
  • BIO 120 Introductory Biology II
  • BIO 472 Parasitology
  • BIO 480 Natural History of Invertebrates
  • BIO 488 Biology of Arachnids
  • BIO 572 Parasitology
  • BIO 580 Natural History of Invertebrates
  • BIO 588 Biology of Arachnids
  • BIO 679 Teaching Undergraduate Biology

Publications and Presentations

  • Philip, B. and Shillington, C. 2007. A novel approach for hair removal to examine the cuticle of arthropods. Microscopy Today: 15: 22–25.
  • Shillington, C. and McEwen, B. 2006. Activity of juvenile tarantulas in the maternal burrow. Journal of Arachnology 34: 261265.
  • Shillington, C. 2005. Inter-sexual dimorphism in resting metabolic rate the Texas tarantula Aphonopelma anax. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 142A: 439445.
  • Shillington, C. 2005. Inter-sexual differences in resting metabolic rates in the Texas tarantula, Aphonopelma anax . Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 142A: 439445.
  • Shillington, C. 2002. Thermal ecology of male tarantulas (Aphonopelma anax) during the mating season. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 80: 251259.
  • Shillington, C. and Peterson, C.C. Energy metabolism of male and female tarantulas (Aphonopelma anax) during locomotion. Journal of Experimental Biology 205: 29092914.
  • Shillington, C and Verrell, P. 1997. Sexual strategies of a North American 'tarantula' Aphonopelma sp. (Araneae: Theraphosidae). Ethology 103, 588598.
  • Shillington, C. and Verrell, P. 1996. Multiple mating by females is not dependent on body size in the salamander Desmognathus ochrophaeus. Amphibia-Reptilia 17: 3338.