Divya Uma

Areas of Interest & Expertise

  • Behavioral ecology of Predator-prey Interactions
  • Mimicry
  • Camouflage in Insects and Spiders
  • Collective behaviour of Social Spiders
  • Popularizing Science through Outreach


Before joining APU, I was a post-doctoral fellow at IISER Trivandrum examining hunting and web-building behavior of social spiders, and personalities in these spiders. Prior to this, I did another post-doctoral stint at University of Maryland, Collage Park, USA, looking at the response of crayfish towards predatory cues, and also exploring non-invasive methods of imaging neuroanatomical structures of crayfish. I obtained my doctoral degree from Georgetown University, USA where I looked into predator-prey interactions between wasps and spiders. 

In APU, my recent work include investigating mimicry in ant-mimicking spiders; ecology of floral colour changing plants and their pollinators; spatio-temporal dynamics of web architecture in social spiders.

I survive Bangalore by taking quick getaways to quitter forested areas! 



(all are peer-reviewed research articles)

  • Thejasvi Beleyur, Tejas G Murthy, Saurabh Singh, Hema Somanathan and Divya Uma (2021) The web architecture, dynamics, and silk investment in the social spider, Stegodyphus sarasinorum. Animal Behaviour.
  • Ellendula, S., Tresa, C., & Uma, D. (2021). Influence of prey availability on web-building in the social spider Stegodyphus sarasinorum (Araneae: Eresidae). The Journal of Arachnology, 49(1), 141 – 145. https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1636​/​J​o​A​-S-19 – 080
  • Vijayan, S., Balasubramanian, P., Casiker, C., & Uma, D. (2021). Non-mimetic jumping spider responses towards three species of ants and their mimics. Journal of Ethology, 39(1), 65 – 72. https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1007​/​s​10164-020 – 00674‑y
  • Dubey, S., Joshi, C. H., Veer, S., Uma, D., Somanathan, H., Majumdar, S., & Pullarkat, P. A. (2020). Strain softening and stiffening responses of spider silk fibers probed using a Micro-Extension Rheometer. Soft Matter. DOI: 10.1039/c9sm01572h
  • Aparajitha Ramesh, Sajesh Vijayan, Sreethin Sreedharan, Hema Somanathan, Divya Uma (2016). Similar yet different: differential response of a praying mantis to ant-mimicking spiders. Biological Journal of Linnaean Society. DOI: 10.1111/bij.12793
  • Thejasvi Beleyur, Divya Uma, Hema Somanathan (2015). Long-term behavioural consistency in prey capture but not in web maintenance in a social spider. Behavioral Ecology Socio Biology. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-0151915‑z
  • Divya Uma, C. Durkee, G. Herzner, & M. R. Weiss (2013). Double deception: ant mimicking spiders fool both visually- and chemically-oriented predators. PLoS ONE, 8(11): e79660. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0079660
  • Divya Uma& M. R. Weiss (2012). Flee or fight: ontogenetic changes in the behavior of cobweb spiders in encounters with spider-hunting wasps. Environmental Entomology, 41(6), 1474 – 1480. https://​www​.ncbi​.nlm​.nih​.gov/​p​u​b​m​e​d​/​23321095
  • Caitlin Durkee, D. Uma& M. R. Weiss (2011). Ant mimicry lessens predation on a North American jumping spider by larger salticid spiders. Environmental Entomology, 40(5), 1223 – 1231. https://​www​.ncbi​.nlm​.nih​.gov/​p​u​b​m​e​d​/​22251733
  • Herberholz J, Mishra SH, Uma D, Germann MW, Edwards DH &Potter K. (2011). Non-invasive imaging of neuroanatomical structures and neural activation with high-resolution MRI. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 5:16. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2011.00016
  • Divya Uma& M. R. Weiss (2010). Chemical mediation of prey preferences in spider-hunting wasps. Ethology, 116(1), 85 – 95. http://​onlineli​brary​.wiley​.com/​d​o​i​/​10​.​1111​/​j​.1439 – 0310.2009.01715.x/abstract

Articles in magazines

  • Aparna Krishnan and Divya Uma.(2020, May) Color changing flowers and choosey pollinators. iWonder, Issue 4.
  • Vena Kapoor and Divya Uma: (2017, Nov)Spiders: the weavers and stalkers among us. iWonder, Issue 73 – 82.