Matthew LIM Lek Min


Contact Information:

Department of Biological Science
National University of Singapore
14 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543

6516 2715
6779 2486

Academic Qualifications

PhD, BSc (Hons), National University of Singapore

Research Areas

Animal Communication (behavioural & sensory biology); Animal/Plant Structural Colours & Iridescence

Research Interests

I have a broad interest in ecology and most aspects of animal communications, with a strong research focus on the mechanisms and optical properties of animal structural colours, how animals perceive these ‘optical’ signals, and identifying the proximate factors that affect signal production and transmission. My key research interest is in identifying the mechanisms and optical variables of animal/plant structural colours (thin-film reflections, multilayer reflectors) and how physical colour signals (e.g., iridescence, polarized reflections) and the environment can mediate inter- and intraspecies interactions.

Student Final Year Projects

  1. Polarized reflection and vision in the UV-reflective jumping spider Cosmophasis umbratica (FYP 2009/10: Chew Li Ling, Jocelyn)

  2. Nepenthes crab spider Misumenops nepenthicola as apex predator in Nepenthes gracilis pitchers (FYP 2009/10: Chua Jie Ling, Trina)

  3. Floral biology of mangrove plants Avicennia alba and Bruguiera cylindrica (FYP 2008/09: Eng Tze Hwee)

  4. Insect pollinators of mangrove plants Avicennia alba and Bruguiera cylindrica (FYP 2008/09: Lee Yanmei)

  5. Functional significance of yellow coloration in the Striped-nose halfbeaks (FYP 2008/09: Su Shiyu)


  1. Lim MLM, Li D (2013) UV-Green Iridescence Predicts Male Quality during Jumping Spider Contests. PLoS ONE 8(4): e59774. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059774 (link)

  2. Chua TJL & Lim MLM (2012) Cross-habitat predation in Nepenthes gracilis: the red crab spider Misumenops nepenthicola influences abundance of pitcher dipteran larvae. Journal of Tropical Ecology 28, 97-104.

  3. Traill LW, Lim MLM, Sodhi NS & Bradshaw CJA (2010) Mechanisms driving change: altered species interactions and ecosystem function through global warming. Journal of Animal Ecology 79, 937-947.

  4. Lim MLM, Li JJ & Li D (2008a) Effect of UV-reflecting markings on female mate choice decisions in Cosmophasis umbratica, a jumping spider from Singapore. Behavioral Ecology 19:61-66

  5. Lim MLM, Sodhi NS & Endler JA (2008b) Conservation with sense. Science 319:281 (Letter)

  6. Lim MLM & Li D (2007) Effects of age and feeding history on structure-based ornaments of a jumping spider. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 274: 569-575

  7. Lim MLM, Land MF & Li D (2007) Sex-specific UV and fluorescence signals in jumping spiders. Science 315: 481 (Brevia)

  8. Lim MLM & Li D (2006a) Extreme ultraviolet sexual dimorphism in jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 89: 397-406

  9. Lim MLM & Li D (2006b) Behavioural evidence of UV sensitivity in jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae). Journal of Comparative Physiology A 192: 871-878

  10. Li D & Lim MLM (2005) Ultraviolet cues affect the foraging behaviour of jumping spiders. Animal Behaviour 70:771-776

  11. Lim MLM & Li D (2004) Courtship and male-male agonistic behaviour of Cosmophasis umbratica Simon, an ornate jumping spider (Araneae: Salticidae) from Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 52: 97-110


  1. Todd PA, Wang WY, Huang HW, Belle CC, Lim MLM and Yeo DCJ (2011) The function of colourful facial bands in mangrove crab (Perisesarma) communication. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 407, 26-33.

  2. Zou Y, Araujo DP, Lim MLM & Li D (2011) Ultraviolet is a more important cue than reflection in other wavelengths for a jumping spider to locate its spider prey. Animal Behaviour 82, 1457-1463.

  3. Li JJ, Zhang Z, Liu F, Liu Q, Gan W, Chen J, Lim MLM & Li D (2008) UVB-based mate-choice cues used by females of the jumping spider Phintella vittata. Current Biology 18: 699-703

  4. Li JJ, Lim MLM, Zhang Z, Liu Q, Liu F, Chen J & Li D (2008) Sexual dichromatism and male colour morph in ultraviolet-B reflectance in two populations of the jumping spider Phintella vittata (Araneae: Salticidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 94: 7-20

  5. Land MF, Horwood J, Lim MLM & Li D (2007) Optics of the ultra-violet reflecting scales of a jumping spider. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 274: 1538-1589

  6. Du N, Liu XY, Narayanan J, Li L, Lim MLM & Li D (2006) Design of superior spider silk: from nanostructure to mechanical properties. Biophysical Journal 91: 4528-4535

  7. Li D, Lim MLM, Seah WK & Tay SL (2004) Prey-attraction as a possible function of discoid stabilimenta of juvenile orb-spinning spiders. Animal Behaviour 68: 629-635

  8. Li D, Jackson RR & Lim MLM (2003) Influence of background and prey orientation on an ambushing predator's decisions. Behaviour 140: 739-764

  9. Li D, Kok LM, Seah WK & Lim MLM (2003) Age-dependent stabilimentum-associated predator-avoidance behaviours in orb-weaving spiders. Behaviour 140: 1135-1152


Chua Toh Hua Memorial Gold Medal 2007 (Best Doctor of Philosophy graduate with most outstanding research work done in Life Sciences)



Krushnamegh Kunte (National Center for Biological Sciences)