Vampire spiders: it sounds like the subject of a bad dream, but in areas where malaria kills hundreds of thousands each year, these arachnids could actually be a dream come true!
Two specific species of spiders, Evarcha culicivora (found in East Africa) and Paracyrba wanlessi (found in Malaysia), primarily prey on the female mosquitoes and their larvae, which are hosts for malaria. They’re known as ‘vampire spiders’ because they have a thirst for these particular mosquitoes, and they’re ruthless about getting what they want- when they’ve spotted a target, there’s no hope for the mosquito!
These vampire spiders, while potentially terrifying to think about, are angels in disguise to the people who live in East Africa and Malaysia and reside in areas where malaria is a serious risk. In other areas, non-indigenous insects have been introduced to help solve pesky bug problems. But here’s the real question: would ‘vampire spiders’ receive as welcome of a reception as, say, ladybugs that are introduced into a garden to kill aphids? What do you think? Would the benefit of the spiders outweigh the risks of malaria for YOU? We’d love to hear your opinion- comment below!
Read more about vampire spiders here.