Mosquito Terminating Spiders: A Review

Evarcha culicivora, the Anopheles terminator. Photos courtesy of Icipe and
Evarcha culicivora, the Anopheles terminator. Photos courtesy of Icipe &

On the heels of the release of Terminator Genisys, a recent paper in the Journal of Arachnology describes a different kind of terminator. Researchers at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) published an article about two spider species that specialize in hunting mosquitoes.

Many spiders are known to consume mosquitoes, but Evarcha culicivora and Paracyrba wanlessi are the only known mosquito specialists. They are both jumping spiders (Salticidae), but come from very different habitats. The E. culicivora spider is typically found on walls of buildings and hunts adult mosquitoes, with a preference for blood-fed females. Paracyrba wanlessi, on the other hand, is a larval hunter that lives in the hollow internodes of bamboo and prefers mosquito larvae and pupae.

These spiders may have mosquito control applications in the future, but scientists caution more research is necessary before implementing any spider-based mosquito control methods.

You can learn more about these mosquito assassins and the painstaking work done to characterize their preference profiles by reading the review here.

2018-11-07T21:44:25+00:00July 17th, 2015|News|

About the Author:

Kristen is an NSF graduate research fellow in the Reiskind lab that studies mosquito ecology and population genetics.