Evarcha culicivora chooses blood-fed Anopheles mosquitoes but other East African jumping spiders do not
Previous research using computer animation and lures made from dead prey has demonstrated that the East African salticid Evarcha culicivora Wesolowska & Jackson (Araneae: Salticidae) feeds indirectly on vertebrate blood by actively choosing blood-carrying female mosquitoes as prey, and also that it singles out mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles (Diptera: Culicidae) by preference. Here, we demonstrate that E. culicivora’s preference is expressed when the species is tested with living prey and that it is unique to E. culicivora. As an alternative hypothesis, we considered the possibility that the preference for blood-fed female anopheline mosquitoes might be widespread in East African salticids. When live-prey choice tests were carried out in 19 additional species, there were no instances in which blood-carrying mosquitoes were chosen significantly more often than other prey. Combined with the findings of previous work, these results suggest that it is possible that specialized predators play a role in the biological control of disease vectors.