Could a Malaysian jumping spider be the key to curbing dengue and malaria?
Scientists from Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and China have discovered a small Malaysian spider who could help in curbing diseases spread by mosquitoes.
How will it do this?
According to the researchers, the Malaysian jumping spider (scientific name: Paracyrba wanlessi) is the only predator discovered so far that preys on mosquitoes during all stages of the insect's life cycle, from larva, to pupa to full-fledged adult, when it starts feeding on blood.
And it seems the Malaysian jumping spider is only interested in eating mosquitoes, even when it was presented with other kinds of prey.
“Finding predators that single out mosquitoes as preferred prey is especially interesting to people because they kill the vectors of some of the most notorious human diseases, with malaria being at the top of the list,” says Dr Fiona Cross from New Zealand's University of Canterbury.
The researchers say it's not confirmed if the mosquito will definitely be useful in the context of mosquito control, but they will be hoping to learn more about its biology.