East Africa is home to a species of jumping spider, who feasts on Anopheles mosquitoes, which are responsible for the spread of Malaria.
There’s no doubting the anecdotal evidence that more people fear spiders than mosquitoes. Spiders are more obvious to the eye and they often appear when you least expect to see them, hence the element of surprise. On the other hand, mosquitoes are more covert, due to their diminutive size and their ability to fly quickly.
Interestingly enough, there is also scientific evidence that we should fear mosquitoes more, because they are deadlier than spiders – deadlier than any other of the Earth’s animals!
The mosquito is the single deadliest, most dangerous animal in the world and also one of the smallest. Mosquitoes are estimated to cause between 750,000 and one million human deaths per year. They are a vector for many diseases that are deadly to mankind including malaria, dengue fever, and the West Nile and Zika viruses. Malaria alone accounts for over half a million fatal infections annually.
Some scientists have estimated that potentially half of all human deaths since the beginning of our species may be the result of illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes. Even without such a wild historical estimate, the mosquito has solidly cemented its place at number one on our list of deadliest animals with both their aggression and the deaths of nearly one million people per year.
A spider mosquito is nature’s way of helping to control the mosquito population.
A spider mosquito is that one mosquito species that looks like a spider. Often confused with a spider mosquito because of their similar physical appearance, craneflies are related to mosquitoes, but they are not mosquitoes. They don’t bite; they don’t suck blood. In fact, most adult crane flies don’t eat at all. Those that do, drink nectar.
On the other hand, blood-thirsty mosquito-eating spiders do bite – in a good way. Mosquito-eating spiders from east Africa and Malaysia could become a weapon in fighting malaria, researchers have said. A species of jumping spider found only around Lake Victoria in east Africa, called Evarcha culicivora, is adapted to hunt female Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria parasites.
This animal targets its prey based on what that prey has eaten, a spin on the food chain of nature, if you will. These spider mosquito arachnids, also known as vampire spiders, love feeding on human blood as it gives them an odor that renders them sexually attractive to potential mates.
But the spiders pose no danger to humans. Even though they like human blood, they lack the mouth parts to pierce people’s skin. Instead, to get a nutritious blood meal, the spiders feed on the female mosquitoes that carry blood sucked from humans, another form of natural mosquito control, if you will.
What mosquito looks like a spider?
We are familiar with craneflies here in the United States. Often misunderstood to be mosquito eaters, they are commonly referred to as mosquito hawks. But in Thailand, there exists a cranefly that is mosquito-spider hybrid.
Here in the United States, the inch-long, gangly-legged insect that sneaks into your house and bounces around the walls and ceiling is indeed a crane fly, and it is neither a predator of mosquitoes nor a colossal mosquito. Also, they are harmless.
Although the Internet contains content of adult crane flies biting or stinging, they do neither. They just don’t have the mouthparts common to mosquitoes. So no, crane flies are not blood-feeding, and none of them bite people.
While we don’t have either of these species of craneflies or spiders in Northeast Florida, we have mosquitoes aplenty!
That’s why it’s essential that you remain protected from the bites from these potentially diseased bloodsuckers!
The mosquito controls that nature may not provide us here in Florida can be achieved by the trusted mosquito control service Mosquito Squad.