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Index > News Blog > News > BBC: Mosquito-eating spider likes smelly socks

BBC: Mosquito-eating spider likes smelly socks

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A spider that preys on the malaria-carrying mosquito Anopheles gambiae is attracted to the odour of sweaty socks, according to a study.

Scientists in the UK and Kenya used previously worn socks in an experiment to find out if the spider, like its prey, was attracted to human odours.

The jumping spider appears to have evolved an affinity for smelly human feet in order to help find its prey.

The team reports its findings in the journal Biology Letters.

They say that people might be able to "recruit" this East African jumping spider, Evarcha culicivora, in the battle against malaria by encouraging the arachnids to live in their homes.

Smelly experiment

Fiona Cross, from the University of Canterbury, and Robert Jackson, from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Kenya, carried out the study.

They were interested in this species because it is the only known predator that specifically preys on blood-carrying mosquitoes.


Read the paper in Biology Letters...

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