Oct. 28, 2005— Like the character Count Dracula and his real-life vampire bat counterparts, a small, East African jumping spider has a taste for blood, according to a recent study.
The spider, Evarcha culicivora, lacks the ability to pierce skin and to sip blood, so instead it feeds indirectly on blood by choosing, as its preferred meal, female mosquitoes that have just engorged themselves with a victim’s blood.
The blood-hungry spider is the first predator ever identified that selects its prey based upon what the prey just ate. Similar to a protein shake, blood can be a highly nutritious drink that goes down smoothly.
"Perhaps blood is a ready-made nutrient-rich liquid meal for which minimal energy expenditure in terms of processing is needed," said Ximena Nelson, lead author of the study, published in a recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
picture of spider: