The research on predatory arthropods (often referred to now as ‘the spider-malaria project’) is a long-term collaborative programme between icipe and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), which began in 1994 and has been based primarily at icipe’s Thomas Odhiambo Campus in Mbita.

This research programme pertains to examples of unusually intricate predatory specialization, with particular attention being given to behavior that is cognitive in character. Efforts are also being made to link basic research on predators to applied-science topics pertaining to human health. In this context, research on mosquito-specialist predators is a dominant theme, with a large portion of this research being focused on Evarcha culicivora, a spider which feeds indirectly on blood; it achieves this by expressing an active preference for blood-carrying mosquitoes and also targeting malaria vectors as its preferred mosquitoes.