childhood malaria. We combine crystal structures of CIDRa1:EPCR complexes with analysis of 885 CIDRa1 sequences, showing that the EPCR-binding surfaces of CIDRa1 domains are conserved in shape and bonding potential, despite dramatic sequence diversity. Additionally, these domains mimic features of the natural EPCR ligand and can block this ligand interaction. Using peptides corresponding to the EPCR-binding region, antibodies can be purified from individuals in malaria-endemic regions that block EPCR binding of diverse CIDRa1 variants. This highlights the extent to which such a surface protein family can diversify while maintaining ligand-binding capacity and identifies features that should be mimicked in immunogens to prevent EPCR binding.