Velvet Mite

A velvet mite forages over a rotting log in Urbana, Illinois.
A velvet mite forages over a rotting log in Urbana, Illinois.

I don’t photograph all that many mites, but if these miniature arachnids are your thing you should visit Macromite’s amazing mite blog.

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D
ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f13, flash diffused through tracing paper

8 thoughts on “Velvet Mite”

  1. I am going to come steal your camera!! What an amazing shot! I know how small these guys are, and for you to get that much detail is really a testament to your camera AND your ability. Well done!

  2. Great depth of field for a lateral shot of something that small. You can see how legs I are used as antennae and the octopod mite is actually functionally hexapod (and you can also see the curved palps that are probably used to tap/taste the substrate as it walks along).

    These mites are large and colourful enough to have a common name – red velvet mites – but under that name hides a heap of diversity and behaviours. What joins them all together is a terrestrial life style (water mites are their wet relatives), a parasitic hexapod larval stage, and an alternation of active and inactive stages during development. The red colour is due to carotenoids – probably originally for UV protection, but coopted into an aposematic warning in at least some species.

    I’m guessing that this mite is a member of one of the five families in the Trombidioidea, in which case the larva would be an ectoparasite of an insect or other arthropod – little red 6-legged mites attached to soft cuticle by their mouthparts. If it were a Trombiculoidea, however, then you would know its larval stage as a chigger.

  3. Pingback: Does a fly itch? « Macromite’s Blog

  4. If I had a buck for every deleted and should be deleted photo of these red velvet mites I’ve taken, I’d be a lot richer than I am now. Awesome shot!

    And thanks for the link.

  5. I love your picture you are amazing at taking pictures!!!
    This is the clearest picture of a red velvet mite i have ever seen! You could earn alot of money from taking pictures!
    Red velvet mites forever!!!

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