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


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I want one of those for my Acarium

That is an awesome picture of an awesome mite.


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!

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.

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.

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!!!