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Red Velvet Mite

Trombidium sp.


Only 2-3mm long, bright red in colour.


Red velvet mites are extremely important to the environment. These mites are part of a community of soil arthropods that is critical in terms of rates of decomposition in woodlands and in maintaining the structure of the entire ecosystem. By feeding on insects that eat fungi and bacteria, they stimulate the decomposition process. "Red velvet mites are members of the subphylum Chelicerata, a group of critters that have tiny lobster-like claws that serve as mouthparts, a feature that relates them closely to spiders, scorpions, and harvestmen. Red velvet mites make their home in the litter layer of woodlands and forests. They live from one to several years, depending on the species. As larvae, they attach themselves to a variety of arthropods and feed parasitically. They will suck blood from a gnat or grasshopper, for instance, sometimes hitching a ride with several other mites. When red velvet mites become nymphs and then adults, they take to the soil to devour much smaller prey, including other mites and their eggs, the eggs of insects and snails, and primitive wingless insects. [1] Adult male mites release their sperm on small twigs or stalks. That ritual is followed by the male laying down an intricate silken trail to the sperm. Females spot these trails, then seek out the individual male. If he's to her liking, she sits in the sperm. But if another male spots one of these sperm gardens, he'll promptly destroy it and replace it with his own." [1]

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Jason Alexander
Jason Alexander 6 years ago

Great macro shot!

MayraSpringmann 7 years ago

Wow!!!! Amazing!!!

Aaron_G 7 years ago

ArgyBee, I know just the woman who can make your plush request a reality!


Ismael Chaves
Ismael Chaves 7 years ago

Wow! fantastic

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 7 years ago

Oh Rachael, what clear pictures - would love one of these (without legs and mouthparts) and about a million times bigger, for as a cushion !!
Thanks for the interesting information - they eat just about everything, don't they ? I am glad to know that find quite a few of these in our backyard from time to time...very nice !

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Not insect IGN - Larry... 8 legs. I want a plush toy of this.

ScottHarte 7 years ago

great find!

lizbeth 7 years ago

Es extraordinaria!!! Felicidades!!!

LarryGraziano 7 years ago

Wow! Amazing insect!

RachaelB 7 years ago

Thanks Alice and Asergio. Thank god for digital cameras hey! I'd be broke if I was still using a film camera ;-)

alicelongmartin 7 years ago

Beautiful Series!

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 7 years ago

Always the same history, Rachel, one or two good photos, and a basket full of trash (virtual trash, thank God). BTW, it is an awesome series.

RachaelB 7 years ago

Thanks Argy! I'm using the same camera I've always used (Canon Powershot SX40HD) but I just purchased one of the Raynox macro lens that clips onto the end of my camera lens. I love it! It is a bit tricky to keep stable without a tripod but if you take enough photos you're bound to get a few good ones. Thankfully this mite was happy to stand still and pose for me :-)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Fantastic Rachael and great info. I haven't seen such good macros of these before. What sort of camera?

Spotted by

Victoria, Australia

Lat: -37.79, Long: 145.03

Spotted on Jul 4, 2012
Submitted on Jul 4, 2012

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