Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mitey Fine Claws

This little animal is an acarine mite - a minute but close relative of the more familiar spiders. Both have eight legs but mites are arachnids with a simple globular body, unlike spiders whose bodies are divided into a thorax that bears the legs and an abdomen, separated by a narrow waist. Terrestrial mites are present in vast numbers in damp vegetation at soil level, while aquatic species are in just about every pond. The land living species like those pictured here are equipped with impressive claws (bottom photo), reminiscent of Captain Hook’s hook in Peter Pan, that they use for clambering through the branches of mosses, while aquatic species have hairy fringes on their legs that aid swimming. The aquatic species have complex life cycles, spending their early stages of development as parasites on other pond animals, and there is still much to discover about their way of life – a real research opportunity for amateur naturalists with patience and a microscope at their disposal.
To find out more about mites visit


  1. They're tiny but they still look treacherous...

  2. You're dead right, Belle Epoque, one swipe with one of those claws would probably be fatal to anything less than a millimetre long...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.