Mite Biology and Anatomy

You notice that mysterious bumps or rashes have started appearing all over your body, you look all over your house, all over your yard, but cannot find out the source of the problem. Perhaps the problem is mites, a truly mysterious parasite.

What are mites?

Mites comprise a very large group; scientists guestimate that there may be as many as a million different types, but so far only about 50,000 have been identified and named. Mites have very diverse biologies. Many live in the soil where they feed on microorganisms, fungi, or dead organic matter, or where they prey on other mites, small insects and even nematodes. Others occur in the water where they have similar diverse habits. Gardeners are familiar with those that feed on plants, such as the many species of spider mites or “red spiders”, as well as the gall mites such as those that make the various lumps, bumps, and felty patches on silver maple leaves. Many mites are parasitic on insects or higher animals such as birds, reptiles, and mammals. Those are the types of mites that is concerned, the kind that get in your house and cause you discomfort.

How big are mites?

Trying to find those mites in your bed may not be the easiest task in the world because mites are amongst the smallest of all members of the Animal Kingdom. Although they are incredibly abundant we rarely see them because most are under 1 mm (1/25th inch) long; some are much smaller than that. Let me put that in perspective for you! Ready? Alright look real close at the screen, rub all the gunk out of your eyes, put on your glasses or whip out a magnifying glass. Now look right here >>>>>>>>>>> . <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Did you even notice that period in between all the arrows. That is roughly the size of a typical mite. Now imagine trying to find that period out in the real world. The picture below shows a bird mite compared to a dime. As you can tell without magnification the bird mite is nothing more than a speck.

Mite Anatomy

The Chart Below illustrates the basic anatomy of a mite. Here are a few important characteristics of mite anatomy.
  • Mites are not segmented and the body is not divided by constrictions as is the case with ants or spiders.
  • The larval stage has three pair of legs, but the nymphal stages and adults have four pairs.
  • The mite mouth consist of a pair chelicera and two short palps.

Mite Life Cycle

Here are a few facts that should shed some light on what it is like to grow up as a small mite in this big world.
  • The life cycle of a mite consists of an egg, larva, three nymphal stages, and the adult: however, the number of nymphal stages varies depending on the species.
  • The length of the life cycle, under favorable conditions, is two to three weeks; however, some mites may reach adulthood within several days.
  • Most mite species deposit eggs, but in some species, the larvae are birthed live.
  • A few species are parthenogenic, meaning they lay self-fertilized eggs, and no males of the species are known.

Learn about…

Mite Bites How to Control Mites How Mites are Transmitted Call today at 1-800-986-1006 for help with a mite infestation. You’re also welcome to complete the form below and a caring Hearts Pest Management representative will contact you shortly.
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