Predatory Mite (Gamasellus sp.) Portrait
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Decomposing Teeth of the Predatory Mite

Gamasellus sp.

Magnification: 957:1

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Colored Scanning Electron Micrograph of a predatory mite (Gamasellus sp.).

You can be grateful this animal measures only app. 0.18mm in diameter, because it has a horrible bite: adult Gamasellus eat Springtails (Collembola sp.) of the same size! Compared to juveniles, adults focus on larger prey and eat more often (juvenile: 1 Springtail every 12 days, adult: 1 Springtail every 3 days).

Gamasellus is an agile predator and attacks quickly through looping his elongated forelegs over the prey. After this, the chelicerae are moved forward to “kiss” the prey, and inject digestion fluid through a pinhole at the tip of the upper left and right chelicerae. The poisonous fluid tranquilizes and eventually kills and digests the prey. Such a procedure is called pre-oral digestion and it is common in the class of Arachnida, especially in spiders. A multitude of mechanosensory setae (“hairs”) are located on the forelegs and pedipalps. They serve the blind predator to monitor the exact position of its prey and make sure it is held in position until the deadly cocktail is effectively working.