Water mite from Alberta, Canada. This animal belongs to the Prostigmata: Oxidae: Frontipoda sp.
Mites are a highly adaptable group of Arthropoda that are related to spiders and scropions, have eight legs and are usually smaller than a full stop. Despite representing one of the most diverse groups within the animal kingdom (>20’000 species), mites are notoriously overlooked due to the diminutive size. Millions of dust mites live inside furniture and fabric in the average home. The dead bodies and excrement of dust mites can cause allergic reactions to household dust. While some mites are parasites and others form part of the great diversity of organisms that contribute to the break down of plant material, Frontipoda is a predatory mite which lives in small ponds and feeds on larval midges. Interestingly, Frontipoda has two pairs of bright red eyes (each with two lenses, the bottom one larger than the top), which lie below the integument. They are clearly visible in the live animal.
This work is part of Micronaut’s ‘Cursed Knights’-series which shows close-up portraits of mites and has become famous at the IPA / Lucy Awards, after winning the 1st prize in the ‘Special Photography-Category’. Furthermore, Micronaut has been awarded ‘International Photographer of the Year’ in 2011, due to these unique works.