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Scutarid – I


Magnification: 300:1

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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. Other mites are parasites, whereas soil mites form part of the great diversity of organisms that contribute to the break down of plant material.

This is a Scutarid mite. These animals live ‘phoretically’ on larger arthropods, including other mites. This means, they ride from place to place in search of fresh fungi and other microbes to eat without harming their ‘hosts’ which are no real hosts in the strict sense, because scutarids are no real parasites.

This work is part of Micronaut’s ‘Cursed Knights’-series about the stunningly diverse kingdom of mites. The series has been awarded at the IPA / Lucy Awards (‘International Photographer of the Year’, Category ‘Special Photography’).