Speleorchestes Mite in its Full Glory
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Speleorchestes – Mite in its Full Glory (white version)

Speleorchestes sp.

Magnification: 2’537:1

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Mite of the genus Speleorchestes. The genus belongs to the enigmatic Endeostigmata – a perhaps paraphyletic basket that includes the most primitive-looking acariform mites.

Endeostigmatans are found throughout the World, but are especially prominent in very dry habitats or dry microhabitats within more mesic ones. Both hot and cold deserts have more than their share of endeostigmatans. This group of mites includes some extraordinarily elongated worm-like species that can be found in the sands of Brazil beaches. However, this particular species is rather small and more mite-like, reaching about a quarter of a millimetre in lenght. Members of the Nanorchestidae also feed on fluids and so their foods are mysterious, although there is one report of a species munching on algae.