Insects & other Arthropods David A Kendall   BSc PhD
Order Acari (Mites & Ticks) Class: Arachnida

The vast majority of mites are tiny creatures less than one millimetre in length. The largest mites are the so called 'ticks', most of which are around 3-10 mm long.The body of mites and ticks, in common with other arachnids (spiders, scorpions, etc.), is divided into two regions - a front part called the cephalothorax (or prosoma) and a hind part called the abdomen (or opisthosoma) - although frequently there is no clear demarcation or obvious constriction between these parts (as found, for example, in the spiders) and superficially the body appears undivided. Most adult mites and ticks possess the usual arachnid appendages, chelicerae (jaws) and palps (a pair of sensory appendages) at the front-end, and four pairs of legs. However, in some specialised parasitic forms the palps are more or less absent, and in one group of plant parasites, the Eriophyidae (Gall Mites), the legs are reduced to two pairs. In their life-cycle and development from an egg to the mature adult, mites and ticks pass through several stages, including a larval form with only three pairs of legs, followed by a nymphal form with four pairs of legs like the adult. Mites are found almost everywhere in nature, on land and in water. Most are quite harmless, living on dead and decaying organic matter or as predators of other small invertebrates, but some are harmful by living as parasites on plants and animals. The parasitic forms include a number of important pests of cultivated plants and several blood-sucking species that attack humans and other warm-blooded animals.

Parasitus sp.
Parasitus sp. - Phoretic Mites on a Sexton Beetle
b. circa 2mm
Plant galls caused by Eriophyidae (Gall Mites) Top  |  Home Page
Hazelnut Big-bud Gall
Phytocoptella avellanae - Hazelnut Gall Mite
('big-bud' gall on hazel)
Sycamore Pimple Galls
Aculops or Artacris sp. - Sycamore Gall Mite
(red 'pimple' galls on leaf of sycamore)
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