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Creepy-Crawly  Velvet Mites

Velvet Mite - Photo  Copyright 2003 Gary Bradley
Photo: G. Bradley

UK Safari Tip:
To see on the details on these tiny arachnids you need a powerful hand lens - click here

Latin name: Trombidium holosericeum

Size: Approximately 5mms

Distribution: Found throughout the U.K.

Months seen: April to October

Food: Tiny insects and other mites

Habitat: Gardens and deciduous woods

Special features: These arachnids are often seen wandering on bare soil or through grass. They are bright red and covered in tiny hairs which gives them a velvet appearance - hence the name.

Like other mites, they have no antennae. The front pair of legs are used as feelers to check where they're going.

The larvae are parasitic. After hatching from eggs laid in the soil, they latch themselves onto passing spiders or insects and suck their blood. They do not injure their hosts, and after a while drop off. They then burrow into the soil, moult and emerge as adults.

Track Down More Info

What do Velvet Mite larvae look like?
UK Safari Creepy-Crawlies Section

  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved