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Insect: Red velvet mite

Find, identify & discuss the insects of SANParks
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Insect: Red velvet mite

Unread post by Nannie » Wed Dec 21, 2005 4:41 pm

I know this only as a "reengogga"-some info would be nice.

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Re: Insect i.d.

Unread post by Jose » Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:27 pm

It is a velvet mite.
Order: Acarina
Family: Trombidiidae (Velvet Mites)
Species: Trombidium sp.
Mites in this family are easily identified by their bright red coloring and velvety appearance.

Photo taken 24 December 2004, after a day of 46C (my personal record!) followed by massive rains.

Mites (Acari or Acarina) are the most diverse and abundant of all arachnids, but because of their small size (usually less than a millimeter in length) we rarely see them. The ticks are an exception, in that they are usually big enough to see, especially when they are filled with blood. Red velvet mites are also among the giants of the Acari (to 10 mm), and can often be seen hunting on the ground or on tree trunks. Water mites are rarely more than a few millimeters long, but their bright colours and rapid movement often bring them to our attention. At the smaller end of the mite size range are species like the human follicle mite or the honeybee tracheal mite - small enough to raise a family within a human hair follicle or within a bee's respiratory tube, and too small (ca. 0.1 mm) to see without a microscope.

Mites are also among the oldest of all terrestrial animals, with fossils known from the early Devonian, nearly 400 million years ago (Norton et al. 1988, Kethley et al. 1989). Three major lineages are currently recognised: Opilioacariformes, Acariformes and Parasitiformes (Krantz 1978, Johnston 1982, Evans 1992). About 45,000 species of mites have been described - a small fraction (perhaps 5%) of the number of species estimated to be alive today.

Nice arachnid link

*edit: photo added.
Last edited by Jose on Thu May 10, 2007 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Insect i.d.

Unread post by madach » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:54 pm

I just stumbled upon this discussion. I saw a lot of these velvet mites on my trip last November. Just after the rain you would see these critters all over the place. It's funny how they stand out with their bright colour. Here's a closeup I shot of one:

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Unread post by BushCall » Wed May 09, 2007 9:19 pm

A great place to see these is in the camping ground at Shingwedzi after a good rain so summer is the best time...they are all over the place there after a storm

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Unread post by mountainview » Thu May 10, 2007 1:14 pm

Once saw one in a National Park in Zim. It was on a black rock in one of the camps. Had it on video.You could literally see it from 2m away because of the colour of the rock.
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Re: Red velvet mite

Unread post by alicep » Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:48 pm

Saw a couple of these next to the road near Shingwedzi just after the rain in December.

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Re: Red velvet mite

Unread post by Adri Roos » Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:51 am

Last week my husband and I and 2 friends visited Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Botswana). After 4 days of continuous thunder storms we exited at Matswere Gate. While we were taking a break on the Matswere Gate/Rakops gravel road, we saw these little red velvet mites too. Initially I thought it was a tick and I inferred that their bright red colour meant that they may be venemous. My friend observed that they appeared very velvety. Their sizes varied from approximately 1 cm in diameter to very-very tiny ones.

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Re: Red velvet mite

Unread post by DuneRichard » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:05 pm

Aha, the little velvety friends! :D

These mites are a great sign to me because they only come out after sufficent rains, so after it's rained, if you find many, you know the rain has penetrated the soil deeply enough to be of use.

What I find entertaining to no end is how clean the mites are, drop a few grains of sand on top of one and watch as it frantically brushes them off. :mrgreen: Not all of them react this way though.
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