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Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
February 15, 2008
Another image.

Images of this individual: tag all
Mites Mites Mites Mites

Moved from Mites and Ticks.

Phoretic Mites
These mites were on a beetle, yes? did the beetle look like this?:

These mites are not parasites, but rather are partaking in a behavior known as phoresy.
Mites can't travel very far on their own, so they enlist the help of beetles flies and other animals to carry them to their next destinations.

I added another...
image to show the rest of the beetle in the original shots. It is species Odontotaenius disjunctus.

I thought these were feeding on the beetle.



Those are really nice photos!
Yeah, I doubt they're feeding. It's probably that this beetle is looking for a log or something & as it was getting ready to leave it's old spot, the local mites took the opportunity to hitch a ride on it's underside.
You see this allot in hister beetles ( & coprophagous (dung-eating) scarabs, too. Anything that has a close association with decaying wood, compost (or simply any decaying matter, like feces and carrion), fungi, and (interestingly) flowers* is likely to have at least a few mite hitch-hikers.

*Flower mites will use pollinating insects & even hummingbirds as a means of transport form one flower to the next. As flowers tend to be short lived, it's easy to see why one would want to buggy out as soon as possible on the first available ride.

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