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Photo#278749
Water mite - Hydrachna

Water mite - Hydrachna
Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware, USA
May 23, 2009
Size: 3 mm
This picture shows what I believe to be a water mite ejecting sperm. Collected from the edge of a sump hole.

Images of this individual: tag all
Water mite - Hydrachna Water mite - Hydrachna Water mite - Hydrachna Water mite - Hydrachna Water mite - Hydrachna Water mite - Hydrachna

Moved
Moved from Hydrachna.

Moved
Moved from Parasitengona.

Moved
Moved from Mites and Ticks.

Definitely a WOW photo
...very educational and great details. Do you know much about water mites? When I saw the first photos, I assumed it was a female due to the bloated appearance. However, the possible sperm seems to indicate male -- unless, of course, they are both sexes in one ??

 
Don't know much
I'm afraid I don't know very much about water mites (or any other animal, for that matter). From what I have read, some species (e.g., Hydrachna spp.) randomly deposit spermatophores in the absence of the female. (No females were present at the time I took these pictures.) Species of other genera indirectly transfer sperm using modified legs or other body parts. Per Peckarsky ("Freshwater Macroinvertebrates..."), "Sexual selection appears to be intense for at least some species of Unionicola; the males are strongly territorial and defend harems of up to 40 or more females." While I was photographing this bug, I observed what appeared to be two ejaculations. As luck would have, one occurred just as I was tripping the shutter. -- Dave

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