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tiny white riders - female

tiny white riders - Female
Nashua, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, USA
May 31, 2006
Size: 0.22 mm
I've worked my way down (or up) to some images I shot of these critters roaming around on the deli container floor. I darkened the image to bring out more detail. The numeral 2 in the photo measures about 3.2mm tall.

Images of this individual: tag all
tiny white riders - female tiny white riders - female tiny white riders - female

Was wondering if anyone could
Was wondering if anyone could help me, as about a week ago I started to see what looked like tiny little white beetles. They look alot like these.. I first saw them walking on my phone which was on the lounge, but now they are all over my bedside table and bedhead. Thats the only places I have seen them and dont know why they have started to show now and how to kill them. We 'bombed' (in Australia, its kind of like a more intense bug spray, that you leave in a room and cant enter for 2 hours) my room twice and they are still alive. Hoping someone could help..
Thanks, Christine.

Get someone to take a really close-up photo
so we can take a look at it here. You can post it in ID Request. It won't remain in bugguide if it's from Australia but it'll be here long enough to get some opinions.

Size revised
My math seems to have been off when I first figured the size of these tiny creatures. Dividing the length of the mite by the hieght of the numeral 2, then multiplying times 3.2mm (the measured length of the numeral 2) I get 0.22mm, less than half my original 0.48mm.

The mites might actually be smaller since the angled view of the numeral 2 makes it appear smaller that it is. This factor is to some extent offset by the angle of the mite but my guess is that the mite's length is less distorted than the size of the numeral 2.

Moved from Mites and Ticks.

I comment upon series of pics entitled "tiny white riders" (image 55502) and " Whatzit-covered bostrichid - Xylobiops basilaris" (image 55443).

Those tiny bugs are mites of a subcohort Heterostigmata, almost certainly of a family Tarsonemidae. They are phoretic. i.e. they are just "riders", not parasites. In fact, those are adult females (not juveniles), typically for tarsonemids their hind (4th) legs are somewhat reduced, and thus hard to see at certain angles.
"Either those are antennae or a very spindly pair of front legs held at a very antenna-like angle" - second option wins; indeed they walk keeping their front legs erect and occasionally probing environment. As the 4th pair can only be passively dragged behind, and 1st is up off the ground, they effectively use only four of eight legs for walking!

I do congratulate you on nearly the best pictures that can ever be done. Heterostigs are one of smallest arthropods on Earth, and with this magnification depth of field and sharpness drop unavoidably.

Your finding of those mites coincides with my current occupation, i.e. tarsonemids associated with bark beetles and wood borers. So, I would be most grateful if you can send me specimens for research.

Dr. Wojciech Magowski
Department of Animal Taxonomy and Ecology
A. Mickiewicz University

Same kind?
Jim, it is great that you got this note from Dr. Wojciech Magowski. Do you think this one here is the same genus?

I don't know. It looks similar though.
Why not email him and ask. Click on his name to see email address. Be sure to include an active link to that bugguide page so he can quickly view the image.

Moved from Mites.

These are most certainly mites, possibly juvenile ones, some of which can have only six legs. Moving to Acari page.

Do mites have antennae like these do?
Either those are antennae or a very spindly pair of front legs held at a very antenna-like angle. A clear view of the legs is seen in one of the images and they are way thicker than whatever is sticking out front. Unless this antenna issue is resolved I think we're still at Arthropoda.

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