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Unknown Mite

Unknown Mite
Montrose, Laurens County, Georgia, USA
March 29, 2012
Size: Beetle: 4 mm BL
Found on back porch after dark. This particular mite was very commonly seen by me on a number of disparate species of insects this spring, varying somewhat in size, mostly smaller than that seen here.

Images of this individual: tag all
Unknown Mite Unknown Mite

Moved from Mites and Ticks.

beetle is Ataenius sp.

Parasitid mite on Ataenius
From the divided dorsal shield, apparent phoretic association with the beetle, and size, this mite appears to be a deutonymph of Parasitidae, Parasitinae (Acari: Mesostigmata).

Seems to be a rather big mite for a small beetle, but if this is one of the dung-feeding Ataenius, then the association is not unlikely. Parasitines are often predators on insects, their eggs, and nematodes in dung. Dung occurs in patches and mites don't have wings, so they like to hitch rides on insects. If one of the turf feeding Ataenius, then it is more likely an accidental association.

Re as many mite species as insect species, probably not - mites aren't as diverse in their feeding habits on plants. But mites probably come second in animal species.

Can't help with mite identification, sorry,
but we seem to remember someone stating that there are likely as many species of mites as there are species of insects! If that is anywhere near true, we would certainly be hesitant to say that mites of different sizes on different hosts are necessarily the same species.

J&J, I recall
something along the same lines from this past winter. Evidently, there is a massive shift of opinion on mites in the wind if it isn't already here. BTW, I should elaborate that the mites *looked* the same (color, apparent segmentation,etc.) but varied in size... Truth to tell, I am ill-equipped to make the judgement that they *are* the same species (or even in the same genus).

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