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Photo#917894
Hitchhikers

Hitchhikers
Wheaton Regional Park, Wheaton, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
May 3, 2014
Size: .7mm
I noticed these tiny mites attached to this beetle when I went to photograph it. The beetle was found under bark on a decaying log. It appears that there are tinier mites as well, one of which is on one of the larger mites. Are these young of those, or a different species? The larger mites appear to be attached to the beetle by "stems".

Images of this individual: tag all
Hitchhikers Hitchhikers Hitchhikers Hitchhikers

The smaller mites
... appear to be Histiostoma sp., based on the rearward pointed legs:

Moved
Moved from Mites and Ticks.

Uropodids
Hi Ashley:

Great photos! The mites on stalks are nymphs of the mesostigmatan family Uropodidae. They are phoretic on larger-bodied arthropods and attach by means of a pedicel of translucent material that the mite extrudes from its anus. The smaller mites are not the same species, and may be members of the Astigmata.

Cheers,
Heather

 
Thanks so much!
Interesting information - I'm glad to know they're only phoretic, though how do they eat? What a strange life!

 
They are purely phoretic and
They are purely phoretic and non-feeding in this stage, but when the host gets to a nice spot (most likely some rotting organic matter), the mites will dismount, moult to the next stage, and feed on nematodes and maybe fungi in the surrounding medium.

 
Weird!
Thanks for the details! :)

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