Living With Mites

Predatory MItes

Predatory MItes
Image: ROGELIO MORENO GILL*

This above image, Mites On Pupa, by Rogelio Moreno Gill won honorable mention at the 2015 Nikon Small World Photo Competition. Stacking software was used to merge a series of images for improved depth of field. The complex shapes and splashes of color make the image compelling.

Insects are vulnerable to parasites such as mites. Mites are related to spiders with eight legs and chelicera (fangs) that can be used to feed on surface secretions or to puncture the insect cuticle. Some mites feed on insect fluids such as hemolymph. Mite salivary proteases may present insect blood collagulation and viruses may be injected along with saliva. Mites are small enough that they can feed on an insect without killing it, unlike spiders that consume an entire insect at one feeding. However, substantial populations of mites can weaken a host insect and sometimes kill it.

Mites can be problematic for many insect colonies. Mites that infest honey bee colonies can kill larvae and pupae if present in large numbers. They also can spread pathogens such as viruses. Mites are an important factor in the loss of bee colonies over the winter.

* http://www.nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/entry/2015-photomicrography-competition/28

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Art, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

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