Mites are grouped with spiders and scorpions in the Class Arachnida. Over 50,000 species have been described. Many new species are described every year. They are often overlooked due to their small size. Mites live in every terrestrial habitat and aquatic habitats from fresh water to sea water. Like insects they have a diverse set of lifestyles. A few that feed on our crops or livestock can become pests. Like all the Arachnids, mites have chelicera. Mite chelicera are adapted to different feeding styles and their mouthparts are important to their classification and understanding their biology
Mites have complex features that most people can not observe because of the small size of the mites. Proper magnification shows the complex features and makes compelling images. The Smithsonian Magazine website is featuring scanning electron micrographs of selected mite species by Gary Bauchan of the USDA. Check out their site to glimpse some of the amazing animals from a world overlooked by humans.