Friday, 24 February 2012

Wood Watch (1): Red Velvet Mite - mystery

Cambridgeshire creature (1)

Some days ago, we took a short stroll through a magical birch wood in Cambridgeshire. I was keeping an eye out for wildlife, but failed to see anything very unusual. My eyes alighted, however, on this tiny splash of colour, which I took to be a Red Velvet Mite aka Trombidium sp.

These mites play a key role in the woodland eco-system, for they assist with the decomposition process. You can read more about them here.

Cambridgeshire creature (2)

I last noticed a Red Velvet Mite on a rock on the beach at Laugharne by the Dylan Thomas Boat House in South Wales back in 2011. You can see my post here.

A comparison of the photographs above with the older photo below has led me to the conclusion that the latest creature (above) might perhaps be a Red Spider Mite, for it does not appear to have the same leg 'layout' as the Velvet Mite, which has a kind of 2x2 2x2 2x2 2x2 arrangement.

You can read a discussion about these creatures on Wild About Britain here. If anyone can help, I would be grateful as it is always satisfying to clear up a mystery, however small!

Re-posting of Red Velvet Mite, seen at Laugharne, 2011

1 comment:

Mary said...

Ick...it looks like a tick! Nice spot of color, but I'll pass on having them around.