Dinothrombium spp. (Velvet Mites)


 
After the summer monsoon rains start, it is pretty common to find large red mites stumbling across the landscape. They look like bright red feather dusters, and are spectacularly large when compared with most other mites. The mites spend most of the year underground. The bright red color is most likely a warning - I've read that the mites taste pretty bad (here's an article about a fellow who actually tasted one).  According to the information SASI's website, the Velvet Mites primarily eat winged termites that are emerging for their nuptial flights.

A Velvet Mite in Arizona's Whetstone Mountains, with Gordon Snelling's finger for scale

A Velvet Mite from South Mountain Park in Arizona.

If you find one, it is pretty common to find more - they tend to emerge after the summer rains start.

A side view of a Velvet Mite. The large divisions are 1 centimeter, the small divisions are 1 millimeter.

Another view. The mites head is pointing toward the bottom of the photo.

A closeup of the head area, looking down onto the mite's back.

 


Home