Scientific name: Various Acari species
Size: From 0.1mm long
Distribution: Found throughout the UK
Months seen: April to October
Habitat: In soil, on flowers and carried on flying insects
Food: Fly eggs, small larvae and fungi
Special features: Phoretic mites belong to the same class of animals as ticks, spiders and harvestmen - Arachnida. They are tiny, often orange coloured mites which are transported from one place to another on the bodies of various flying insects - especially carrion beetles and bumblebees.
In most cases they do no harm to their host, except in instances where the mites are too numerous, and the host is unable to fly or walk to feed itself.
The head, thorax and abdomen are fused into one body segment. The larvae have just six legs, and as they mature into adult mites they develop an extra pair of legs.