Scientific name: Trombidium holosericeum
Size: Approx 5mm long
Distribution: Found throughout the UK
Months seen: April to October
Habitat: Gardens and deciduous woodland
Food: Tiny invertebrates including other mites
Special features: Velvet mites are tiny arachnids which are often seen wandering on bare soil or through grass. They are bright red and covered in tiny hairs which gives them a velvet appearance - hence the name.
Like other mites, they have no antennae. The front pair of legs are used as feelers to check where they're going.
Velvet Mite larvae are parasitic. After hatching from eggs laid in the soil, they latch themselves onto passing spiders or insects and suck their blood. They do not injure their hosts, and after a while drop off. They then burrow into the soil, moult and emerge as adults.