Red Velvet Mite


Dinothrombium, a large red velvet mite often seen after summer rains, photo © by Mike Plagens

Near Vulture Peak, western Maricopa County, Arizona, USA. Aug. 21, 2016. Length is about 8 mm or about 1/3 of an inch.

Trombidiidae -- a Mite Family

These bright red mites come to the surface in the desert for only a few days of the year, usually right after a good heavy summer monsoon rainstorm. Their life beneath the surface for the rest of the year is a bit of a mystery. Add to that their improbable color and texture and it is understandable that they capture the attention of hikers. They are often described as a Fuzzy Red Spider.

The adult mites like the one shown feed on the eggs of insects, whereas the immature larval forms are parasitic on an insect found in the soil such as a beetle grub.

More Information:

Sponsored Links:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 15 April 2013