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  • Writer's pictureDon Yurewicz

Water Mites

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

Red water mite found by Maria Gross in the shallow south end of South Cove and a microscopic view from the Univ. of New Hampshire.

Water mites can usually be found around the edges of ponds and lakes, either swimming in the vicinity of submerged plants or foraging on their leaves and stems. They are often brightly coloured, most often some shade of red or green, although blue, yellow and tan colors are also seen. The adults are rarely larger than about 2mm or smaller than 0.5mm.

They are almost exclusively freshwater in their habitat, and while a few are parasitic upon such creatures as the freshwater mussel, most are free-living and carnivorous. These seize upon worms, small crustaceans and small insects encountered in their foragings, and use their penetrating mandibles (homologous to the chelicera of the spiders) to pierce the cuticle of the prey and suck out its juices. There are also less active and less conspicuously coloured mites which spend their time crawing sluggishly amongst the plant debris of the pond floor (see below), and may be present in large numbers. (From: Micrographia -

Here is an interesting discussion of the life and habits of Red water mites— (

Tiny red spider mites can be seen just below the surface. Photo from Pentacook Cove, Zone 12, by Maria Gross

Here's a chance to see the scale of this big one....Biggest we have seen so far! Photo taken by Don Yurewicz in Doloff Cove

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