What’s That Bug????? A Water Mite Nymph

Subject: Pthiraptera? weeeird Hemiptera?
Location: Orlando, Florida
October 6, 2013 7:31 am
Hi Bugman! I’m writing in yet again with an identification request. I found this bug as an ecto-parasite (or maybe just phoretic) on a midge that wandered into a black light trap. What you can’t see in the picture are two little filamentous antennae that stick out from about mid way down the rostrum and the little needle like mouthparts extending from the tip. My original thought was a tick, but there are only 6 legs (none are broken off) and antennae. Then I thought Pthiraptera, but the key I have wasn’t really working out. Maybe it’s some weird Hemiptera? It should be said that the total length of this insect is under 0.5 mm ( it was on a midge after all). Any help you can give me would be great! Thanks!
Signature: Brian S

Unknown "Bug"
Unknown “Bug” is Mite Nymph

Hi Brian,
We are going to request some assistance on this mystery, and we are posting your photo in the event one of our readers is able to assist in the identification.  Are you able to provide a higher resolution image?

Eric Eaton Responds
Hi, Daniel:
This is a real mystery to me, so I am including Dr. Brian Brown in my reply, hoping he might be able to confirm my suspicions that this is actually some kind of wingless fly.  It may not be possible to determine anything from this one image, though, so please don’t hold your breath.

Hi Daniel, thanks for the quick response! I just figured out a way to get my DSLR to work with my microscope. It’s a little ghetto, but these pics are way better. I even got a picture of the mouth parts! Thanks for posting this bug on the site.
Thanks, Brian S.

Unknown "Bug"
Mite Nymph

Thanks for the better images Brian.  We hope to have some type of answer for you soon.

Mouth of the Creature
Mite Nymph:  Mouth of the Creature

Dr. Brian Brown responds
Some kind of mite nymph (they only have 6 legs).

Eric Eaton requests clarification
Mites have compound eyes and hair-like antennae?  Otherwise I’d agree with you automatically….

Dr. Brian Brown requests assistance from Barry OConner
Barry- this is a mite larva, right?

Barry OConner responds
Hi Brian – Yes, this is a larval water-mite. Species in this group commonly have ocelli (not compound eyes). The majority of these larvae parasitize adults of aquatic Diptera. After engorgement, they drop back into the water and continue life as predators, alternating inactive and active nymphal stages. Don’t know what the reference to “antennae” was; perhaps the palps? Chelicerae in these mites are stylet-like.
All the best! – Barry

Thanks, Barry!

Eric Eaton Closes the Book on the Mystery Creature
I learned something, too, out of all this….


4 thoughts on “What’s That Bug????? A Water Mite Nymph”

  1. My home has been victim to water mite nymph parasitism of cicada nymphs and they come out from the drains. Before I knew what was going on I was really freaking out because how cicada nymphs look with all the little mites around it


Leave a Comment