A watermite from the Wageningen floodplains.

  • Taxonomy

    Kingdom: Animals

    phylum: Arthropods(Arthropoda)

    Class: Arachnids (Arachnida)

    Order: Trombidiformes

    Water mites (Hydrachnidia)

  • Location

    Fresh water

  • Size

    Ca. 0.5 – 3 mm


Watermites are related to spiders and have eight legs with a spherical body. They often have bright colours such as red and orange.

Watermites have a special life cycle. They reproduce sexually, and eggs are usually attached to stones and plant debris. The larvae walk or swim in search of a suitable host, usually an insect or a larva of it, like a mosquito or a dragonfly. Here the larva lives as a parasite until it reaches adulthood, lets go and reproduces again in the water. If you look at insects such as mosquitoes and dragonflies you will often see large numbers of mites. Insects actually suffer from this; insects with mites survive less often than insects without mites.

Parasitic larvae of watermites on a damselfly.