Red Bugs

Images made through a microscope. All subject types.

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Baley
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:55 am

Red Bugs

Post by Baley »

My wife is worried about an infestation of these critters outside our apartment. She thinks they may be ticks. I doubt it; but I have no idea what they are. They are just barely visible to the unaided eye and move very fast over a concrete wall. When trying to capture them most just smeared; but I managed to scoop up a few using a cotton swab. Here are two after a formaldehyde bath. ID anyone?
65x illumination with Leitz Ortholux Ultropak. Stack 50 images with Zerene.
Image

ChrisR
Site Admin
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:58 am
Location: Near London, UK

Post by ChrisR »

Red spider mite was the first thought but they tend to be plant-dwellers it seems. Bouncing round the net reveals that a lot of people have trouble being overwhelmed with something small and red in the house.
Suggestions are
Anystis baccarum
or Clover mites Bryobia praetiosa
or Balaustium murorum looks closest to my untrained eye.

You ARE lucky having subjects come to you. Everything runs away from me, so I turned to mosses. I'm quick enough for those.

Ichthyophthirius
Posts: 1152
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:24 am

Post by Ichthyophthirius »

It's going to be hard to ID these without preparation (and location information and a scale bar).

However, from the ecology, I would suppose that these are from one of the many species of red velvet mites (e.g. Balaustium).
http://bugguide.net/node/view/125363

These are a common occurance on buildings. They are harmless, feeding off other arthropods, pollen and plant material.

Baley
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:55 am

Post by Baley »

Thanks Chris & Ichthyophthirius. Balaustium looks like the culprit. My wife will be relieved (somewhat). We live in Japan; but for next time, what do you mean by:
"It's going to be hard to ID these without preparation..." ? What preparation ?

ChrisR
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Posts: 8632
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:58 am
Location: Near London, UK

Post by ChrisR »

Did you find this site? centre of the page...:
http://brew.cocolog-nifty.com/tsubomi/2 ... _5321.html

Ichthyophthirius
Posts: 1152
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:24 am

Post by Ichthyophthirius »

@Baley

Proper identification of mites is a very difficult task. The identification requires mounted adult specimen (cleared and prepared on a slide), usually a series. The identification of mite larvae (nymphs) is often impossible. You need the prepared slides to see microscopic details, such as hairs, mouthparts and genitalia, which are important for identification.

You can make an educated guess based on ecology and macroscopic images, as with Balaustium here, but a "save" determination requires more effort.

Here is a primer on mite preparation:
http://www.publish.csiro.au/web_cds_dem ... sification

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