How many mites can dance on the head of a pin?

Dancing_pinhead_300_micron_grid_DEW

The answer, of course, depends on the pin and the mites. In this case the pinhead is about 2.5 mm in diameter and the mites a collection of oribatids from Alberta with plenty of room left over to dance. The question, I suppose, is a bit belaboured, but I’ve frugally wrung one paper and two talk titles from dancing on a pinhead. Admittedly the journal is a bit obscure (sorry Record of the WA Museum) and the talks on either side of the Pacific, so I doubt anyone noticed the duplication.  All or most of these mites have appeared here before and most were collected either at the Meanook Field Station or at our Moose Pasture. Speaking of which reminds me of another flight of fancy that I have used in at least four talks and one book – the Moose Pasture Miteome.

Miteome_Moose Pasture Moose

The mitochondria people already laid claim to  the succinct ‘mitome‘ for their mitochondrial genome database. Drat. Well, we’ve laid claim to ‘miteome’ for the unseen diversity of mites that form a substantial part of the weft and warp of the diversity tapestry. I’ve just sent off the corrected proofs of Mites: Ecology, Evolution & Behaviour (2nd Edition). Life at a microscale to Springer and the book should soon be available at an almost reasonable price. If you are interested in stories about mites – with lots (well over 100) of pictures – then you may find it of interest. As for me, though, I’m beat and have promised myself never to write another book on mites. I think I’ve said about all I can and now it is time for someone else to take up the load.

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2 Responses to “How many mites can dance on the head of a pin?”

  1. Dac Crossley Says:

    Dave – always enjoy your comments. Dick Loomis once took a picture of an adult Trombiculid on the head of a pin – I think it must have been a knitting needle. I always copy your pictures & hang them on my door. And – congrats on the revision. We were asked to do yet another revision of Soil Ecology. No, thanks!

  2. Mike from Ottawa Says:

    That mites on a pinhead pic is amazing. Lovely job colourizing them. I love the little green guy.

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