Although the world is filled with spectacular and mostly beneficial or harmless mites, most of the image requests that I get are for those relatively few species that cause us harm. Here’s one that sort of causes us harm, one of the inhabitants of our house dust Dermatophagoides farinae Hughes. Unlike what you might think from its generic name, Dermatophagoides don’t really eat our skin, but more like munch on the microbes that grow on the skin flakes we castoff with abandon wherever we go. The species name, farinae (Latin for ‘of flour’), however, is indicative of where else you might find this mite. This particular specimen came out of a packet of cake mix along with a few million compatriots and caused an unfortunately allergic baker to go into anaphylactic shock. Although this mite is harmless itself, it’s skin and faeces are highly allergenic to some.
As I mentioned before, I find white the most difficult colour to manage. In life, the body of this mite is a translucent whitish colour that I have never been able to successfully reproduce.