Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Giant Red Velvet Mite - (Dinothrombium sp.)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 8/7/2014

The Giant Red Velvet Mite is actually quite tiny and can be overlooked as it hunts for insect prey.

The bright red coloration make the Giant Red Velvet Mite easy to spot a red velvet mite, which is useful considering its diminutive size. The short hairs give it a velvety appearance. As a mite, it a member of the arachnid order and has eight legs. This mite also has a 'waist'. This species is usually found in the Southwest and Mexico though it has been spotted in states as far east as New Jersey.

They usually appear in large numbers after summer rains. Most of the year, however, they hibernate underground in silk-lined caverns. When active, they hunt for ants and termites as adults. As larvae, they eat the eggs of other insects and other small arthropods.

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Category: Mite or Tick
Common name: Giant Red Velvet Mite
Scientific Name: Dinothrombium sp.

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
     Order: Acari
      Family: Thrombidiidae
       Genus: Dinothrombium
        Species: sp.

Adult Size (Length): 3mm to 17mm (0.12in to 0.67in)

Identifying Colors: red

Additional Descriptors: hairy, tiny, spider-like

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Arizona; California; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.