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Giant Red Velvet Mite (Dinothrombium sp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Giant Red Velvet Mite

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Image Credit: Lee K. from MN
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Image Credit: Bob from NJ
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Image Credit: Michael V., taken in Pittsburgh, PA
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Image Credit: Tim, taken on the Appalachian Trail
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The Giant Red Velvet Mite is actually quite tiny and often overlooked while it hunts along stone walls, sidewalks and decks.

Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Mites are not actually insects; they are members of the arachnid order, which explains the eight legs. Mites are not spiders though, just distantly related to them. Its bright red color makes the Giant Red Velvet Mite easy to spot. Among the world of mites, it is a relative behemoth despite seeming incredibly small to humans. Its short hairs give it a sheen, or velvety appearance. This particular mite has a slightly tapered 'waist'. The Giant Red Velvet Mite is usually found in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico though it has been spotted in states as far east as New Jersey.

Giant Red Velvet Mites 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. When seen above ground, they are typically walking on the tops and sides of benches and deck rails, or along pavement or stone paths.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Hairy insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Acari
        Family: Thrombidiidae
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          Genus: Dinothrombium
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            Species: sp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Dinothrombium sp.
Category: Mite or Tick
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 17mm (0.11" to 0.66")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red
Descriptors: hairy, tiny, spider-like, velvet, sheen, shimmer, flea

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 3mm (0.1in) and 17mm (0.7in)
Lo: 3mm
Md: 10mm
Hi: 17mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Giant Red Velvet Mite may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Giant Red Velvet Mite. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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