Mites are usually tiny (less than 1mm), virtually microscopic arthropods. Some are predatory, feeding on insects, springtails, mammals - sometimes even humans - whilst some are decomposers that feed on living or dead plant material. They are easily overlooked due to their small size but exist in almost all environments, including water, soil, plants and buildings. Some mites are parasitic spending some, if not all of their lives living and feeding on other animals.
To date almost 50,000 species of mite have been described but this only scratches the surface of what is out there. Scientists estimate there are well over a million different species yet to be described.
Mite identification to species can be extremely difficult, often requiring DNA sequencing so in most cases here I've classified my images to genus level. Capturing mites through photography can be tricky due to their small size and often fast, erratic movements. A high maginification lens and flash is required along with a steady hand and a little patience. As you can see from the collection below, mites are a diverse and fascinating group that we know relatively little about.