Mite Found on Ancient Spider

Using CT scanning, scientists were able to visualize a tiny mite hitching a ride on a 50-million-year old spider.

By | November 9, 2011

Spider and miteUNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

A microscopic mite was found clinging to an ancient spider encased in amber. The findings, published today (November 9) in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters, could represent the smallest arthropod to ever be fossilized this way.

The two arthropods became stuck in the yellow, hardening tree resin about 50-million years ago and have been “preserved with lifelike fidelity” ever since, biologist and co-author David Penney told BBC News. The tiny, 176-micrometer-long mite was visualized by combining a series of CT scans, which paleontologists from the University of Manchester were able to use to reconstruct a 3D model.

The incredibly detailed results allowed the scientists to digitally dissect the mite, visualize the underside, and identify the species. The tiny hitchhiker is the oldest example of the Histiostomatidae family of mites, Wired Science reported, and may also help scientists understand how long these mites have used spiders and insects as a means of free transportation.

Corrections: This story has been updated from its original version to correctly reflect that spiders are not insects. The Scientist regrets the error.

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Comments

Avatar of: Lemon Huang

Lemon Huang

Posts: 2

November 10, 2011

which paleontologists from the University of Manchester were able to use to reconstruct a 3D model. http://bit.ly/vXNeLB.

Avatar of: TS Raman

TS Raman

Posts: 5

November 10, 2011

"how long these mites have used other insects..."!!

So, The Scientist has determined that mites and spiders are insects.

Avatar of: TheSciAdmin

TheSciAdmin

Posts: 56

November 10, 2011

Good catch, Raman. Indeed, spiders are not insects. We have adjusted the story and posted a correction.

Thanks for reading!
~Jef Akst, editor, The Scientist

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 10, 2011

which paleontologists from the University of Manchester were able to use to reconstruct a 3D model. http://bit.ly/vXNeLB.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 10, 2011

"how long these mites have used other insects..."!!

So, The Scientist has determined that mites and spiders are insects.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 10, 2011

Good catch, Raman. Indeed, spiders are not insects. We have adjusted the story and posted a correction.

Thanks for reading!
~Jef Akst, editor, The Scientist

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 10, 2011

which paleontologists from the University of Manchester were able to use to reconstruct a 3D model. http://bit.ly/vXNeLB.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 10, 2011

"how long these mites have used other insects..."!!

So, The Scientist has determined that mites and spiders are insects.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

November 10, 2011

Good catch, Raman. Indeed, spiders are not insects. We have adjusted the story and posted a correction.

Thanks for reading!
~Jef Akst, editor, The Scientist

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