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Selected by the SciLinks program, a service of National Science Teachers Association. Copyright 1999 - 2002.

Build-A-Mite Construction Site

Photo of mite's rear section.Photo of mite's mid-section.Photo of mite's head.Photo of mite's front leg and the surface on which it rests.

Mites come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some, like the magnified mite shown here, are no bigger than a needle's point.

Many mites are harmful to humans, livestock, pets, or wildlife. Others only pester crops or munch on dead skin cells, insect debris, or microbes such as bacteria.

Some mites even have usefulness as natural weed controls. But did you know that mites aren't insects? They're more closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions, which belong to group called arachnids (say "a-RACK-nids").

Want to learn more about these critters? Then click here for page two to read on (If you've arrived from Agricultural Research magazine, then skip directly to the mite cut-out page by clicking here for page four).

-- By Jennifer Arnold, formerly Agricultural Research Service, Information Staff

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