A graduate student at the Ohio State University discovered a creepy, crawly microscopic species. Yuck. The species is a type of mite that the student affectionately nicknamed “The Buckeye Dragon Mite.” The mite kind of resembles the Chinese dragon that you see in New Year celebrations. At just over a half a millimeter, the mite can’t be seen by the naked eye. The mite was found 20 inches below the surface on campus and had unusual straight hairs along its body not found in other known members of its family. The mite also has interesting features on its mouth called rutella that function similar to teeth in other mites. The rutella supports a pouch-like vessel in the front of the mouth and it’s believed that the pouch acts like a nutcracker, holding microorganisms in place while the internal pincers puncture them and suck up their fluid contents.
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