50-million-year-old mite found on spider’s back

Published on November 9th, 2011 | by Admin


Close examination of a spider trapped in amber has revealed a hitchhiker: a 50-million-year-old mite.

From the outside of the amber, the mite looks like a tiny bubble. It is so small, about 0.008 inches (.2 millimeters) long, normal microscopes and techniques aren’t powerful enough to take a close look at the underside of the insect. The researchers used computers to create a 3-D image from a series of X-rays.

The images revealed this mite belonged to the group called astigmata, which includes more than 5,000 mite species in more than 70 families. The spider in the amber was of the family Dysderidae.

[Full story]

Story: Jennifer Welsh, LiveScience | Photo: J. Dunlop

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