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Red velvet mites
Trombidium sp.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Subclass: Acari
Order: Trombidiformes
Suborder: Prostigmata
Superfamily: Trombidioidea
Family: Trombidiidae

Red velvet mites or rain bugs are arachnids found in soil litter known for their bright red color but are often mistaken for spiders. They are called Laal Gaay or Gokul Gaay in Hindi, Arudra in Telugu, and Pattu Paapaathi Poochi in Tamil. They are active predators as grown adults but as early instars are often parasites on insects[1] and some arachnids.

Velvet mite in its natural habitat.

The pattern of stages is shared with that of other members of the Prostigmata: egg, pre-larva, larva, protonymph, deutonymph, tritonymph and adult (male or female). They usually have only one breeding cycle per year.[2]

One well known species from the Palearctic is Trombidium holosericeum.

The systematics of this group has been in flux and many former subfamilies of this are now raised to families within the Trombidioidea.[2][3]

Dry Trombidium in a Chhattisgarh market

The oil from the red velvet mite Trombidium grandissimum is used in traditional Indian medicine to treat paralysis. "[4]

There is a children rhyme in Hindi (mostly known in central India) regarding this insect: "Laal Gaay, Laal Gaay Kareley Khai, Humko Dekhkar Moo Chhupai!" It means "Red Velvet Mite, Red Velvet Mite, You Bitter Squash Eater, You Hid Your Face Upon Seeing Us!"



  1. ^ L. Conradt, S. A. Corbet, T. J. Roper, E. J. Bodsworth (2002) Parasitism by the mite Trombidium breei on four U.K. butterfly species. Ecological Entomology 27(6):651-659
  2. ^ a b Zhang, Zhi-Qiang (1998) Biology and ecology of trombidiid mites (Acari: Trombidioidea) Experimental & Applied Acarology 22:139-155 PDF
  3. ^ Makol, Joanna (2007) Generic level review and phylogeny of Trombidiidae and Podothrombiidae (Acari: Actinotrichida: Trombidioidea) of the world. Annales Zoologici 57(1): 1-194
  4. ^ Oudhia, P. 1999b. Traditional medicinal knowledge about red velvet mite Trombidium sp. (Acari: Trombidiidae) in Chhattisgarh. Insect Environment 5(3):113.[dead link]

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