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Temporal range: Palaeogene–present
Trombidium sp.
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Trombidiformes
Superfamily: Trombidioidea
Family: Trombidiidae
Leach, 1815[1]

Trombidiidae, also known as red velvet mites, true velvet mites,[2] or rain bugs, are small arachnids (eight-legged arthropods) found in plant litter and are known for their bright red color.

While adults are typically no more than 4 mm (0.16 in) in length, some species can grow larger and the largest, including the African Dinothrombium tinctorum and Indian Trombidium grandissimum, may exceed 12 mm (0.47 in).[2][3][4] This also makes them the largest mites, if disregarding ticks engorged after feeding;[5] unlike those, D. tinctorum and T. grandissimum are harmless to humans.[3][4]

Their life pattern is in stages similar to 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.[6]

They are active predators as grown adults. As larvae they are often parasites of insects[7] and other arachnids.[8] This lifestyle is typical of the Parasitengona.[9]

One well-known species from Europe, Asia, and North Africa is Trombidium holosericeum.[10] The systematics of this group has been in flux and many former subfamilies of this are now raised to families within the Trombidioidea.[6][11]

List of genera[edit]

According to Joanna Makol[12]

Human use[edit]

Dry Trombidium in a Chhattisgarh market

The oil from the red velvet mite Trombidium grandissimum is used in traditional Indian medicine to treat paralysis.[13][14]


  1. ^ Leach, 1815 : A tabular view of the external characters of four classes of animals, which Linné arranged under Insecta; with the distribution of the genera composing three of these classes into orders, and descriptions of several new genera and species. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, vol. 11, p. 306–400.
  2. ^ a b "Family Trombidiidae - true velvet mites - BugGuide.Net". bugguide.net. BugGuide. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b Maake, P. (2015). "Velvet mites (Family Trombidiidae: Dinothrombium spp.)". ARC-Plant Protection Research. Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  4. ^ a b De, Sayantan (2020). "Red velvet mite (Trombidium grandissimum) and its extreme strategies for survival". Species. 21 (67).
  5. ^ Schmidt, J.O.; Schmidt, L.S. (2022). "Big, bad, and red: Giant velvet mite defenses and life strategies (Trombidiformes: Trombidiidae: Dinothrombium)". Journal of Arachnology. 50: 175–180. doi:10.1636/JoA-S-21-019.
  6. ^ a b Zhang, Zhi-Qiang (1998) Biology and ecology of trombidiid mites (Acari: Trombidioidea) Experimental & Applied Acarology 22:139–155 PDF
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ Durkin, Emily S.; Cassidy, Steven T.; Gilbert, Rachel; Richardson, Elise A.; Roth, Allison M.; Shablin, Samantha; Keiser, Carl N. (10 December 2021). "Parasites of spiders: Their impacts on host behavior and ecology". The Journal of Arachnology. 49 (3). doi:10.1636/JoA-S-20-087. ISSN 0161-8202.
  9. ^ "Parasitengona - velvet mites (including chiggers) & water mites". bugguide.net. Retrieved 3 July 2023.
  10. ^ Mąkol, J.; Wohltmann, Andreas (2000). "A redescription of Trombidium holosericeum (Linnaeus, 1758) (Acari: Actinotrichida: Trombidioidea) with characteristics of all active instars and notes on taxonomy and biology". Annales Zoologici. 50 (1): 67–91.
  11. ^ Makol, Joanna (2007) Generic level review and phylogeny of Trombidiidae and Podothrombiidae (Acari: Actinotrichida: Trombidioidea) of the world. Annales Zoologici 57(1): 1–194
  12. ^ Makol, 2007 : Generic level review and phylogeny of Trombidiidae and Podothrombiidae (Acari: Actinotrichida: Trombidioidea) of the world. Annales Zoologici (Warsaw), vol. 57, n. 1, p. 1-194.
  13. ^ Oudhia, P. 1999b. Traditional medicinal knowledge about red velvet mite Trombidium sp. (Acari: Trombidiidae) in Chhattisgarh. Insect Environment 5(3):113. Archived 7 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Reddy, T. Karnakar (24 June 2015). "Rare breed of insects in huge demand - The Hindu". The Hindu.