THIERRY BERROD, MONA LISA PRODUCTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY THIERRY BERROD, MONA LISA PRODUCTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mite commensalism. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of three young (hypopus) mites attached to the back of an oribate mite. The hypopus is a modified juvenile stage of acarine mites. It is morphologically and behaviourally distinct from other life stages. There are no functional mouthparts and the body is sucker-shaped and smooth, with a thick cuticle. This stage is often used for dispersal of the species, which is achieved by the hypopi attaching themselves to a larger animal that will carry them to a different area. This is a form of phoresy (commensalism).
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