Skip

3 Things You Might Not Know About the Arachnids That Live on Your Face
August 28, 2014 11:06 AM   Subscribe

  1. Everyone has mites.
  2. Humans host (at least) two mite species that aren’t closely related to each other.
  3. Mites can tell us about the historical divergence of human populations.
"If reading this made your face a little itchy, rest easy. In an evolutionary perspective, humans and Demodex are old, old friends. You are in good company. And so are your mites."

Journal article: "Ubiquity and diversity of human associated Demodex mites", Megan Thoemmes et al., PLOS ONE, August 2014. The species of these mites found on humans are arguably the animals with which we have the most intimate interactions. Yet, their prevalence and diversity have been poorly explored.... Within our samples, 100% of people over 18 years of age appear to host at least one Demodex species, suggesting that Demodex mites may be universal associates of adult humans. This research brought to you by the National Science Foundation and NASA, probably because astronauts have mites too.
posted by RedOrGreen (25 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
(Left off the Previously link, oops, sorry.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:10 AM on August 28


Wow, I was literally, like the tab I just switched from to metafilter, reading about psuedoscorpions. . . tiny arachnids that eat mites and I think I have a population of in some of my beehives (a good thing, since mites are a huge problem currently for bees). I am pro mite. A friend of the mites. I will carry them on my face to the ends of the Earth. But not Varroa destructor.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 11:10 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


They have been found on every mammal species where we’ve looked for them, except the platypus and their odd egg-laying relatives.
Well, that's interesting. I wonder why.
posted by brundlefly at 11:14 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I had to do a lot of explaining why my little mange puppies weren't contagious. "Demodex/non-contagious mange is actually a mite that lives on all dogs and is harmless, like your eyelash mites," I'd start. "It only affects dogs with weakened immune systems. If they're under some sort of stress, like being born in a shelter to a mom with health issues and mange, then their poor tiny immune systems can't handle it and it takes over."

I did not know the mites also lived on me, and I'm kind of glad I didn't, because taking care of them was pretty gross at times. Though they're both healthy now and if you live in Chicago you should totally adopt Guppy.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:15 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Proof that mama nature loves us all: full-time exfoliators. Nature's beauticians.
posted by bonehead at 11:16 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Well, that's interesting. I wonder why.

Mites are horrible snobs. Why do you think we call stuck up people "high and mite-y?"
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:16 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


*rimshot*
posted by brundlefly at 11:18 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


2. Humans host (at least) two mite species that aren’t closely related to each other.

Thankfully the others are still 2nd cousins, so it doesn't make that last family BBQ weird at all.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:19 AM on August 28


Though we don’t have enough evidence to say that we got one of our mites from man’s best friend, it does seem possible that one of the domestic animal species that we’ve long shared our lives with (be it dogs, goats or otherwise) may have gifted us their mites.

When you lay down with dogs you wake up fleas their face mites. And fleas.
posted by bleep at 11:24 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I ♥ Mites
posted by echocollate at 11:26 AM on August 28


Though we don’t have enough evidence to say that we got one of our mites from man’s best friend, it does seem possible that one of the domestic animal species that we’ve long shared our lives with (be it dogs, goats or otherwise) may have gifted us their mites.

This is a complete tangent, but are "gift" and "gifted" going to completely supplant "give" and "given"?
posted by clockzero at 11:27 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


After consulting wiki land I learned that at night they emerge from your follicles and have sex on your face. I don't know how I should feel about this. Our bacteria friends just divide. But arachnid orgies?
posted by njohnson23 at 11:29 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Why does it not surprise me that my dogs share their mites with me, along with the pollen they track in and virtually everything else?
posted by blucevalo at 11:36 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


The thought of these critters in my face used to freak me out. Now I think of them as mite-ichlorians, and you can never have too many of those...
posted by Fupped Duck at 11:37 AM on August 28


They have been found on every mammal species where we’ve looked for them, except the platypus and their odd egg-laying relatives.

Well, that's interesting. I wonder why.


Because platypus mites didn't make it onto the Ark.
posted by Billiken at 11:38 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Think about it, Demodex have been to space. They were on Laika, on Gagarin, and every other mammal that's been shot up in a rocket.
posted by tommasz at 11:43 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


My demodex colony made me smile knowingly upon reading that comment.
posted by smidgen at 11:46 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Well, that's interesting. I wonder why.

The mites were like we don't even know how to properly classify these weird creatures. Let's not get involved there, it sounds complicated. We might have to evolve into some kind of weird arachnid/insect/worm thingy.
posted by ChuckRamone at 12:02 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


We might have to evolve into some kind of weird arachnid/insect/worm thingy.

And how can this be?!

For he is the kwisatz haderach!
posted by ikahime at 2:25 PM on August 28


MITES!
posted by Hamusutaa at 4:54 PM on August 28


Demon X!!!???
posted by carping demon at 9:09 PM on August 28


Crow: "Oh, they're small... Meaning we don't have to concern ourselves with the other helpless creatures undoubtedly living in your eyelashes. Whole villages of tiny big-eyed children being devoured by these dragons."
Mike: "...is that in the article?"
Crow: "Yeah, it is!"
posted by Hig Hurtenflurst at 6:57 AM on August 29


clockzero: This is a complete tangent, but are "gift" and "gifted" going to completely supplant "give" and "given"?
Language questions are NEVER tangential; by their very nature they are intrinsic.

The verb "to gift", at least in the usages I am familiar with, varies slightly from the usages of "to give". You give someone a hand, a lift, ten bucks for your share of lunch, a headache, etc.

"I am gifting you this X" implies, at least to me, that X bears either responsibilities or negative qualities; "to gift":"to give"|"legacy":"inheritance".

Thus: if you were gifted a painting by your Aunt Millie, the implication is that you can't throw it away, as she might visit. If would have been much easier if she had simply given you money.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:13 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Yeah, they're cute'n'all, but... "Demodex mites were found in 77% of nipple tissue" is somehow not the feelgood glowfest.
posted by Devonian at 12:47 PM on August 29


"I am gifting you this X" implies, at least to me, that X bears either responsibilities or negative qualities; "to gift":"to give"|"legacy":"inheritance".

Yeah, that seems right to me. And it makes sense, because a gift is much more than some thing which is given.
posted by clockzero at 10:04 PM on August 30


« Older "The whole industry knows DRM is just smoke and...   |   OH HALP I HAS A STUCK Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post