Cave mite (Ornithodoros sp.)

PhotographerAugusto Milagres e Gomes
PrizeHonorable Mention
CompanyFederal University of Minas Gerais
City/CountryBelo Horizonte, Brazil
Photo Date11/07/2016
Entry Description

The mites are one of the largest arachnid groups, with about 30000 known species, and scientists estimate that hundreds of thousands species are yet to be discovered. They are little sized (the vast majority is less than 2 mm width), what have allowed them to fill an unparalleled number of habitats and ecological niches, some of them unavailable to bigger animals. Mites can be predators, parasites, detritivores and even herbivores and fungivores. The free life species inhabit several terrestrial habitats, including litter, rotten wood and organic detritus, moss, insect and small mammals nests’ and soil. There are also fresh water and marine species. With all these characteristics, the mites certainly have an important role in ecosystems and actively participate of our lives, even if we can barely see them!

About Photographer

Augusto Gomes is a Brazilian biologist, graduated by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil), and master in Ecology, Conservation and Management of Wildlife by the same institution. Since 2010, he is engaged with research about ecology and conservation of tropical ecosystems, focused on bats and cave environments. During his academic journey, Augusto has also been dedicating to nature photography, as a tool to promote science spreading and nature conservation. Nowadays, the biologist/photographer is member of the Brazilian Joint of Nature Photographers (AFNATURA), and has a web page dedicated to photography, science spreading and environmental awareness: Andira Imagens (www.facebook.com/andiraimagens).