Back to top

What Do Mites Look Like?

What Do Mites Look Like?

roundish, brown mite with four yellowish legs and long mouthparts on a yellow background
Spiny rat mite. Photo: NYSIPM. Click photos to see enlarged versions.

Mites are arachnids closely related to ticks, but generally smaller in size, making them difficult to identify without magnification. While they technically have two body regions, visually it looks like a single body with legs and mouthparts.

They have four life stages: egg, larva (hatchling), nymph and adult, although there can be multiple nymph stages. As larvae, mites have three pairs of legs. However, as nymphs and adults, mites have four pairs of legs.

2 dark, oval 8-legged arachnids and 3 pale beige 8-legged arachnids, 2 of which are attached to 1 of the dark arachnids, on a dark green, biege-veined leaf
Predatory mites feeding on plant mites. They are hard to tell apart, so we recommend that mites be identified by a qualified specialist such as The Cornell Insect Diagnostic Lab. Photo: Joe Ogrodnick, Cornell AgriTech