Parasitic mites   Trombidium breei

Trombidium mites are parasites on the adult stages of several species of UK butterflies. The species most commonly affected are Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Common Blue and Small Skipper. It is the larval stage that attach themselves to the thorax or legs of the butterfly and transfer from host to host when the butterflies alight to nectar at flowers. A study* showed that the mobility and lifespan of the butterfly is unaffected by the presence of the mite, though the parasite presumably feeds of some component of the insect; perhaps the scale of infestation is small enough to be supported.

*Parasitism by the mite Trombidium breei on four U.K. butterfly species. Conradt,L. et al. Ecological Entomology (2002) 27, 651-659

Gatekeeper - Kithurst Hill Meadow, West Sussex   31st July 2016

Small Skipper - Kithurst Hill Meadow, West Sussex   31st July 2016