Trombidium grandissimum "Giant Red Velvet Mite"
Trombidium grandissimum may be tiny, but its power should not be underestimated. Since the diet of the Giant Red Velvet Mite consists of many pests, the mite could be used as a potential biological control tool. They are also vital to the rate of soil decomposition and greatly help maintain balance in soil ecosystems. The mites spend a majority of their time underground and only emerge after heavy rains to feed.
In India, the oil from T. grandissimum is coveted. Natives believe the deep red oil holds many medical benefits, and people gather the mites during the short time they emerge from the soil to sell in the local bazaars. The oil is strongly believed to be an aphrodisiac. Current research regarding the oil from the Giant Red Velvet Mite looks promising.
To see the Giant Red Velvet Mite and to understand the importance of the mite in Indian culture, check out these links. The first video was actually filmed by locals and the native language is used, but it is a great video to see the mites abundance and to gain a better understanding of their different uses.
The next video highlights the importance of T. grandissimum in the field of traditional medicine. The mites are used in a number of different ways.
Trombidium grandissimum measures in on average around half an inch. This makes it one of the largest mites known to date. Other species of the red velvet mite get fairly large as well.
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