Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Red velvet and rains

While watching heavy downpour from window, unknowingly I walked down the memory lane. Those colorful umbrellas, paper boats and the little red velvet balls made rainy days during my childhood wonderful. The red velvety tiny creatures were showing their guest appearance only at the beginning of  the rainy season,  made me to think that they fall from the sky along the rain. Yes.. they are red velvet mites. I used to  pick them up  and they were  rolling into tiny ball to become motionless for some time, then start to move again.
Velvet mites belong to the genus Trombidium. These red velvet mites appear above the ground only for some time at the beginning of the rainy season and rest of the time they remain underground. They are arachnids (class to which spiders, mites, ticks, scorpions belong to). In india these little creatures are identified by different names at different regions. Gokal Gaay, rani keeda, Bir Bahuti and the names go on. Recently I came across an article in Chicago wilderness magazine, velvet mites appear to play important role in decomposition process and to maintain soil structure. The red color may be the warning sign to the predators. Ecologist Heneghan described  red velvet mite as ‘the ruby lord of love garden’ and said they remain as an under-researched enigma.
So look out for these little creatures during rainy seasons!!!

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