February! Remembered for Valentines day - or at least it is by those still vibrant enough to feel the magic and thrill of love, and who have a partner to share an amorous moment with.
And just what did you get up to on the night of the 14th?
Well if you spent a pleasurable evening with your loved one under the sheets, you might care to consider that while you were practising for the love-Olympics, the two of you may not have been the only couple enjoying themselves in your bed that night. The opening text to this page might well have been the words of at least one of your bed mates, if she could speak - and we're not talking here about your partner.
So enthused with our own species, we humans pay little attention to the love-making habits of the tiny creatures we share our world with... and our beds! It is commonly reported that tiny living animals called Dust-Mites live in large numbers beneath our sheets and under the buttons of our bed matresses. Since they feed on the small particles of dead skin which fall like rain from our bodies, it is suspected that the more active you are in bed - the greater the population of Dust-Mites you are inadvertently 'feeding'. All that 'thrashing-around' causes more skin dust to fall, providing a plentiful supply of food for our little bed mates.
After all your own activity on Valentines day, you might be curious enough to grab a magnifier, dive under the sheets and check out just what these little sexy creatures are up to as they trespass in your little love-nest... or better still, really play the 'gooseberry' and intrude upon their love-play by shoving a few of them under a microscope while they are hard at it. Well, here at Microscopy-UK, we did just that. I know it's not fair to pry on their intimate activities but to be honest - they didn't seem to mind at all. To any voyeur Dust-Mites that might be visiting Microscopy-UK - I just want to say one thing: "boy, are you in for a treat!"
So without further ado, let me introduce
you to the Page 3 Dust-Mate of the month...
All the male Dust-Mites out there might recognise that this is in fact the 'kissing-end' of the little lady rather than the 'business' end. Ahem, try not to get too excited lads by that adorable mouth and shapely legs!
I bet you boys get real tongue-tied saying: "I just love your beautiful gnathosoma", which to us human males might translate to - "I just love your beautiful lips".
Of course, she doesn't always use her mouth for blowing kisses at the male-mites, most of the time she's too busy shovelling hair debris, skin-flakes, and other delicacies into it. Diets are not high on the list for this lady! Unfortunately, our Page 3 Dust-Mate can't give her fans an alluring stare across the crowded mattress: she has no eyes! She prefers to remain out of the spotlight though, being more relaxed in the dark, and only ventures out into the light for the occasional photo-call.
But don't go thinking she's an unfeeling creature. If the male Dust-Mites dropping in can just contain themselves for a moment, we will explain what's bristling just above our Page 3 Dust-Mate's front legs.
No not dust mite suspenders, but a supra-coxal setum which is associated with an elongated pore located in a recess. It is a highly developed sensory organ vital for the Dust-Mites survival.
For anyone that makes a habit of studying mites, it is also an important characteristic for helping identification because its construction varies between different genera of mites.
When the... "Er...
hold on a moment... I've just spotted a saucy couple sneaking off together
in the dark. And YES... they've got it together! Let's be real mean and
go take a look at what they're doing!"