The mites of this genus have very long legs. The shape and size of the legs differ according to the life style of the mite. Swimming species have fine hairs on their legs while in bottom dwelling species the legs are modified to crawl.
Although the water mites are difficult to study for an amateur this shouldn't be a reason not to observe them. A stereo microscope may be very useful for observing water mites. But it is difficult to track a fast swimming water mite in a little jar. Transferring the specimen to a watch hour glass make it easier to handle. A pipette with a wide opening must be used.
For study with large magnifications it is useful to add dots of vaseline under the corners of the cover glass. Since most water mites have a thick spherical body they will otherwise be crushed. The images in this article were made with dark-field illumination because the bodies are rather opaque.
© Wim van Egmond 1999
Image taken with a Zeiss 10X neofluar and 2.8 photo-ocular, mites size about 1 mm.
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