I saw a decimal-sized dot walking on my hand. I wanted to know what this is, so I got it onto some paper and sandwiched below a piece of clear tape so I could keep it in place and photograph it. However it's so small that even with my camera lens almost touching the specimen, I can't get a great photo. It's small, about 0.8mm long, beige or gray or brown with a pattern on the back. It's a little smooshed from the tape so it's hard to tell if it has 6 or 8 legs and is an insect or an arachnid. But hopefully based on the shape, size, and pattern it can be identified.

Location is southern California.



Update: I now believe this to be a rat mite or bird mite. I'll include some additional photos that were better quality (photos were taken with a close-focus camera, mites were on printer paper underneath Scotch tape, backlit by an LED light):

rat mite, with ruler for scale

rat mite, partially fed

rat mite

rat mite, unfed

rat mite, fed

rat mite, unfed

  • $\begingroup$ @A L please update with your better photos... $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Nov 17 '18 at 4:49
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    $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist I updated it again with a few more photos. $\endgroup$ – A L Nov 19 '18 at 1:30

It could be a tick nymph. Difficult to tell as you can't see the beak and the front legs very well. Check out this tick identification site:


Looks most like the dog tick maybe?

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks. Actually it turned out to probably be a mite, probably a rat mite. I found many more which appeared to be coming from the attic where we have had rats, and when I took more macros they did appear to look like rat or bird mites. I just never got around to updating this with the new info and photos. $\endgroup$ – A L Jul 4 '17 at 23:32

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