Get to know your face mites

I’ve been isolating the past week or so, to make sure I didn’t catch COVID on my recent trip to Portugal. It’s been fine. I work, write, eat, watch trash tv. It’s getting a little boring, to be honest. But it’s definitely not lonely, now that I’ve learned I’m never alone – I’ve got mites — specifically Demodex folliculorum—Living on my face, and guess what? So do you! I’ll never be lonely again! Hurrah!

Michelle Starr at ScienceAlert.com has the whole story. Here’s a fascinating and sort of horrifying excerpt:

Now people on Earth are habitats for mites that spend the majority of their brief lives burrowed, head-first, in our hair follicles, primarily of the face. In fact, humans are the only habitat for Demodex folliculorum. They are born on us, they feed on us, they mate on us, and they die on us.

Their entire life cycle revolves around munching your dead skin cells before kicking the teeny tiny bucket.

In other words, these mites are gradually merging with our bodies so that they now live permanently within us.

D. folliculorum is actually a fascinating little creature. Human skin detritus is its sole food source, and it spends the majority of its two-week lifespan in pursuit thereof.

The individuals emerge only at night, in the cover of darkness, to crawl painstakingly slowly across the skin to find a mate, and hopefully copulate before returning to the safe darkness of a follicle.

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