National Park Service Shares Strange Image of Blood-Red, ‘Velvet’ Arachnid: PHOTOS

by Amy Myers

Typically, when you see bright red critters in our national parks, you’ll want to stay away. But the National Park Service recently shined the spotlight on a much gentler colorful arachnid with an incredibly long name.

Meet the Trombidiidae.

Otherwise known as the “red velvet mite,” this six-legged crawler occupies the desert regions of West Texas, often showing up during monsoon season, hence its other name, the “rain bug.” According to the NPS, these mites can grow up to a half-inch in size which is actually pretty large for the bugs. Most mites are pretty hard to see with just the naked eye, so with the Trombidiidae’s relatively massive size and vibrant coloring, you can’t miss their presence.

Visitors to parks like Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park and the Fort Davis National Historic Site should keep an eye out for these rare, ruby-colored beauties.

“The mites emerge from burrows after the rain to feast. With their fang-like mouthparts (not as cute), they prey on insects like the desert termite that also emerge after a heavy monsoon rain,” the NPS explained. “Bad timing? We’re not sure if they’re also drawn to the plush velvety rain bug too. You wear it well, Trombidiidae!”

Parkgoers Share Hilarious Reactions to Strange Arachnid

As mesmerizing as these arachnids are, naturally, parkgoers next wanted to know whether they needed to carry itching cream with them when they see these mites.

Thankfully, though, according to the NPS’s response to concerns, the red velvet mite doesn’t bother humans.

“Be not afraid! They are harmless to people,” the Service reassured.

Meanwhile, other adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts couldn’t get over the creature’s strange yet gorgeous coloring.

“Both adorable and freaky at the same time,” said one follower.

“if Sesame Street had an arachnid,” added another.

A couple of parkgoers have even seen a few in real life during their recent adventures through Texas.

“We saw (and took photos) of our first ones today in Big Bend! What a coincidence!” a third shared.

Watch them on the move.

NPS Shares Another Snapshot of Odd Creature

Although many more people are aware of octopi than they are rain bugs, that doesn’t make them any less strange.

Just take a look at this video that the NPS shared a couple of weeks ago. In it, a tiny, almost translucent octopus makes its way around a bystander’s shoe.

“This floppy stowaway came up on some marine debris that was being removed at @biscaynenps in Florida,” the Service said. “After marveling at its brilliant colors and general splendor, it was safely returned to its octopus garden in the shade.”