Get to know your facial mites

I’ve been in isolation for the past week or so to make sure I didn’t contract COVID on my recent trip to Portugal. It’s been good. I work, write, eat, watch trash TV. It’s starting to get a little boring, to be honest. But it’s certainly not lonely, now that I’ve learned that I’m never alone – I mostly have mites Demodex follicular– life on my face, and guess what? You too! I will never be lonely again! Hurrah!

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

Most humans on Earth are habitats for mites that spend most of their short lives head-first in our hair follicles, mainly in the face. In fact, humans are the only habitat for Demodex folliculorum. They are born on us, they feed on us, they mate with us and they die on us.

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

In other words, these mites gradually fuse with our bodies, so that they now live permanently in us.

D. folliculorum is actually a fascinating creature. Detritus from human skin is its only food source and spends most of its two week lifespan pursuing it.

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

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