WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

Meet the mites that have sex on your face and nipples while you sleep

The idea of ​​eight-legged mites having sex on your face and nipples while you sleep might sound like a concept from the latest horror blockbuster.

But the creatures are very real, becoming such simplified organisms that they may soon “become one with humans,” according to a new study.

Demodex folliculorum mites are carried by almost every human being on the face, eyelashes and nipples, moving between the follicles in search of a mate.

Researchers at the University of Reading sequenced the genome of a mite for the first time and found that inbreeding causes them to reject unnecessary genes and cells.

Worryingly, the team says the mites are moving from external parasites to “internal symbiotes” that live within us.

The idea of ​​eight-legged mites having sex on your face while you sleep might sound like a concept from the latest horror blockbuster.  But the creatures are very real, becoming such simplified organisms that they may soon

The idea of ​​eight-legged mites having sex on your face while you sleep might sound like a concept from the latest horror blockbuster. But the creatures are very real, becoming such simplified organisms that they may soon “become one with humans,” according to a new study

D. folliculorum mites are carried by almost every human being on the face, eyelashes and even nipples, moving between the follicles in search of a mate

D. folliculorum mites are carried by almost every human being on the face, eyelashes and even nipples, moving between the follicles in search of a mate

What are face mites?

Dubbed “face mites,” D. folliculorum are actually tiny arachnids that live in hairs throughout the human body, consuming skin cells and oils.

Mites can be found in human ears, eyebrows and eyelashes, as well as hairs covering nipples and genitals.

Demodex has probably lived with us for a long time; as early humans left Africa and made their way around the world, researchers say.

They discovered that mites from China differ genetically from mites from America. East Asian and European populations diverged more than 40,000 years ago, and so far it seems their mites did too.

The mites are only 0.01 inch (0.3 mm) long and are passed on during birth.

In their study, the researchers tried to explain their bizarre mating habits, body characteristics and evolutionary future by analyzing their DNA.

dr. Alejandra Perotti, who co-led the study, said: ‘We found that these mites have a different arrangement of body part genes than other similar species because they adapt to a sheltered life in the pores.

“These changes in their DNA have led to some unusual body characteristics and behaviors.”

Mites live an isolated existence, without exposure to external threats.

For this reason, the mites secrete unnecessary genes and cells and survive on a minimum of proteins, the researchers said.

Among the genes that are lost are genes that provide UV protection and cause animals to be awakened by daylight, which explains their nocturnal behavior.

And although the mites have lost their ability to produce melatonin — a substance that makes invertebrates active at night — they can still feed their evening mating sessions on melatonin secreted from human skin.

The mites also have strange mating habits due to their unique gene arrangement.

The males have a penis that protrudes upwards, which means they have to position themselves below the female, while both clinging to the human hair.

One of their genes is reversed, giving them an excellent arrangement of mouth appendages to collect food.

According to the researchers, this also promotes their survival at a young age.

Previous studies have suggested that the mites do not have an anus and that feces accumulate throughout their lives before being released when they die.

For this reason, the mites have been blamed for several skin and eye conditions, including rosacea and blepharitis.

However, the new study confirms that they have anus, and indicates that mites are ‘mistakenly’ to blame for these conditions.

The mites are only 0.01 inch (0.3 mm) long and are passed on during birth.  Pictured: a mite walking under a microscope

The mites are only 0.01 inch (0.3 mm) long and are passed on during birth. Pictured: a mite walking under a microscope

Previous studies have suggested that the mites do not have an anus and that their feces may be the cause of skin conditions.  However, the new study confirms that they have anus (represented by arrow)

Previous studies have suggested that the mites do not have an anus and that their feces may be the cause of skin conditions. However, the new study confirms that they have anus (represented by arrow)

While new mates can add new genes to offspring, the mites are not exposed to potential mates and instead inbreed.

Overall, the researchers say this could lead to mites becoming symbionts, warning they could be headed for an “evolutionary dead end.”

dr. Henk Braig, co-lead author of the University of Bangor and the National University of San Juan, said: “Mites are blamed for many things.

‘The long association with humans could indicate that they can also play a simple but important useful role, for example to keep the pores in our face loose.’

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More