One of the most fun little organisms to watch for on our beaches is Neomolgus littoralis, the red velvet mite. At only 2-3 mm in diameter, these wee beasts are about the size of a sesame seed but are bright scarlet red so they are not that hard to spot. Look for them on all kinds of Island County beaches.
You’ll find them high in the intertidal on rocks, driftwood, pilings, and piles of washed up seaweed. Mites are not insects but arachnids which means they have eight legs and are closely related to ticks and spiders. Neomolgus is a predator with a long snout that it employs to suck the juices out of kelp flies. They don’t bite people so unless you’re a kelp fly, you have nothing to worry about when you find them. The next time you go to the beach, remember to look for the red velvet mite!