An EXPLANATION of the THIRTY-FIRST PLATE
A Cheese-Mite with its Back uppermost
THERE are several Species of minute Creatures, which from their extreme Small-
ness and some Resemblance in Form,
are called by the general Name of Mites. One
Sort of these was shewn and described in the Plate immediately preceding, and there
called the Wandering-Mite, from its being found abroad, and rambling as it were at
on its Belly.|
The Figure under our Eye at present is one of the Mites found in Cheese, placed in a
crawling Posture with the Back-Part uppermost. The Shape is a kind of Oval, but more
obtuse at the Tail-End. It has three Regions or Parts as in larger Insects. The hinder
Part or Belly A seems covered with one intire Shell, so curiously polished, that, as in a
convex Looking-Glass, it shews the Pictures of all the Objects round about. The
Middle, or Chest, seems divided and covered with two Shells B C, which running
one within the other, the Mite is able to draw in or thrust out as it finds Occasion ; and
it can do the same with its Snout D.
The whole Body is crustaceous, of a Pearl-Colour, and pretty transparent ; so that di-
vers Motions of the Intestines may be discerned within it. Several long white Hairs grow
out from it in different Places, some of which are longer than the whole Animal, though
in the Drawing they are not so represented. They all appear pretty strait and pliable,
excepting two that issue from the Head-Part, and seem to be the Horns.
PLATE XXXI. FIG. 2.
A Cheese-Mite with its Belly upwards
THIS second Figure shews a Mite that was somewhat larger than the former, fixed
on the Back-Part of its Tail, by means of a little Mouth-Glew rubbed on the Ob-
ject Plate, with Design to exhibit the Insertion of the Legs, and such other Particulars as
escaped the first Examination.
To the small End of the oval Body the Head is fastned, (very little in proportion to the
other Parts) where a Pair of Eyes may be distinguished, appearing like two dark minute
Specks. The Mouth resembles that of a Mole, opening and shutting occasionally, and
when open appearing red within. It has little Bristles at the Snout, and if one has the
good Luck to view it at a proper Time, one shall see it munching and chewing the Cud
like a Guinea-Pig.
It is furnished with eight well-shaped and proportioned Legs covered with a very trans-
parent Shell : Each Leg has eight Joints, fringed as it were with several small Hairs. The
Structure of the Joints seems the same as in the Legs of Crabs and Lobsters, and each Leg
is armed with a very sharp Claw or Hook at its End, in the same manner as theirs are.
Four of these Legs are so placed as to move the Body forwards : The other four, by be-
ing disposed in a quite contrary Direction, draw it backwards when there is Occasion.
Mites appear to the naked Eye merely like Dust in Motion ; nor is the sharpest Sight
able to distinguish their Parts, unless assisted by Glasses. They are Male and Female.
The Females lay Eggs, from which very small Mites are hatched, of the same Shape with
their Parents : for these Creatures shed their Skins several times, and increase in Bigness, but
never change their Form. A Mite's Egg is not more than a four or five hundredth Part
of the Size of a well-grown Mite ; and such Mites are not much above one hundredth
of an Inch in Thickness : So that, according to this Way of reckoning, no less than a
Million of full-grown Mites may be contained in a cubic Inch, and five times as many Eggs.
The vatious Sorts of Mites, to be met with up and down in divers putrifying Substances,
are very different in Shape, Colour, Size, and several other Properties, according, perhaps,
to the Nature of the Substances whereon they are nourished. Those found on some Bo-
dies are longer, on others rounder ; some more hairy, others smoother : In this nimble, in
that slow ; here pale and whiter, there browner, blacker, more transparent, &c. But
they all agree in being exceedingly voracious.