Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Slug Mite - What is it FOR Exactly?

The White Slug Mite Riccardoella limacum
As a youngster I often used to look for the large garden snails which are common everywhere in England. I also use to find the larger, creamy white 'Roman' snails, also called the edible snail or escargot. These are fairly common in and around the area of north Oxfordshire where I lived.

One of the things I found fascinating was that some of them would have several tiny white creatures moving over their surfaces and very often going in and out of the hole in their side, the pneumostome, which leads to the air sack under the shell and through which snails breath.

I've since learned they are a group of mites. Mites are a group of arthropods similar to spiders but lacking the abdomen. Very many of them are microscopic - you will almost certainly have one or more living in most of your eyelash follicles. One particularly nasty little thing, Sarcoptes scabiei, sets up home in human skin and causes the intensely itchy rash called scabies.

However, the white snail mites I discovered as a child are what this is about, not the creatures that live in and on your body, in your beds, carpets, etc.

Slug mites around the pneumostome of a tawny garden slug.
These are known as slug mites and are members of the Riccardoella genus, usually R. limacum or R. oudemansi. They live on a whole range of terrestrial molluscs (slugs and snails). They were thought to be commensal, that is, just hitching a ride on their hosts and living off mucus, so doing their host no harm at all. However, recent studies have shown that they are blood feeder; that they are true parasites. In fact it is now known that they often burrow deep into their host's skin and remain there. Despite this they appear not to do any real harm to their hosts which seem to suffer no ill effects from their activities. Certainly, they have no discernible impact on slug and snail numbers and they do not appear to be predated on by anything other than another mite - Hyoaspis miles. Slugs and snails seem to have adapted to the presence of slug mites to compensate for whatever harm they may have suffered in the past.

The only purpose for slug mites seems to be to produce more slug mites.

So a question for Creationists. What was your assumed intelligent creator's intelligent reason for designing the slug mite? (Tweet this)

Luckily for Evolutionists such questions don't arise since there is no assumed purpose, intelligent or otherwise, in evolution theory. Evolution is an intelligently designed explanation for what we can observe in nature. (Tweet this)




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5 comments :

  1. God created it from want. You may want to be reincarnated as a slug mite. God may want to see a slug mite's life. You thought the slug mite was interesting enough to want to write this article.
    -Christopher LaMell dualism1237.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Christopher LaMell

    Actually, I thought the slug mite's life was UNinteresting enough to illustrate my point.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know about creationists, since I'm not one. I do however find it interesting that my body is crammed full of commensal microorganisms, and that biologically speaking I'm more a colony than an individual.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Christopher LaMell...

    Reincarnation and God are from different religions...

    ReplyDelete

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