Acari · erkės

DE · Milben | LV · ērces | PL · roztocze Acari or Acarina are a taxon of arachnids that contains mites and ticks. Most acarines are minute to small (0.08–1.0 mm). It is estimated that over 50,000 species have been described (as of 1999) and that a million or more species are currently living. The study of mites and ticks is called acarology (from Greek ἀκάρι, akari, a type of mite; and -λογία, -logia). Acarines are extremely diverse. They live in practically every habitat, and include aquatic (freshwater and sea water) and terrestrial species. They outnumber other arthropods in the soil organic matter and detritus. Many are parasitic, and they affect both vertebrates and invertebrates. Most parasitic forms are external parasites, while the free living forms are generally predatory and may even be used to control undesirable arthropods. Others are detritivores that help to break down forest litter and dead organic matter such as skin cells. Others still are plant feeders and may damage crops.