Entomologist expertise needed

I took students on a field excursion to a nearby lake, as I do every year. I love when they find something I haven’t seen before, but it’s more fun if I can actually identify it but evidently my books don’t include parasites on insects and google has failed me. The picture in this tweet is of a small red insect, less than a millimeter long found on a water strider.

Now it could have been a random passenger, but there were two of it.

Anyone able to identify parasites on Northern-European water striders, or know someone who might be able to?

It’s the larva of a tick or possibly a mite. When they first hatch out of the egg, ticks and mites have three pairs of legs. After the first molt, they acquire the fourth pair.

Many ticks and mites are parasites on insects. No doubt that’s what these are.

That was my first thought, but I was unaware they started out with just three pairs. Thanks!

Yep. Larval stage of a water mite, probably Limnochares aquatica.

We are reminded of Bug Rogers, the non-conformist six-legged spider from Gus Arriola’s late lamented Gordo comics.