Larva of some 10,000 mite species, ranging in length from 0.004 to 0.6 in. (0.1–16 mm). Some are terrestrial; others live in freshwater or salt water. They may be predators, scavengers, or plant feeders, and some are pests of humans, either as parasites or as carriers of disease. In North America, the common chigger that attacks humans is found from the Atlantic coast to the Midwest and Mexico. The larva penetrates clothing and, once attached to the skin, injects a fluid that digests tissue and causes severe itching. After feeding, the larva drops to the ground and begins to mature.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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