The arachnids that live on your face lead a most peculiar life

It is often said that human beings are never alone, as we have millions of viruses, bacteria and fungi living with us. But we also have little animals that never leave us. It is the case of Demodex folliculoruma kind of arachnids who live exclusively in the skin of our face. And also in our nipples. They feed on the sebum that is generated in the pores. In fact, these are his favorite place. There they live, feed and mate. Broadly speaking, all this is what we knew about them so far. However, a new study just published in Molecular Biology and Evolution provides new information of the most interesting.

To reach it, its authors, coming from the University of Reading, carried out a sequencing of its genome. This made it possible to verify that their privileged enclave has helped them to optimize your genes to the maximum. In the skin of our face they do not have to compete with other species for food or for mating. They have no predators and, although they take advantage of us, they are generally not annoying, so we do not try to kill them. In fact, although these mites are being talked about more and more, we try very hard to forget that they exist. Out of sight, out of mind.

And they measure just over 0.3mm long, so we cannot see them with the naked eye. We know they are there, but they do not harm us. It is true that in some cases they have been linked to some eye infections. Or even with an eczema in the areola-nipple complex. But these are exceptions. Normally they don’t affect us, so live with us with total peace of mind. And that quiet life has made them lose genes during their evolution. They have the fair and necessary to stay alive, but thanks to them they can do very curious things.

The arachnids that best take advantage of their diet

the arachnids Demodex that live on the skin of our face are becoming simpler. In the study that has just been published, they verified that their legs only haven three unicellular muscleswhich are enough and are left over to move from pore to pore looking for food and mating partners.

In addition, they do not need a very varied diet. In fact, their requirements for nutrients like protein are minimal. Other invertebrates, like mosquitoes, need to resort to tricks like sucking our blood to get the proteins they need to lay their eggs. But the Demodex they are enough and they are left over with what little they can get in our face.