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This Is The Tiniest Fight On The Planet

Illustration for article titled This Is The Tiniest Fight On The Planet

The CSIRO gives us a scanning electron microscope image of the world's smallest battle to the death. Are you not entertained?!

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The above fight is one we rarely get to see, because both combatants are just under one millimeter in size. Facing us is a two-spot spider mite, which some of you will recognize as the thing that puts ugly yellow spots on all the plants in your garden. You can see the fangs at the front — although "fangs" might not be the right word for something that can barely get through the wall of a plant cell — to pierce the underside of new leaves and suck the sap from the hole.

Attacking this unsympathetic character is a predator mite. It will probably win the battle. Everything wins the battle against spider mites. They occupy the very bottom of the food chain.

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We get this detailed image thanks to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and its scanning electron microscope. If you want a live view of a fight, you can probably go out to a local park, lie in the dirt under the bushes, and direct a magnifying glass at the underside of the leaves.

[Sources: CSIRO, Colorado State]

Image: CSIRO.

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DISCUSSION

Well it's all perspective really. If you were say the size of an amoeba then they mite be giants.