Mites are arthropods (creatures with jointed legs and with skeletons on the outside of the body) that are related to – but distinct from - insects and spiders. The vast majority of mites are minute (hence the name), and many are microscopic. A few kinds – such as the ticks - are considerably larger. Mites are the most diverse, varied and numerous of species amongst the arthropods. Most kinds of mites are free-living; that is, they are not parasitic. Mites may feed upon plants or fungi, are predaceous upon yet other tiny creatures (including mites), or dine on organic debris. A few kinds have become specialized to feed upon or infest animals. Because they are of particular significance to health, we offer a separate resource for information and insight about ticks.