Chiggers. I remember seeing these things all the time growing up. I also remember my dad telling me that they were red because the were “full of blood”. Hearing that, I imagines them as little translucent sacs of my blood running around on eight tiny legs. This is hardly the case. Although, I must say, that version is way more exciting, and possibly, a great starting point for a horror film. I can imagine it now… oh wait, bugs… sorry 🙂
They belong to a family of mites called Trombiculid mites. They go through a pretty standard life cycle – eggs, larva, nymph and adult. The larva feed on skin cells (not your blood). It’s actually more tame than drinking your blood. They just climb onto the host animal (or human) and inject a digestive enzyme into the skin. This allows them to form a hole in the skin and eat it from the inside. Okay, this is starting to seem a little bit like a horror movie again.
Anyways, after this phase, they drop to the ground, become nymphs, then mature, then feed on plants. In a nutshell, they get boring.