This is a red velvet mite and he is here to teach you about love
Notes from the author
I want to give a big thanks to Alie Ward for introducing me to the wonders
of the red velvet mite.
Alie is a volunteer "bug lady" at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and also runs a podcast with Georgia Hardstark.
I recently was a guest on that podcast,
where I discussed peanut butter, Bigfoot, and what it's like to feed frozen gerbils to grizzly bears.
You can listen to the full thing here.
The animated GIF of red velvet mites was captured from this Youtube video,
which features giant red velvet mites found in India. Garden variety RVMs aren't usually that big.
Also, despite their romantic tendencies, red velvet mites sometimes become cannibals and devour each other.
I left that bit out because cannibalism does not mesh well with metaphors about love.
They also produce babies that are parasitic, which actually does mesh well with metaphors about love,
but for the sake of brevity I left that out as well.