While out enjoying the fine weather I thought I'd check out the life living in the cattle troughs scattered around the estate. I found a large number of juvenile waterboatman in all of the troughs; however many of the chaps in one particular trough are carrying red mites (?) on their back legs.
Seems to slow down the swimming a little but hasn't stopped them completetly. It's the first time I've seen this, any thoughts on type of mite - is there a specific waterboatman mite? Sorry description is a little vague; but they are very small unless your a juveniile waterboatman I suppose.
I believe the tiny red mites you have seen clinging to the water boatman are juvenile Water Mites, Hydracarina. These mites are parasitic when young but become free swimming and predatory when adult, at the juvenile/larval stage they are generalist parasites and have a wide range of invertebrate hosts. The other benefit in clinging to bugs and beetles that are able to fly between water sources is of course that you can get a free lift. Mites in general use other invertebrates as a free taxi service and this is known as phoresy.