Horrifying mites have sex on face and nipples of almost EVERY person – and even feast on skin

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THEY’VE got eight legs, feast on your skin cells and come out at night to mate on your face.

Thousands of teeny, tiny face mites live around the face, eyelashes and even NIPPLES of almost every person on Earth, and scientists have finally unravelled their genetic secrets.

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Scientists have sequenced the genome of the Demodex folliculorum, also known as the skin mite, for the first timeCredit: Shutterstock
The mites live inside hair follicles around your face, eyes and nipples

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The mites live inside hair follicles around your face, eyes and nipplesCredit: SWNS

In a study published Tuesday, researchers at the University of Reading described how they sequenced the genome of the Demodex folliculorum, also known as the skin mite, for the first time.

They found that the microscopic critters are becoming so dependent on their hosts that they may soon “become one with humans.”

And they also confirmed that the creatures – thousands of which can live on any one person – have anuses, contrary to previous claims.

Just about every adult alive has a population of face mites passed on during birth, and they’re nearly impossible to get rid of.

They burrow into your pores, eat your natural skin oils and climb back out to mate while you’re asleep.

But they don’t stop there.

After having their wicked way with one another, the bugs crawl back into your pores to lay their eggs – paving the way for the next generation of bugs.

As grim as it sounds, and while it might send a shiver down your spine, the good news is the mites are relatively harmless.

The first genome sequencing study of the critters found that their isolated existence and resulting inbreeding is changing their DNA.

D. folliculorum is shedding unnecessary genes and cells and is moving towards a transition from external parasites to so-called “symbionts”.

That means they’ll soon effectively live as one with humans.

Uni of Reading biologist Dr Alejandra Perotti, who co-led the research, said, “We found these mites have a different arrangement of body part genes to other similar species due to them adapting to a sheltered life inside pores.

“These changes to their DNA have resulted in some unusual body features and behaviours.”

Those unusual behaviours include the mites’ preference for nighttime romps.

That’s because they’ve lost the genes that provide UV protection and cause organisms to be awakened by daylight.

Unique DNA has also contributed to males’ upward-facing penises, which forces them to position themselves underneath the female while both cling onto human hair.

The team’s research, published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, busted a long-standing face mite myth.

Researchers had previously assumed that they did not have anuses, instead accumulating faeces before releasing it when they die, causing skin inflammation.

The new study, however, confirmed they do have anuses and so have been unfairly blamed for many skin conditions.

D. folliculorum was discovered by the Frenchman Berger in 1842 while he was studying earwax.

During the day mites feed on dead skin cells within hair follicles, while at night they emerge to mate and lay eggs.

Heavy infestations of mites can arrive in adolescence – thanks to the sebaceous glands during puberty – and can last up to middle age.

Their distribution varies from person to person, but men are likely to have heavier infestations because they have more sebaceous glands.

A study published in the journal PLoS ONE in 2014 found that, in a small sample of 29 people, 100% of subjects older than 18 had mite DNA on their face (for 18-year-olds, the number dropped to 70%).

“It’s hard to speculate or quantify but a low population would be maybe in the hundreds,” study researcher Megan Thoemmes, of North Carolina State University, told BBC Earth.

“A high mite population would be thousands.”

A second mite species, Demodex brevis, is similar but survives in sebaceous glands near hair follicles, for example, around the eyes.

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During a severe infestation, people may experience adverse effects such as rough, dry and itchy skin.

There are therapies that kill demodex mites but you can’t get rid of them forever as they rebound every six weeks.

The mites live around the face, eyelashes and even NIPPLES of almost every person on Earth. They are relatively harmless

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The mites live around the face, eyelashes and even NIPPLES of almost every person on Earth. They are relatively harmlessCredit: SWNS
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