At only one tenth the width of a human hair in length, a crimson erineum mite (Aceria elongatus) is barely visible to the human eye unaided by magnification. Its claws, dorsal shield markings, and other identifying body features are not. Identification in the field is possible only by noting the properties of the abnormal growths (galls) it produces on its host.
Crimson erineum mite is a plant parasite infecting only sugar maple and possibly black maple. It is common in eastern United States and Canada. When injured by a mite, a leaf cell produces a small projection filled with colored fluid on the upper surface. Small patches of these are usually scattered over the leaf surface. They are greenish-white at first, soon becoming crimson or purplish. They reach their maximum extent, and are most noticeable, in summer. The infestation is sometimes abundant and can cause leaf distortion and premature leaf drop.