Love bugs: These nipple mites have sex on your face as you sleep – New York Post

Dont let the bedbugs mate.

Thought bedbugs were revolting? Microscopic nipple mites that make whoopie on peoples faces may soon become one with humans, according to a skin-scrawling study published in the journalMolecular Biology and Evolution.

Changes to their DNA have resulted in some unusual body features and behaviors, study co-author Alejandra Perotti,of the UKs University of Reading, said of the discovery.

Perotti was referring to the ubiquitous skin parasite demodex folliculorum, which resides in hair follicles on our face and nipples, and subsists on the oil released from our pores. If that wasnt revolting enough, these 0.3-mm-long skin-terlopers even mate on our faces during the night.

However, it appears these follicular freeloaders lovemaking habits have had terrible consequences. After analyzing their gene sequences, scientists found that the mites isolated existence and resultant inbreeding activities are causing them to shed superfluous genes, potentially transforming from parasites to internal symbionts. In laymens terms, they are merging with humans and may soon reside permanently within us.

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, said Perotti of the sex-induced interspecies splicing.

Potentially becoming one with humans isnt the only side effect of this gene reduction. For one, the mites are exclusively nocturnal as they lack UV protection as well as the gene that causes animals to be awakened by daylight. They also cant produce melatonin a compound that regulates sleep in small invertebrates but are able to power their facial hanky-panky sessions by harvesting the substance from their human host at sunset, Science Alert reported.

The mites unique gene arrangement has also bestowed males with a penis that juts upward from the front of their body. This forces them to cling to the females underside during sex as they both hang from the human hair.

Unfortunately, their peculiar procreation habits may paradoxically lead to their demise. Specifically, rampant inbreeding limits the number of genes the critters can pass onto offspring, effectively setting the mites on course for an evolutionary dead end, and potential extinction, the study found.

Fortunately, not all the findings were so morbid. The researchers also dispelled various mite myths, such as the belief that they dont have an anus, and therefore amass a lifetimes worth of waste on the human skin, resulting in rashes. Scientists discovered that these creatures do, in fact, have a rectal opening.

Mites have been blamed for a lot of things, said Dr. Henk Braig, co-lead author from Bangor University in the UK and the National University of San Juan in Argentina. The long association with humans might suggest that they also could have simple but important beneficial roles, for example, in keeping the pores in our face unplugged.

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Love bugs: These nipple mites have sex on your face as you sleep - New York Post

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