Man finds mites that ‘romp on your face in your sleep’ living on his eyelashes

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    A man has found mites living in his eyelashes that have sex on your face while you sleep.

    Demodex folliculorum, as is their scientific name, are related to spiders and cling to the hair on our faces as they reproduce.

    A Reddit user going by @gud_morning_dave said he "decided to check" his own eyes after hearing about the mites.

    READ MORE: Man's earache turns out to be infestation of flesh-eating maggots burrowing into eardrum

    He then shared microscopic images of two moving worm-like creatures, which he named Demo and Dex, in a post that has been upvoted over 28,000 times.

    The mites are invisible to the naked eye and are powered by the melatonin secreted by human skin at dusk.

    They also lack UV protection and don't have the gene that causes animals to be awakened by daylight – meaning they instead romp away on our faces at night.

    Speaking to Newsweek, @gud_morning_dave said: "I learned about eyelash mites from a Reddit post a few days ago. Then while using a microscope at work, I wondered if I could see them on my own eyelashes, so I plucked a few out and looked at the roots. One of the roots had these two mites on it."

    Although the thought of mites going at it on our faces is unsettling, they actually exist on most people.

    They are also said to be beneficial as they protect us against acne and scarring by keeping pores unclogged – although a buildup of their waste products can cause eye irritation issues.

    Recently, the first full DNA analysis of the mites was conducted, with scientists discovering they are becoming more simplified organisms and may soon be pretty much one with us – a process called symbiosis.

    The study was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

    Co-lead author Professor Alejandra Perotti, of the University of Reading, 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."

    More than 48,000 species of mites exist, with two of those living on our faces.

    Demodex folliculorum look like wall plugs and have a long cone-shaped body, propped up by stubby legs at one end.

    Their unique gene arrangement also results in strange mating habits. Their reproductive organs have moved towards the head and the males have a penis that protrudes upwards from the front of their body.

    Males have to position themselves underneath the female when mating. They copulate as they both cling onto a human hair.

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