Today I am reviewing a rather unusual figure. It is a model of a dust mite sold in a snow globe-type display! The figure was produced by Wolff Marketing Group, Inc. for the allergy medication Zyrtec (which was first manufactured by Pfizer but is now sold by by Johnson & Johnson – I am not sure how old the figure is, so I am not sure which company this figure was produced for). The figure is one of three; the other two globes have a cat playing with a ball of yarn and pollen. Together with the dust mite shown here, these three globes represent common household allergens, keeping in mind Zyrtec is over-the-counter allergy relief!
Dust mites (genus Dermatophagoides) are cosmopolitan anthropophilic mites. They feed on organic debris, including sloughed fur and skin from humans and animals, and molds. They have received a lot of negative press due to allergic reactions to the mites, their feces, and exuviae (molted skin). Despite allergies associated with these mites, they are not parasitic and do not spread disease.
Dust mites measure 0.20-0.30 mm in length. The individual figure measures 3.0 cm, making it 100:1 in scale. The mite is encased in a liquid in a globe with a blue base. The internal base appears to represent carpeting or maybe a dusty air filter. The liquid is not as clear as the cat or pollen figures (I bought mine as a set of three); whether that is intentional or not, I am not sure. Also, please ignore the air bubble :).
Forum member stemturtle also has this figure and photographed it out of the globe (see also last image). I am linking stemturtle’s post because for the time being, I have decided to keep mine in the globe. It appears to have some nice sculpturing. In an email to me, stemturtle says the figure is made of a hard plastic is hard and appears brittle (which could be due to prolonged time in the liquid). The blue base has some text, including the common name ‘dust mite’ and Zyrtec logo and scientific name of the drug (cetirizine HCl), as well its recommended dosage. I wish there was an easy way to remove and open the ‘globe’ part; I would love to display it dry, but sitting atop the blue base.
This is one of three dust mite figures I am aware of. The other two are shown below with the Zyrtec globe. One is a rubbery white figure by an unknown Chinese manufacturer (I recently purchased mine on AliExpress) and the other is the figure that is probably most familiar to collectors, the 1996 offering by Play Visions in the set ‘Fleas, Lice, and Ticks’. The Zyrtec figure is a rather obscure novelty toy and is likely to appeal only to collectors of unusual taxa or collectors like me that specialize in arthropods. Both stemturtle and I bought ours on eBay within the last year, so apparently they pop up there from time to time.
Here is an image of the mite out of the globe, courtesy of stemturtle: