I came across this bug on Round Top, a popular hiking trail in Jasper, Arkansas. The trail has been closed due to mountain sliding.
Your photo is of one of the thousands of species of velvet mites. They are a relative of insects. It is more closely related to spiders – note 8 legs. These are beneficial critters.
Larvae are parasitic on insects. Adults eat insect eggs and small insects.These mites are found in the soil and litter in and on the soil surface. I see them mostly in my garden in the spring or fall while tilling or planting seeds.
Great critters to have around.
Great photo….wonderful close up pic!!