The astigmatid mite species, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, was found to occur in meiobenthic collections from the Mdloti Estuary on the eastern seaboard of southern Africa. To examine whether these mites are actually components of estuarine systems or the result of contamination of collecting and laboratory materials, special sterilization procedures were incorporated into the collection protocol. Samples employing sterilization procedures still yielded Tyrophagus mites, providing evidence for their existence in the estuarine sediments. The origination of these mites in estuarine and fringe marine systems, in general, is discussed. These findings are significant in terms of the potential trophic importance of Tyrophagus mites.