The endermites are on the move thanks to Minecraft snapshot 14w11a

The endermite enjoys a complicated relationship with its partial namesake.

About the size of a pickaxe, the endermite shuffles its segmented, purple frame across the sands. The pretty, lavender snowflake particle effect that attends the enderman clings to this insect too – but admiring players would be wise not to get too close, for fear of immediate and persistent attack.

For a short while after its birth into Minecraft yesterday, a small mercy saw the endermite rendered immobile – but that’s since been fixed. It’s out there, in survival mode: a tiny thing of violet violence.

The name and aesthetic link might lead you to think that the endermite is the enderman in larval state – but if they’re some sort of evolutionary relation, they don’t get on well.

From long distances, endermen will track down endermites in the world and kill them – making them an efficient way of drawing the lean, elusive creatures to your position.

Early reports from players in creative mode suggest that endermites literally drop off the endermen when they teleport – as if they’re parasites, or the result of a sudden chemical reaction. Others have sworn the mites spawn when an ender pearl lands, and despawn two minutes later.

But nobody is sure: Mojang never mention new mobs in their update logs, which means we occasionally get to enjoy these strange honeymoon periods with the unknown.

The mites aren’t the only big news this week: 14w11a also modifies the speed of minecarts, such that they’re much faster and travel much further. Collision and position handling is notably better too – and as a result carts tend to derail more often.

For whatever reason, the mites and the carts don’t mix – drop one into the other and it’ll start suffocating immediately.

Alongside some general updates to mob AI, this is the most significant snapshot in some time – and likely means a similarly significant numbered update is nearly due to be rolled out.

In the meantime, you can sign up for testing by creating a new profile in your Minecraft launcher, naming it snapshots, and ticking the box to allow experimental updates. You can switch back to a less volatile version of the game at any time via the dropdown launcher profile box.

What’s more exciting to you? The mites, or the minecart physics implications?

Cheers, Reddit.