external image 5522715074_7b58fd330c_z.jpgexternal image 4491717389_46aff40a4c.jpg

E. rowelli is the most well known species of onychophores. Since they have evolved so little over millions of years, they are the best species for studying arthropods, to whom they are closely related. They found in southern Australia. They have a blue coloration, and they have 15 pairs of legs with curved claws attached to each leg. They grow to be approximately 15mm long, with the female being slightly longer than the male. They have a pair of antennae, under which is a pair of glands from which they release glue-like adhesive to trap their prey.

Speaking of prey, E. rowelli is an opportunistic feeder that emerges during the night to feed, as there is more moisture in the air then. Once their prey is trapped, they bite into the skin and suck out the fluids. Their prey of choice are termites.

An onychophorian as viewed from a ventral point of view.
An onychophorian as viewed from a ventral point of view.

external image onychophora19.jpgexternal image onychophora20.jpgexternal image onychophora21.jpg

E. rowelli has an unusual method of reproduction. The male places a spermatophore randomly onto the female's body, and the sperm is subsequently absorbed into the skin and into storage sites near the ovaries. The female is able to store the sperm of more than one male. This form of reproduction is called dermal haemocoelic reproduction. The eggs then develop in the uterus over a period of 30 weeks.

Sources:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1017/S0952836905007090/pdf
http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/action/non-marine-invertebrates/pubs/non-marine-invertebrates.pdf

Next Page
Return to Homepage

pdf