distribution.pngexternal image velvet+worm.jpg

O. roseus a pink Peripatopsid found exclusively in the Ngele Forest in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. They are colloquially known as pink velvet worms. They have 18 pairs of legs going down the length of their body, as well as water repellant papillae, which they use as sensory organs in order to taste and smell.

O. roseus is nocturnal and carnivorous. They feed on mites, small spiders and mollusks. They immobilize their prey with a sticky substance. They then bite their prey in order to inject a digestive fluid to help to break down the tissue. Once the flesh has been partially digested, they eat it.

The species is known to be viviparous, with the gestation period being somewhere between 12 to 13 months. Each female gives birth to approximately 30 offspring per mating season. The offspring resemble adults from birth, and do not have a larval stage. O. roseus most likely reaches sexual maturity sometime between 9 and 11 months, and can live for up to seven years.

For a long time, O. roseus was thought to be extinct. In 1996 however, they were rediscovered. Their habitat is largely threatened bogging, and their numbers have dwindled. They are now listed as being critically endangered. Efforts to preserve its habitat have been made, but an alarming amount of the Ngele Forest has been destroyed, leaving behind only small patches of the forest.


Sources:
http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/15389/0#
http://www.arkive.org/pink-velvet-worm/opisthopatus-roseus/


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