May 09, 2022

My notable observations and identifications

Notable observations

Notable identifications

Posted on May 09, 2022 22:59 by jameskdouch jameskdouch | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 06, 2022

Onychophora symbioses

  • Oroperipatus sp. (obs. 112910966) preyed upon by Cranaidae sp. (obs. 112911032), possibly Ventrivomer ancyrophorus
  • Oroperipatus sp. (obs. 141297555) preying upon Araneidae sp.
  • Peripatidae sp. (obs. 131625336) apparently preying upon Odonata sp.
  • Peripatoides novaezealandiae (obs. 24151797) preying upon Entomobryomorpha sp.
  • Peripatoides novaezealandiae (obs. 102432948) preying upon by something
  • Peripatoides novaezealandiae (obs. 105486552) preyed upon by Miotopus diversus (obs. 105417298)
  • Peripatoides novaezealandiae (obs. 142026561) preying upon / defending against Nuncia sp.
  • Peripatoides sympatrica (obs. 35829611) preying upon Uliodon albopunctatus (obs. 35829610)
  • Peripatopsidae sp. (obs. 116037687) apparently preying upon Lepidoptera sp.
  • Peripatopsidae sp. (obs. 130046716) captured in spiderweb
  • Peripatopsidae sp. (obs. 9833518) preying upon Acariformes sp.

Posted on May 06, 2022 00:46 by jameskdouch jameskdouch | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 18, 2022

Onychophora observation and identification guide

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This is a guide for making high-quality observations and identifications of members of the phylum Onychophora, commonly known as 'onychophorans', 'velvet worms', or (ambiguously) 'peripatus'.

  • Detection. Within suitable locations, Onychophora are usually found in one of three microhabitats: moist rotting logs, leaf litter, and under stones. A few are known from caves. Though typically still rare, Onychophora are thought to be most abundant in rainforest, but ironically, this habitat may be too suitable such that they disperse among the leaf litter and are difficult to find. Less suitable, slightly dryer forest forces Onychophora to concentrate in moist refugia such as rotting logs, reducing the search effort required to find them. Gloves will prevent bites when probing logs. Some people have had success searching exposed surfaces at night with a torch, when Onychophora emerge to feed.

  • Observation. Photograph the entire body in as high resolution as possible, from both dorsal and ventral perspectives, and photograph the microhabitat. The number of oncopod (leg) pairs, the precise arrangement of papillae on the dorsal surface of the head, and the presence / absence of glands on the ventral surfaces of the oncopods are particularly important for identification. Return the individual(s) and microhabitat to the state you found them, if possible.

  • Annotation. Note whether any individuals coiled upon disturbance, as some species typically do this and some typically do not, and note the number of cohabiting individuals. Use the Annotations section as best you can.

  • Identification errors to avoid. Peripatus was the first genus of Onychophora described. As a result, 'peripatus' (lowercase, unitalicised) became a common name for the whole phylum. Many genera have since been described, but unfortunately the common name 'peripatus' has stuck, leading many to the incorrect assumption that all Onychophora can be identified as the genus Peripatus. No true Peripatus species occur beyond central America. As an aside, I recommend avoiding 'peripatus' as a common name. If you want a common name, use 'velvet worms' or 'onychophorans' instead. In addition, do not uncritically accept Computer Vision suggestions, as they are often wrong.

  • Identification to family. Onychophora can be identified to family on the basis of location using this map (green = Peripatidae; red = Peripatopsidae). An exception is on Santa Cruz Is., Galápagos, where both a native, unidentified peripatid and an introduced peripatopsid (Peripatopsis capensis) occur – these can be distinguished by the number of oncopod pairs. P. capensis has 18, the peripatid has more. To see Onychophora observations needing identification to family: click here.

  • Identification to genus or species. Onychophora are narrow-range endemics, so for identification below family, the locality should be compared to the type localities of described species. The type localities of all species described as of 2012 are listed by Oliveira et al. (2012). If the locality is near a type locality, it is good to then check the original description for morphological consistency before making a narrower identification. This is especially true if multiple species are known from the same area, which is not unusual. If there are no nearby type localities and/or compelling morphological matches, avoid narrower identification. Future research will be needed in such localities to determine the taxonomic status of the local Onychophora. To see Onychophora observations needing identification to genus or species: click here.

  • Collection. Onychophora are typically rare, and so collection is generally discouraged. However, a collection may be appropriate if it would be both legal (consider: local invertebrate collection laws, national park laws, permits, IUCN-listed species) and beneficial to science. In such a case, if desired, I can provide advice on ideal preservation methods.

Posted on April 18, 2022 01:05 by jameskdouch jameskdouch | 8 comments | Leave a comment


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