Creature Feature


Velvet worms (onchyophora) are a phylum of long, worm-like animals. They are named after their soft velvety bodies and long lengths. They are highly effective nocturnal ambush predators, known for using a sticky slime substance to capture prey! They emerged about 500 million years ago, and have remained mostly unchanged since. (like horseshoe crabs!)

  • Class N/A
  • Diet Carnivore
  • Length 0.1-22cm (0.04-8.7in)
  • Weight 0.03-6g (0.001-0.2oz)
  • Status Endangered
  • Environment Rainforests, grasslands, caves, other dark humid environments
  • Health 40/150
  • Attack 120/150
  • Defense 40/150
  • Speed 1/150
  • Abilities Slime, sharp claws & teeth
  • Weaknesses Spiders, centipedes, rodents, birds, snakes
I'm surprised there's not a Pokemon of this guy yet.

Velvet worms are a primitive phylum of animals native to tropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere. They are panarthropods, meaning they are closely related to arthropods like insects and arachnids! They have long soft bodies, numerous legs, (or lobopods) two antennae, and two glands on either side of their head called "oral papillae", which they use to produce a slime-like substance to capture prey! They come in a variety of colours and sizes. There are around 200 described species of velvet worm, though there are likely many more that we haven't discovered!

Despite their appearances, velvet worms are voracious predators. Each leg has a set of two sharp retractible claws, like a cat! This helps them grip onto surfaces. They also have mobile, sickle-like teeth that help them tear prey apart. They are nocturnal, meaning they hunt at nighttime. They are very slow, so they capture prey by ejecting a slime-like substance, similar to silly string, which hardens rapidly and prevents their prey from escaping. Once their prey is ensnared, they inject it with digestive enzymes and consume the kind of "smoothie" that results from it. They mostly eat insects, arachnids, and other small arthropods.

Since they cannot control their water loss, velvet worms can live only in humid and dark environments. They favour rainforests and caves; hiding in leaf litter, rotten logs, under stones, and anywhere else they find comfortable. Velvet worms are considered endangered due to the destruction of their natural habitats by human intervention. Deforestation, frequent agricultural burns, and industrialization are their main threats.

Despite their small sizes, velvet worms show relatively high intelligence. Some velvet worms are solitary, while others are very social, forming pack-like hierarchies. Gregarious velvet worms share homes, hunt, and maintain hierarchies with other velvet worms. They battle each other for higher ranks and communicate through dominant and submissive behaviours. Most packs are matriarchal, meaning the dominant female holds the most power and will also eat first at kills. These groups are aggressive toward non-group members and help each other in hunting.

  • Sources and Attributions
  • - IMAGE: Uwe Schneehagen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • - Wikipedia contributors. "Onychophora." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Apr. 2024. Web. 30 Apr. 2024.
  • - Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "velvet worm". Encyclopedia Britannica, 26 Jun. 2006, Accessed 30 April 2024.
  • - Wright, J. 2014. "Onychophora" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 30, 2024 at
  • - Onychophora Website, Accessed 30 Apr. 2024.
  • - My awesome fucking brain

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