Nearly all onychophorans are nocturnal carnivores that prey on small invertebrates such as snails, worms, termites, and other insects, which they pursue into cracks and crevices. Onychophora hunt by shooting twin streams of a rapidly hardening adhesive slime up to 30 cm to entangle their prey, as can be seen here. The jaws are used to grasp and cut up prey, which are partially digested by salivary secretions before the remaining semiliquid tissues are sucked into the mouth. (Brusca and Brusca 2003)
Barclay et al. (2000) showed that the males of the onychophoran Euperipatoides rowelli secrete a pheromone which acts as an attractant to both males and females of the species. Based on their studies of patterns of colonization of decomposing logs and differences in sex ratio between incipient versus established populations, the authors concluded that males are the initial dispersers and colonizers, finding suitable log habitats in an exploratory fashion, while females subsequently colonize logs. This results in a disproportionately high frequency of males in newly colonized logs, followed by a gradual increase in female proportion.
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