IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

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Biology

Velvet worms are voracious and active carnivores, feasting on other small invertebrates such as termites, woodlice, small spiders and small molluscs (3) (7). These animals are largely nocturnal and have an interesting and unusual hunting technique (5). To capture their prey, these worms squirt a sticky white liquid from their oral tubes, which entangles their quarry (3) (7). Digestive juices are then secreted into the prey's body, and partially-digested tissue is sucked up (5). The sticky slime is also squirted at potential predators in self-defence, giving the velvet worm more time to escape (3) (7). Female pink velvet worms give birth to live young, which are known to be carried and develop in a uterus for several months (2). Indeed, for other members of the family in South Africa, gestation is approximately 12 to 13 months (1). About 30 young are thought to be produced each year, which resemble adults (2). Although little is known of the life history of the pink velvet worm, other Peripatopsidae reach sexual maturity at 9 to 11 months and the life span is about six to seven years (1).

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Source: ARKive

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