In the Web of the Velvet Worm
I used to think that velvet worms were kind of cute. Living members of a very old lineage of multi-legged invertebrates – Onychophora, which stretches back over 505 million years to the underwater explosion of animal life during the Cambrian – they seemed like charming little critters that hid in the undergrowth. Then I saw how they consume their prey.
Hollywood monster makers could learn a thing or two from velvet worms. Though many species eat small insects, at least one Peripatus velvet worm was recently observed after snagging a tarantula. They are frighteningly formidable predators.
Scientists have been trying to pick up