Peripatus, or velvet worms, are unusual animals of the forest floor. They are called ‘living fossils’ as they are remarkably unchanged from 500 million years ago.
Image courtesy of Windy Hill Sanctuary
They are also a ‘missing link’ for their similarity to both worms and insects. For this reason they attract much scientific interest—yet they are cryptic, reclusive and not well understood.
Apparent declines in populations as a result of habitat loss from development have led to more attention being focused on what can be done to protect them.
Source: Department of Conservation and licensed by greatbarrierisland.nz for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/