Wonderful: A New Glue Spitting Velvet Worm Discovered

August 28, 2013


I'm going to be honest, I didn't know there were OLD glue spitting velvet worms we'd already discovered. And you know what? The world seemed like a better place when I didn't. Now the storm clouds are rolling in and it looks like I'm in for 40 days and 40 nights of rain. "I'M GONNA DROWN YOU." Heck yeah, God! Just drag me to the bottom of the gene pool by my water wings.

The new species, Eoperipatus totoros, is the first velvet worm to be described from Vietnam, said Georg Mayer, a co-author and researcher at the University of Leipzig.

Unlike arthropods (a huge group of animals that includes ants and spiders), velvet worms lack hard exoskeletons. Instead their bodies are fluid-filled, covered in a thin skin and kept rigid by pressurized liquid. This hydrostatic pressure allows them to walk, albeit very slowly, on fluid-filled, stubby legs that lack joints.

Their slowness works to their advantage. To hunt, they sneak up on other insects or invertebrates. And that's when the sliming begins -- velvet worms like the newfound species hunt by spraying a "net of glue" onto their prey from two appendages on their backs, Oliveira said. This nasty material consists of a mix of proteins that impedes movement. "The more the prey moves, the more it gets entangled," he said.

When reached for comment about the new species, the hookah smoking caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland had this to say, "Why are you asking me -- I'm a caterpillar, not a worm. You came hoping I'd get you stoned, didn't you?" Maybe. "Be honest." I just wanna get really high then fight some of those playing cards!

Thanks to beckyfever and Pyrblaze, who informed me you catch more flies with glue than with rubber cement. GOOD TO KNOW.

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