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Dave Randle - protector of Peripatus - an ancient critter that is found in old forest and is sometimes called the Velvet Worm...but it's not a worm!

Living Fossils

Karthic SS and Dave Randle —

When the State Highway 1 in Dunedin expanded, a strange resident sprang into the spotlight... 'Living Fossils' follows Dave Randle on his efforts to protect an ancient crawling creature- the Peripatus- the first animals to walk on land.

Living Fossils - Peripatus | Short Film | Wildlife Conservation | Velvet Worms Karthic SS

Produced on assignment for The Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago and written, filmed, and edited by Karthic SS.

We acknowledge that "Peripatus" is pronounced differently in this video. It is actually pronounced as pe·rip·a·tus| \ pə-ˈri-pə-təs"

We want to share this film because Karthic has captured  Dave Randle's enthusiasm for Peripatus, or as Dave prefers to call them, Onychophora.

Peripatus is the common name for Onychophora,(pronounced ON E COUGH AURA). Onychophora comes from the Greek language, and means "claw-bearer", in reference to the claws that all these animals have on the ends of their (many!) feet.    — Image by: Rod Morris

Dave knows so much about this creature that some call "the velvet worm"....but its not a worm, it has its own zoological Phylum - meaning it truly is a unique ancient species.

"It is amazing where Onychophora can persist. Not only in vegetative matter - old stumps and logs of trees, deep leaf litter etc., but also under rocks, stones, in rubbish dumps, plastic bags etc. etc! They will adapt to virtually any suitable moisture-controlled environment, and will persist there as long as there is sufficient forage-habitat (ie enough other invertebrates to keep them nourished). One of their favourite prey-items are SPIDERS! They will hunt down, stick down, and ingest spiders much bigger than themselves! "    Dave Randle

You can also hear Dave on the Wild Dunedin Podcast - "The Small Things'