News24

Cape experts find new worm species

2012-07-09 14:15

Cape Town - A research group at Stellenbosch University has described two new velvet worm species in the Western Cape.

The group led by Professor Savel R Daniels of the Department of Botany and Zoology at Stellenbosch University found significant differences in the make-up of the worm species that qualifies them as a new species.

The worms live in rotten logs and are difficult to find. Joint researcher Hilke Ruhberg and as well as other researchers had previously identified unique species in Australia, Zealand and Brazil but the species found in the Cape is distinct.

"The Cape Peninsula, and specifically Rhodes Memorial, represents the type locality of P capensis. However, since all the Cape Peninsula samples, including samples from Rhodes Memorial formed a single distinct, statistically well-supported clade [group consisting of a species], all samples in this clade are referred to as P capensis," the researchers wrote in Zootaxa.

The researchers collected the samples of the velvet worms (Onychophora) from the environment for study as well as from the Iziko Museum of Cape Town for comparison.

The samples were then studied with a scanning electron microscope to determine unique features. They were also labelled with the GPS co-ordinates of where they were found to ensure that the researchers could trace the environment.

The data was confirmed by DNA analysis by researchers at Stellenbosch University.

The velvet worm is a critical indicator of ecosystems health and are nocturnal, preying on small insects as part of the food chain.

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Here's a YouTube video on velvet worms:


Comments
  • des.cider - 2012-07-09 15:50

    This is wonderful news indeed, but I thought I saw similar creatures crawling in and out of parliament recently.

      vambozha.mutemi - 2012-07-09 15:57

      yeah and this one lives in rotten buildings but easy to find though

      fanie.gerber1972 - 2012-07-09 16:02

      Good news Indeed Des the ones seen in parliament are the annelidae VUlLGARIS africanus or 'kommin' please note the spelling ;-) worm

      SaleƩ - 2012-07-09 17:38

      Hehehe des.cider what's wrong with you? :-)

      gawie.vandermerwe.7 - 2012-07-09 18:55

      But they are not velvet worms, more like voluptuous. )

      stef.augustyn - 2012-07-10 08:52

      Ja maybe they can name this one Zumantis Penialis...

      boer.afrikaner - 2012-07-26 00:50

      The worm spesies are in Jacob Zumas brain thats why he cant think clear.

  • kelly.dini - 2012-07-09 16:48

    Too cute! :-) I want one! :-D

  • kelly.dini - 2012-07-09 16:51

    Too cute! :-) I want one! :-D

  • trevor.pietersen.3 - 2012-07-09 17:00

    "Velvet Worm".... must be "smooth" operators from parliament

  • thobejane.thabo - 2012-07-09 20:54

    i just hope they are not cuming from space

      Ronnie - 2012-07-10 11:36

      @thobejane, check your spelling. It is a different meaning, or is it really what you mean?

  • ec.dp.9 - 2012-07-10 06:45

    Immediately upon reading the headline, I thought of our own Dear Malema......

  • Noosy2 - 2012-08-21 07:04

    Not one single intelligent comment here...

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