Today is my second synchro-blogging of the week! When Laelaps showed me the video that went with this paper, and explained the concept...I was HOOKED. We had to blog it. It's too good. It's too GROSS. Just you wait. So we HAVE blogged it, and when you're done reading this, go over to Laelaps and read his take on this...this grossness.
We've all got different ways of tracking down our food and making sure it sits in one place while we eat it. Some take the slightly easier route and eat plants (only slightly, they may not be able to move, but they've got other methods to make sure you don't eat them). Some species run their food down, some bite and poison, some descend on it from above. Some snag it in a web. And then there are those that use their glue guns.
May I introduce you to the VELVET WORM.
Sci has to say those things give me the crawling heebie-jeebies. All those little LEGS, and the crawling, and...ewwwww.
Velvet worms (Onychophora) are OLD. They were one of the first groups of animals to come on land, and have been crawling in that super creepy way over the ground for the past 500 MILLION YEARS. Must be a pretty effective model. They're not insects, really, when they are placed in evolutionary trees, they are often wedged between the arthopods (insects), and the annelids (worms). And well, that's basically what they look like, right?
But what's really interesting about these dudes is that they are carnivores. And they have a REALLY weird way of capturing prey.
Haritos et al "Harnessing disorder: onychophorans use highly unstructured proteins, not silks, for prey capture" Proceedings of the royal society B, 2010.
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