Annual General Meeting

Tuesday, 13 February 2018 at 7.30 pm
Australian Museum


Noel Tait: If It Were Not For Velvet Worms There Be No Need For Entomologists

Onychophora is a small phylum of maybe 180 species. They are commonly referred to as peripatus, or velvet worms due to the texture of their skin.

Velvet worms are of significance in evolutionary studies, being widely considered as the sister group to arthropods. Their distribution is confined to land masses derived from the break up of Gondwana where they are all terrestrial but confined to moist microhabitats. They have a fascinating variety of reproductive strategies and famously catch their prey by shooting out jets of sticky slime.

The wonderful thing about velvet worms is that they are among the most elegant of all creatures and it gives me great pleasure to introduce them to others whenever I get the opportunity. I have always been fascinated by onychophorans since I was introduced to a living one in my undergraduate biology class in the late 1950’s. I did not begin research on them until 1980 but I have made up for this and they have remained my sole research interest until and beyond retirement in 2006. What a privilege!!!

** Also Show and Tell, and refreshments after the talk ***

PLEASE NOTE: Access to the building for the meeting is via the steps from William Street. If you require step-free access please phone Helen Smith on 0448 560 255 or Graham Owen on 0418 971 458, preferably PRIOR to the night.