Taxonomic Notes on Mesoperipatus tholloni (Onychophora: Peripatidae), an Elusive Velvet Worm from Gabon


The velvet worm Mesoperipatus tholloni (Bouvier, 1898) is among the least understood of the velvet worms, the only species in the genus Mesoperipatus Evans, 1901, and the only African Peripatidae. Despite its biogeographic and phylogenetic uniqueness, originally thought to be an intermediate between Peripatidae and Peripatopsidae, little work has been published since its original treatment in a series of papers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Here, we provide a redescription of this species based on new material collected during a 2009 Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) expedition to Gabon and examination of historical material from the original collections lodged at the MCZ and the Museu de Zoologia, Universidade de São Paulo (MZUSP). We also provide the first scanning electron micrographs of this species.

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