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The Plushy, Squishy Velvet Worm

The Velvet Worm (Onychophora) looks like a plush toy. It looks squishy. And it's darn cute. Our night would've been a dull walk had it not been for the sighting of this beautiful multi-legged worm. When we approached, it ejaculated squirted at us. What? I've known the velvet worm to squirt slime at it's prey but this was the first time seeing it, and it has already given us a special welcome gift!

The Velvet Worm is armed with a pair of slime-guns, which are actually their front limbs. The slime squirts off the guns as gooey streams of liquid, normally directed at prey to ensnare them. Quite magically, this biological glue is supposed to harden into a gel almost immediately upon contact with the prey. Apparently, it would eat back the slime after the squirt. No wastage there! Such tactics reminds me of... the Spitting Spider (Scytodiidae) which also spits venom at their prey.

    Velvet Worm (Eoperipatus sumatranus?) - DSC_0975
  1. Record shot of the Velvet Worm, possibly Eoperipatus sumatranus which has been recorded in Singapore. It is also listed in the Singapore Red Data Book as endangered. Notice the stream of goo streaking down from the head, that was remnants of the slime!

  2. Velvet Worm (Eoperipatus sumatranus?) - DSC_0900
  3. Close up on the Velvet Worm's head. Utter cuteness!

  4. Velvet Worm (Eoperipatus sumatranus?) - DSC_0903
  5. The squishy looking and seemlingly jointless legs resembles the limbs of a plush toy!

  6. Velvet Worm (Eoperipatus sumatranus?) - DSC_0906
  7. Front view of the Velvet Worm. Say hallooo!

  8. Velvet Worm (Eoperipatus sumatranus?) - DSC_0920
  9. Mr Squishy was feeling agitated, so we let it climb onto the stick where it felt more comfortable and stayed still.

  10. Velvet Worm (Eoperipatus sumatranus?) - DSC_0927
  11. Oh those legs...

  12. Velvet Worm (Eoperipatus sumatranus?) - DSC_0938
  13. Close up of the underside of the Velvet Worm

  14. Velvet Worm (Eoperipatus sumatranus?) - DSC_0939
  15. Before we placed it back on the tree trunk, it finally decided to move yooo.

  16. Velvet Worm (Eoperipatus sumatranus?) - DSC_0942
  17. This is out of focus, but just had a comical effect

  18. Here's a video from Youtube which shows the craziest squirt from a velvet worm!

    As mentioned at the start of the post, the night was rather dull. BUT.. what's dull to me might be of interest to some of you so here they are!

    Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_0716
  19. Tiny little Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) from the leaf litter

  20. Four-Lined Tree Frogs (Polypedates leucomystax) - DSC_0764
  21. Ben found this pair of mating Four-Lined Tree Frogs (Polypedates leucomystax) in the middle of the path.

  22. Four-Lined Tree Frogs (Polypedates leucomystax) - DSC_0773
  23. I struggled to take pictures of it, as my extension tube decided to lose connection at the last minute. :(

  24. Four-Lined Tree Frogs (Polypedates leucomystax) - DSC_0784
  25. We did make an interesting discovery though. The eyes of the Four-Lined Tree Frogs (Polypedates leucomystax) would fluoresce under ultraviolet light!! (Thanks to Melvyn again for shining UV at everything we saw) I didn't get to take pictures of that as the horny duo jumped off soon after, but it was really creepy. Definitely in my to-do list!

  26. Orb Web Spider (Araneidae) - DSC_0795
  27. Found a number of these Orb Web Spiders (Zygiella sp.)

  28. Orb Web Spider (Araneidae) - DSC_0802
  29. View of the eyes of the Orb Web Spider (Zygiella sp.)

  30. Orb Web Spider (Araneidae) - DSC_0804
  31. Dorsal view, actually the first angle for identification

  32. Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae) - DSC_0809
  33. Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae), quite a small one

  34. Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae) - DSC_0812
  35. Check out it's eye arrangement!

  36. Archduke larva (Lexias pardalis dirteana) - DSC_0817
  37. Found an Archduke larva (Lexias pardalis dirteana). I often called such cats the Christmas Caterpillar.

  38. Skull-Faced Caterpillar - DSC_0849
  39. Found another Skull-Faced Caterpillar, struggling to climb up the branch.

  40. Orb Web Spider (Araneidae) - DSC_0850
  41. Another Orb Web Spider (Gea sp.), a lovely male!

  42. Orb Web Spider (Araneidae) - DSC_0869
  43. The Orb Web Spider (Gea sp.) tried to balloon away.

  44. Ground Spider (Zodariidae) - DSC_0873
  45. Another Ground Spider (Zodariidae). Apparently the Zodariids here like to rest on tree trunks.

  46. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_0894
  47. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) with exceptional appendages on it's legs.

  48. Jumping Bristletail (Machilidae) - DSC_0896
  49. Jumping Bristletail (Machilidae), often ignored but spectacular up close

  50. Jumping Bristletail (Machilidae) - DSC_0965
  51. Check out the eyes!

  52. Sac Spider (Clubionidae) - DSC_0959
  53. A common but small Sac Spider (Clubionidae)

  54. Sac Spider (Clubionidae) - DSC_0961
  55. This Sac Spider (Clubionidae) has 6 eyes in the bottom row.

  56. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_0755
  57. Found an interestingly large Jumping Spider (Salticidae)

  58. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_0756
  59. The lateral eyes were actually quite big for a salticid!

  60. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_1014
  61. And... here's the classic face shot!

  62. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_1017
  63. Hair-raising view

  64. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_1024
  65. An obvious male. Pity that I did not take sharper pictures of the palps, which had some unique stripes on them.

The first part of this trip has been documented in the earlier post on the Ant-Snatching Assassin Bug. Do check that out too!

The complete album can be viewed here.

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Borneo Spiders: A Photographic Field Guide

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