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A small phylum of terrestrial invertebrates which comprises the velvet worms such as peripatus. They share characteristics with the arthropods and annelids, having a long, soft segmented body with stubby legs (lobopods).
- ‘Other ecdysozoan phyla include Nematoda, Tardigrada, and Onychophora; this classification thus removes onychophorans from the Arthropoda and makes them an outgroup.’
- ‘However, on both morphological and molecular grounds it seems that two groups that are sometimes given phylum rank, the Onychophora and the Tardigrada, are the closest living relatives of the arthropods.’
- ‘For example, the Onychophora possess 20 or so pairs of identical walking legs.’
- ‘Tardigrades, close relatives of Onychophora and Arthropoda, possess ornamented armored exoskeletons in high predation marine environments.’
- ‘Conversely it has been suggested note that the Onychophora are actually modified arthropods, rather than the other way around.’
Modern Latin (plural), from Greek onux, onukh- nail, claw + -phoros bearing.
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