Definition of Onychophora in English:


plural noun

  • A small phylum of terrestrial invertebrates commonly known as velvet worms. 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For example, the Onychophora possess 20 or so pairs of identical walking legs.’
    • ‘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.’


Modern Latin (plural), from Greek onux, onukh- nail, claw + -phoros bearing.