Definition of onychophoran in US English:



  • A terrestrial invertebrate of the small phylum Onychophora; a velvet worm.

    • ‘Whilst true arthropods, tardigrades and onychophorans are highly differentiated in form today, such was not always the case.’
    • ‘The fossil is not very different from living onychophorans.’
    • ‘All of these Cambrian forms differed from living onychophorans in being marine.’
    • ‘Similarly, onychophorans have been used in developmental studies of the evolution of appendages and of body segmentation.’
    • ‘A number of fossils from the Cambrian have been described which look more or less like onychophorans.’


  • Relating to or denoting onychophorans.

    • ‘In that time, the first undoubted fossil annelids, arthropods, brachiopods, echinoderms, molluscs, onychophorans, poriferans, and priapulids show up in rocks all over the world.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the absence of engrailed expression in the onychophoran ectoderm makes more sense in the context of a skeleton bounding function rather than a general segmentation program.’
    • ‘The limb staining suggests shared ancestry of the onychophoran and arthropod limbs.’
    • ‘The two onychophoran taxa plot centrally, as do the two Marellomorphs.’
    • ‘Other organisms placed in the Ecdysozoa include kinorhynchs, priapulids, nematomorphs, onychophorans and tardigrades.’