Onycophora!

I’ve heard that onycophorans¬†(Velvet worms) occur at Las Cruces, but I’ve never seen one. These organisms are likely sister to Arthropods—they have an outer cuticle that they shed to grow, are segmented, and many appendages with varying specialization… but their appendages aren’t articulated. They’re predators, shooting slime at prey and gnawing on them with a bizarre, circular mouth. Oddly, they also look cuddly—they’re like teddy bears with 50 legs!

This makes a new PHYLUM of animals for me. The specimen was found in a litter grab by Cristian and his students.