New Zealand velvet worms


Peripatus are more commonly known as 'velvet worms' - they are secretive, caterpillar-like animals with a soft body that is velvety in appearance, There are several species of peripatus in New Zealand and the individuals shown here all belong to the same species, Peripatoides novaezealandiae. Images are copyright of Maria Minor and Alastair Robertson. Visit SoilBugs Terms and Conditions for terms of use.


Velvet worms can be found in damp and secluded habitats, like under stones, in rotting wood, under the bark of fallen logs, in leaf litter and most often in native forests.

Research connection

Dr. Maria Minor (Ecology Group, Institute of Agriculture & Environment) studies many aspects of ecology, including the life habits of invertebrate animals that live in soil and leaf litter - Soil Bugs! Learn all about this hidden world at the Soilbugs website.


Dr. Steve Trewick studies evolution of New Zealand peripatus in the Ecology Group at the Institute of Agriculture & Environment.

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