Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Brazilian species of Onychophora with notes on their taxonomy and distribution

Sampaio-Costa, CristianoChagas-Junior, AmazonasL. C. Baptista, Renner

A revision of the currently known distribution of Onychophora (velvet worms) in Brazil is presented. Twenty-four morphospecies (half of them undescribed) belonging to four genera of the Peripatidae (Peripatus Guilding, 1826, Epiperipatus Clark, 1913, Macroperipatus Clark, 1913 and Oroperipatus Cockerell, 1908) are recorded. This high number of "unidentified" morphospecies is due to three major reasons: the poor quality of the characters used in species-level identification, the inadequate specimen conservation in ethanol, and, in most cases, the lack of additional specimens for analysis of intra- and inter-specific variation. The morphological characters currently used to separate Peripatidae species present a large degree of variation and may not be sufficient to allow accurate identification. There are records of these animals from 16 states, located in four political regions of the country (North, Center-West, Northeast and Southeast). Oroperipatus balzani is recorded for the first time from Brazil. The southernmost record for Onychophora is Itacuruçá island, Mangaratiba, Rio de Janeiro State (E. edwardsii) and the northernmost is Vila Tepequém, Amajari, Roraima State (Epiperipatus sp. 4). Considering the large territorial area of Brazil and the paucity of localities where Onychophora have been collected, we may expect a total diversity of these animals much larger than the currently known one.

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