This Worm Is Nature’s Gunslinger

You’ve been slimed! Alternate title: Spider-Man looks different in person.

Are we absolutely certain Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and not a radioactive velvet worm?

The velvet worm (‪Onychophora‬) can be found living in many parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, Maylasia, India, Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. A nocturnal species, velvet worms haven’t exactly been a household name, until now.

2. Look at this evolutionary insanity!

Shooting it up to three feet, the velvet worm spits a natural glue onto prey, trapping them underneath a sticky net with the old “spray and pray” standby. The rotation of the slime guns arcs the glue out in a lasso for maximum coverage. The glue dries within seconds, and any unlucky insect snared by it waits to be sucked dry.

Without eyes, the velvet worm hunts by sensing chemical changes in the air, much like “spider-sense.” After downing its target, the worm rolls over using pneumatically inflated valves where it should have muscles, inflating and deflating its legs like an organic piston.

Humans should count themselves lucky the segmented worm grows upwards of only 7.8 inches, and hope science never decides the world needs giant adhesive-gun-wielding worms armed with knife-like jaws.

6. Skip to 2:00 for the velvet worm.

Or don’t, because honestly the archerfish is pretty badass too.

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