Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

What do we really know about how velvet worms mate?
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genital opening
vaginal or skin insemination
fertilization by undesirable males
apertura genital
inseminación vaginal o por la piel
fecundación por machos indeseables

How to Cite

Monge, J. (2019). What do we really know about how velvet worms mate?. Revista De Biología Tropical, (1), Darwin. Retrieved from


After more than a century of studying a phylum that has over 200 species, we only have three reports of the mating itself. Insemination can occur vaginally or through the skin, and it is suspected that the male simply places its genital opening against the vulva and inserts the spermatophore. However, in the particular case of a few Australian onychophorans, males insert it with a specialized head structure, and the spermatophore also serves as a vaginal plug, preventing insemination by other males.

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Monge-Nájera, J., Barquero-González, P., & Morera-Brenes, B. (2019a). The persistent embrace of onychophorans: What determines copulation duration in velvet worms? Darwin In Memorian Column. Retrieved from

Monge-Nájera, J., Barquero-González, P., & Morera-Brenes, B. (2019b). Why do some Australian onychophorans have fantastic heads? Darwin In Memorian Column. Retrieved from

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