Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography

Review of the Peripatopsidae (Onychophora) in Australia, with comments on peripatopsid relationships

AL Reid

Invertebrate Taxonomy 10(4) 663 - 936
Published: 1996


The Peripatopsidae (Onychophora) are analysed by cladistic techniques. In all, 64 taxa, including 41 new Australian species, are included, and 369 character states are studied for these taxa; 36 genera are recognised, 22 of which are new from Australia. New species are described and redescriptions provided for the 13 Australian taxa recognised prior to the present study. A neotype is designated for Euperipatoides leuckartii (Saenger, 1869) and a lectotype is designated for Ooperipatus oviparus (Dendy, 1895). The phylogenetic relationships of the genera and a selection of characters used in the phylogenetic analyses are discussed. The results indicate that the Australian Peripatopsidae may not be monophyletic. The historical biogeography of the Peripatopsidae appears consistent with current geological theories of continental breakup and climate change, with the oldest elements of the fauna confined to Tasmania and south-eastern mainland Australia, regions that retain affinity with taxa from South America, South Africa and New Zealand. The evolution of some important characters is discussed in relation to these events. Ovoviviparity appears to be the ancestral state in the Onychophora, with oviparity arising in at least two Australian lineages. In eastern Australia there has been a dramatic radiation of species, many exhibiting unusual modifications of the head and its papillae.

© CSIRO 1996

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