New worm discovered here is getting international attention

An official at the Universidad Estatal a Distancia and two colleagues have discovered a new predatory worm that throws a net over its prey, and their find is getting international attention.

The researchers are Julián Monge Nájera, vice rector of research at the university, Bernal Morera Brenes of the Museo de Zoología of the Universidad de Costa Rica and Alejandro Solórzano López, a biologist and specialist at INBio Parque.

The worms are commonly known as onychophorans, or velvet worms. The new specimen, one of at least 25 at the
location in the Caribbean at Río Blanco de Liverpool, is 22 centimeters long. That’s about 8.6 inches. The initial report of the discovery was published in English last December in the Revista de Biología Tropical of the Universidad de Costa Rica.

Based on the article, an international organization, the International Institute for Species Exploration at the University of Arizona, has listed the find as one of the 10 new species in the world, the Universidad Estatal a Distancia said.

The new species is designated Peripatus solorzanoi, sp.nov. The worm seeks out prey with its antenna and then casts a sticky stream of filaments to capture its meal.

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