Story: Peripatus

Spitting glue

Spitting glue

Peripatus shoot a gluey substance accurately up to 7–8 centimetres from glands on their head. The glue is used for both attack and defence. Peripatus are opportunistic and scavenge if they can, as hunting takes up more energy. When hunting, they notice potential prey with their sensitive antennae, which are also chemically responsive. Once a victim is caught in the glue, it is punctured by the worm’s jaws, which then pump saliva into the body cavity. The worm then sucks out its victim’s liquidised innards.

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Photograph by Dianne Gleeson

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How to cite this page:

Paddy Ryan, 'Peripatus - Ecology', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/13265/spitting-glue (accessed 23 October 2019)

Story by Paddy Ryan, published 24 Sep 2007