Turkish Journal of Zoology




We characterize the trunk cuticle of velvet worms of the Peripatoides novaezealandiae-group (Onychophora) using SEM, TEM, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). TEM and SEM revealed a relatively uniform organization of the delicate cuticle that is covered by numerous bristled and nonbristled papillae with ribbed scales arranged in transverse rows. The cuticle consists of a very thin multilayered epicuticle of varying appearance followed by the largely fibrous procuticle. The irregularly arranged nanofibres of isolated cuticular chitin seen by SEM are considered as bundles of chitin fibres. FT-IR and TGA showed that the chitin is of the α-type. This confirms and broadens the single previous study in which the presence of α-chitin in a velvet worm was demonstrated with a single analysis (X-ray diffraction).

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