A small phylum of terrestrial invertebrates commonly known as velvet worms. They share characteristics with the arthropods and annelids, having a long soft segmented body with stubby legs (lobopods).
- Other ecdysozoan phyla include Nematoda, Tardigrada, and Onychophora; this classification thus removes onychophorans from the Arthropoda and makes them an outgroup.
- However, on both morphological and molecular grounds it seems that two groups that are sometimes given phylum rank, the Onychophora and the Tardigrada, are the closest living relatives of the arthropods.
- Tardigrades, close relatives of Onychophora and Arthropoda, possess ornamented armored exoskeletons in high predation marine environments.
Modern Latin (plural), from Greek onux, onukh- 'nail, claw' + -phoros 'bearing'.
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