The organization and evolutionary implications of neuropils and their neurons in the brain of the onychophoran Euperipatoides rowelli

Nicholas J Strausfeld, Camilla Mok Strausfeld, Sally Stowe, David Rowell, Rudi Loesel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Scopus citations


This account describes the organization of the brain of the adult Euperipatoides rowelli, a member of the Onychophora or "velvet worms." The present account identifies three cerebral divisions, the first of which contains primary olfactory neuropils, visual neuropils, and brain regions that correspond anatomically to the mushroom bodies of annelids, chelicerates, myriapods, and insects. In common with the brains of many chelicerates, the onychophoran brain is supplied by many thousands of uniformly small basophilic perikarya. Other chelicerate-like features include mushroom body lobes that extend across the brain's midline, an unpaired arch-shaped midline neuropil, and visual pathways that supply midline neuropil and that of the mushroom bodies. These and other similarities with chelicerate brains are discussed in the context of arthropod evolution and with reference to recent molecular phylogenies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-196
Number of pages28
JournalArthropod Structure and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006



  • Arthropod evolution
  • Brain segmentation
  • Mushroom bodies
  • Visual system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Developmental Biology

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