Hymenaphorura nova was described by Pomorski (1990) from Polish material, and has been recorded several times since in Poland, Russia and Norway. It is invariably found in extremely wet situations, often subterranean, such as wells or waterlogged soils by rivers. The distinguishing feature of the genus is the lack of pseudocelli at the back of the head. By contrast, the anal spines are very well developed.
This species was found identified in the UK from hyporheic samples from the river Skirfare, in the Yorkshire karst lime stone country by Mark Dunscome in Novermber 2009, thereby adding a new genus to the UK list. Although the samples were collected by pumping water from 30cm below a river bed, enough Hymenaphorura nova turned up to suggest that this is a their natural habitat rather than a chance occurrence. The same sediments also produced several Anurida granaria, suggesting that at least these two species are living permanently submerged in these river sediments.
This was not the first collection of the species: Max Moseley collected one from Warton quarry in 1999, but it remained in a larger collection, labelled as "?Onychiurid?" until Peter Shaw checked it in 2012. Arne Fjellberg confirmed the ID of this 1999 specimen as Hymenaphorura, but the specimen was too fragile for him to rule out it being another species in this genus.