Demmmmy is the creator of planet Fentil, an Earth-like planet of higher gravity and thicker air. It is the flora of planet Fentil I am most enamored with. There are plants that grow at the top, creating gigantic basket-like structures. There are plants whose seeds conveniently burrow themselves into the ground. There are plants that breathe. There is good fauna, too. There are the complex skeletons of the Dystroma and the complex vascular systems of the Photonimals. They are both highly creative and surprisingly plausible.
Written by Daniel Noe, Champion Of The Galaxy
Ectoran weeds are multicellular, photosynthetic organisms common in the reefs whose cells contain green and purple chloroplasts. This gives them a dark, grey-blue color. Some weeds are small, soft-skinned, and ruffled in order to better exchange dissolved nutrients. On the other hand, most are large and have thick, tough skins to deter herbivores. To exchange nutrients, they have a vascular system that includes blood, heart(s), and gills distinct from the light-gathering leaves (if any). Cells throughout the body freely detach and ride through the bloodstream, soak up the nutrients they need in the gills, storing them in vacuoles, again ride through the bloodstream, and finally take the place of another cell with depleted vacuoles. Often, the blood pathways will change position the same way rivers erode one bank and build up another. Gas in the vacuoles in each cell is what makes most weeds so buoyant.
A creature that must cooperate in order to feed is the tug worm. Tug worms hide in burrows in the reef waiting for large false fish to pass close by. When one comes within range, they launch outward and insert their dual, sharp-tipped, jointed, silicon carbide tentacles through the flesh and wrap them around the bones of the animal. The tug worms have forward-facing hairs on their bodies that keep them firm in their tight burrows, which are lined with their own cement-like feces for a perfect fit, but an individual tug worm can still be ripped out (or apart) by strong prey. To capture large prey, three to twenty worms must have burrows near each other and work together.
Some animals grow thick, pointy shells to deter predators. Thorny crabs not only have thorns, but have numerous pincers that remain tightly shut unless they make an effort to open them. Since they do not need all of them, since they break off so easily, and since they grow back, the thorny crabs go around selling them to beps to use in surgery. They will often accept a week’s worth of food as payment. Sometimes the beps give them packets of high calorie false fish fat.
Stabbing crabs are reef predators of planet Ectora that run along the bottom looking for smaller animals to stab with their back legs or grab in their foreclaws.
Septastomates are hermaphrodites and have a very interesting means of mating. On the front end, each septastomate has seven, straight, rigid “straws” arranged in a ring around the male organ. The female organ is located on the back end. Unable to remove the spermatophore from “his” own organ, a partner must reach in with “her” straw-manipulators to pull it out before passing it back to “him” in his own manipulators in order to place it in “her” rear female organ. Sometimes, a third septastomate will pass it along instead and they will take turns inseminating each other. Septastomates live in groups of ten to one hundred where every individual may freely mate with any other and there is no competition. To reduce inbreeding, individuals are often exchanged when groups meet.
The seven straw-manipulators are hollow and open at the end in order to suck up food, but catching food this way is difficult. Instead, they usually grab smaller animals in the manipulators that will escape if they let go. Other septastomates in the group must take these morsels and feed them. Sometimes they grab animals or plants too large to swallow and others must help to break them up into bite-sized pieces. They must cooperate in order to eat or mate. An individual without a group will starve amidst plenty.
There are many families of these strange creatures. Some are straight and fish-like. Others are curled up like snail shells. Unlike false fish, septastomates lack swim bladders so they must constantly flap their ventral fins to keep afloat. Some have “kickstands” for when they rest on the bottom.
Tapejara is the creator of not one, but six worlds, including Tunjera, Adam, Eve, Lyell-3, Toci-1, and Midgard. They are currently all unfinished but all have huge potential. The animals are very creative. Planet Adam is home to “fish” with large ventral “mouth-bodies” attached only by a narrow tube containing the esophagus. Planet Eve is home to completely armored creatures whose only openings (the mouth and anus) are both located in the head. Some are colonial. Toci-1 is home to animals with chain-link ribcages, helical muscles, and specialized organs capable of regenerating any damaged tissue anywhere in the body – as if all the stem cells were in one place.
Abiogenisis is a mind-blowingly good artist in general but especially of alien sea life. My favorites are the swordswallower, bushwacker, cloakmouth, and antlerworm. I hope these eventually get organized together in an Expedition-style book someday.
Avancna is the creator of planet Tlaquanaru. Although the map proves it is certainly not Earth, the animals are eerily similar to those of our world. There are what appear to be descendants of iguanas, birds, moths, and very many fish. My favorites are the rolling echinoderms and the rotifer-cephalopod-creatures that drop pom-poms full of ammonia to deter predators.
Row bugs sometimes resemble pill bugs or sow bugs from Earth except that they have four rows of legs instead of two, each leg ending in grasping fingers. Some can grow as long as three meters. To eat, they grasp food in their fingers and bring it up to the mouth. Since their legs hold their bodies so high above the reef, the predatory tug worms cannot reach them except for the legs. If a row bug happens to step in a tug worm nest while grazing, it simply detaches the affected leg and lets the tug worms have it. Row bugs have so many legs, they rarely miss any.
The species of row bug depicted in the diagram has twenty-four legs. Only the frontmost four are shown. This species has longer fingers than most. It has four backbones (one for each row of legs), two mouths, and two digestive tracts. The green spots are ears. They connect to ganglia at the anterior ends of the outer two backbones.