NESLife VIII: The Next Generation

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Daftpanzer, Jun 8, 2021.

  1. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    Tallubester
    Evolved from: Tubester
    Evolution Bonus: +1 Gene
    Tubester Genes: 1x Filter Feeding, 1x Buoyancy, 1x Skeleton, 1x Roots
    Tallubester Genes: 2x Filter Feeding, 1x Buoyancy 1x Skeleton, 2x Armor (carapace?), 1x Roots
    Genes added: +1 Filter Feeding, +2 Armor

    Description: An evolution of the tubester with thick armor to help against predators. It stays with the filter feeding strategy, but now stays completely still when fully grown, being well-protected and feeding off the waters around it. To deter or even fully defend it from predators, it has evolved thick bony carapace around it, covering it in protection save for the perforating vents that allows it to feed. It may grow quite big at your discretion. Offspring resembling Blobsters occasionally bud off from the body, which eventually drift away before maturing and sinking to the seafloor. If the location is good, here they will grow into a new Tubester. (Last two sentences are from Tubester description, nothing changed here)

    Note: I'm not sure what to call this thing's armor. Carapace? It's not an exoskeleton since it's not something it can move. I was also considering dropping Buoyancy before realizing that it was necessary for its reproduction.

    Possible solution would be that the remove 2 add 1 (or whatever) would require some form of changes that make sense. Afaik, eyes were probably evolved by happenstance with a number of organs chaining together in certain protein formations, that then with evolution changed to become eyes (which happened independently a few different times in the same fashion). So a "free" switch is maybe a bit too much, while trade 2 for +1 related organ could work, if you want a system like this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
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  2. tuxedohamm

    tuxedohamm Disguised as crow.

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    Zoupa
    Evolved from: Fjordzord
    Genes Added: External Digestion, Water Retention
    Genes Removed:
    Description: Two of the Zoupa's tentacles have developed the ability to ooze digestive fluids. While the lifecycle remains similar to its Fjordzord ancestors, during low tides, Zoupas will continue to travel around to differing tide pools in large numbers, filling them with digestive enzymes that can be readily absorbed and slurped up. A thicker outer membrane allows them to survive longer out of coastal waters, increasing the short lifespan enough that on occasion Zoupas will expel excess spores instead of only spilling out upon death.

    Genes: 2x Tentacles, 1x Barbs, 1x Eyes, 1x Stomach, 1x External Digestion, 2x Water Retention, 1x Aquatic Spores
     
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  3. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Don't forget that there is already a reason to prune unnecessary genes, which is that there is a metabolic cost to maintaining traits that don't provide a benefit, so a species that is more streamlined than one that has a bunch of genes which don't provide it any immediate benefits!
     
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  4. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

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    Snitchyurt
    Genes Added:
    Hyphaex1, Colonial Growthx1
    Genes Removed: None
    Evolved from: Slinkyurt
    Description:
    As their tentacles became more independent, soon some of the small feeding cilia on the tentacles gain the capacity to grow and become fully formed Snitchyurts, eventually achieving many characteristics one may apply to hyphae. With this, many snitchyurts became to live two very separated lifestyles - one where they are rooted by their hyphae, with filter feeding tentacles spreading both into the seawater and into whatever flesh or sand they’re rooted in. And one where roving bundles of tentacles slink, sulk, thresh and consume their way into breeding amongst a nutrient soup, some resembling more an active fruiting body than a fully independent organism. Some snitchyurts even have detachable barbs, which once broken off inside of a victim began to grow hyphae tentacles into and out of their wounded food.

    Notes:
    Partially done to further muddle the Moldizord complex, partially because Murder Moss must exist!

    I see a there can be a wide variety of snitchyurts, from those that have symbiotic relationships with reef-like structures, to those that focus mostly on ambush predation, to those that are more parasite injectors. I see hyphaex1 to be able to service a wide variety of fiber needs.

    Colonial growth ala Mandreg means you can have franken-snitchyurts with a "parent" and dozens of "children" barbed tentacles threshing about before it finally breaks apart into a mess of tentacles, children, and nutrient soup. I also see this as covering hyphae-centric snitchyurts, where technically "childyurts" spawn from the tentacles of a "parentyurt" to spread the hyphae network further. Additionally, like the Mandreg, I assume colonial growth means sexual reproduction - how snitchysex works, I'll leave up to your imagination and to the fan artists.

    Also the life cycle may range from more mandrel-style multi-budding and traditional tentacle removal, to more exotic like barb-hyphae bundles, hyphae centric growth with tentacles only emerging as “mobile fruiting bodies”, or parents literally exploding into a nutrient soup for smaller snitchyurts to emerge and feed on (fjordzord style).

    And finally, regarding murdermoss - The explorer sees see a field of what seems to be peaceful filter feeders, and then they accidentally step on a tubester, the breaking skeleton letting out a *crack*. Suddenly, a cloud of barbs detatch from the sea floor, once peaceful undulating tentacles working themselves into a frenzy as they approached the hapless adventurer. Their diving suit stood no chance versus the thresher cloud, and soon they too became part of the nutrient soup.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
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  5. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    lots of zord evolutions this turn, yet more victims for the Flentablight.
     
  6. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

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    There is no cavity to breach, only 100% yurts and yurt accessories. You are but another component of the nutrient soup, to be threshed and filtered for the progeny.
     
  7. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer canonically ambiguous

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    @Angst, I think maybe 'Shell' would fit, but how do you imagine it feeding? Does it have the same 'holes' as its ancestors?

    @terrance, just to clarify, what species are you evolving from??
     
  8. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

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    Slinkyurt
     
  9. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Cavalier
    Evolved From: Clinger
    Genes Added: Exoskeleton, Filter Feeding, Mass Reproduction
    Genes Removed: none
    Description:

    Cavalier larvae drift passively on the ocean currents, using feathery structures to collect even smaller plankton and to traverse great distances while expending minimal energy. Upon finding a suitable host, they will latch on and begin the adult phase of their lives. As they grow, their small filter-feeding tendrils grow larger and larger into great, feathery nets. They also begin to develop their iconic, mineralized shells. With their superior filter feeding abilities, they transform this sudden windfall of resources into clouds of new larvae, which they release back into the ocean currents to begin the next generation anew.

    No host is more useful for the Cavalier than the Thoraxenia, whose auxiliary stomachs provide nutrition for the larval Cavaliers, allowing them to dramatically reduce their early-life attrition and rapidly grow to adult sizes. This creates a fascinating example of evolutionary game theory. In theory, a Cavalier could continue to feed heavily from a Thoraxenia, allowing it to produce vast amounts of offspring. However, if such greedy behaviour were done by every Cavalier, then their steed would soon starve, leaving every fully-grown, mature Cavalier in dire straits and without a host. Thus, a curious equilibrium emerges. An individual Cavalier may be born with 'greedy' traits. On its own, this presents little issue. However, as it reproduces en masse (and with greater success than its non-greedy neighbours), its offspring tend to colonize nearby Thoraxenia, overtaxing their mutualistic partners and causing to localized die-offs and starvation. Thus, the genes that create this antisocial behaviour are periodically culled from the population. The end result is a selective pressure towards behaviours that favour cooperation, even though the Cavaliers have nowhere near the mental capability to even comprehend what they are doing. These behaviours include the voluntary abstention of feeding from the Thoraxenia's auxiliary stomachs once they have completed growing (thus leaving more food for other Cavaliers on the same Thoraxenia, who tend to be close relatives), the crowding out and expulsion of Cavaliers perceived as being excessively-greedy (greedy Cavaliers being those who release too many offspring, grow too quickly or become overly large), and even the voluntary expulsion of their own food into the auxiliary stomachs of the Thoraxenia, feeding their own hosts during times of hardship.

    The name of the Cavalier ultimately comes from three things. First, their lattice-like filter feeding nets are said to resemble the banners of knights charging into battle. Second, their clinging to other organisms resembles, in many ways, the cooperation of a rider with its steed. Finally, their complex mutualism ultimately enforces behaviours that could be generously interpreted as 'chivalrous'- namely, that they have been naturally selected to follow a very particular code of conduct, in order to maintain their wealth and security through the generations.
     
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  10. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Rask quietly flicked his eyes between the aquarium before him and his diagrams. The various genera of Clinger and their Thoraxenia hosts were definitely one of his favourite symbioses, although the tangled webs of the Kleptotrons and Aerotrons definitely made a decent contest of it.

    Before him, the rasping mouthparts of the Thoraxenia gradually shaved away more and more of a clump of Ralgetron. The rough, tentacle-like appendage was all he could really see of the creature, as the rest of it was encased in an interlocking, organic scale mail coat. This was a Clinger of some variant... Clingers had been doing this sort of thing for weeks of his subjective time, or at least four eras on Fanatica, but this latest variant was distinct enough that it probably warranted a new description... hence its current presence in the biodome.

    The defensive coat of these Clinger-offshoots, Cavaliers, he'd been calling them, looked almost frilly. Feathery protrusions trailed out in the current, extending out from the gaps in the shell between each of them. A Xerophage passed by with its distinctive twitching, flicking movement, and the little feathers all retreated back to safety, only extending back out into the water after the dubious danger of a passing herbivore had abated.

    It was a little hypnotic, watching the host creature slowly crawling along the simulated seabed, grazing away, while the rest of its body lay ensconced in a mass of anchored filter-feeders, all gently waving in the water. After a few moments, Rask shook himself from his reverie and looked again at his illustration pad.



    Note: Colours reflect distinct tissue groups, and do not reflect the actual colours of the organism.

    The youngest larval forms looked like little more than feathery pieces of flotsam. But under a microscope, they really weren't that much different than the adults. A collection of branching protrusions (blue) extended out from a central point (green), where the main digestive organs were located.

    By the end of the larval stage, the central tissue ball had grown considerably, now visibly showing the proto-appendages that would one day be its grasping digits. Additionally, the first mineralizations of the shell (red) were beginning to form on its back.

    The 'latchling' stage, as Rask called it, saw all of the adult anatomy essentially in place, but at a much smaller scale. By this phase, the Cavaliers largely abandoned their planktonic lifestyle, instead grabbing onto potential host organisms. This anchoring triggers major growth in the Cavalier, as it gains access to large amounts of food waste kicked up or discarded by its host. Both its soft body and hard shell will grow considerably, and it will begin to reach sexual maturity towards the end of this stage.

    Finally, the adult. At this stage, the shell had extended to cover almost all of the organism. When threatened, the Cavalier could withdraw almost completely under its suit of armour, a defense only made more effective by sharing space with neighbours. The feeding fronds, which hadn't grown much since the larval phase, put in a great growth spurt along with the rest of the organism, further fueling its growth and energy intake. But most interesting was the pattern of its shell. Growth was ultimately limited by resistance and friction, and as such they tended to wind up being shaped based on their surroundings. A single individual would grow in a predictable, symmetrical pattern, but in clusters, they'd grow convex, concave, asymmetrically, and all manner of odd shapes to secure themselves in their anchor point.

    Rask took one more look at his diagrams, before filing them away. Another day, another novel Fanatican oddity categorized and described.
     
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  11. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    Covered in a shell, yes, but the shell has tiny perforations that allows food to pass through : )
     
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  12. North King

    North King blech

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    Barbotron - North King
    Evolved from: Vesicatron
    Added: 1x Roots, 1x Photosynthesis, 1x Fibrous Growths (+1 Bonus Gene)
    Genes: 2x Photosynthesis, 2x Buoyancy, 2x Fibrous Growths, 1x Roots
    Description: The Barbotron has doubled down on the unpleasant cellulose fibers of the Vesicatron, making it ever more untasty for predators. To compensate, it has increased its photosynthesizing to meet the metabolic load, which, combined with its roots, makes it a dominant seaweed in the shallow seas near shore.
     
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  13. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    In the coastal waters of tropical Fanatica, a bevy of life propers near shore. The silhouette of a Flestuary’s broad back slowly parts the waters, each stroke of its tentacles producing large surface ripples as it moves through the Tronic beds of the shoreline. The vast tidal shallows of this region afford ample opportunity for a cycle of scavenging, as Flestuaries move through the shallow waters systematically denuding the sea bed. In their wake, a prosperous ecosystem flourishes. Vorzords and Tentaflails emerge from their hiding places in shadowed underwater crevices or underground, the first to consume small portions of flayed plant and animal matter, and the second to attempt to lash an unwary Vorzord as it pokes its head above the sand to secure a meal. During the day, this area is free of Slinkyurt covens, but the Tentaflails in particular will need to find hiding places before nightfall when the vibration stalkers most often emerge.

    The retreat of the tide interrupts this battle, as both burrower and scuttler must outdistance the waves before they leave these soft-bodied organisms high and dry.

    It is then that the characteristic whisper of a thousand tentacles shifting sand fills the ears, as the feeding cycle of Fjordzords and Zoupas carries the juveniles out of the water and onto shore. Tumbling as the waves wash them up, they quickly right themselves and move to higher ground. Their movement action churns the sand, as their small questing tentacles, phylogenetically reminiscent of their giant Flestuarian cousins, poke at the material before them, aided by the crude vision provided by their photoprobes. Some of the lucky ones will find tide pools in the shallows to emit both their young, and in the cases of the Zoupas, their digestive enzymes.

    Here we may see a typical threat display between a cluster of small Zoupas and Fjordzords, struggling to contest ownership over an important tide pool. Importantly, the threat display is used to attract fellow Zords to combat rather than to deter, as this behavior incentivizes the concentration of nutrients for the next life cycle. Ultimately the two groups clash chaotically, friend and foe being forgotten in the melee. While there are few survivors from this clash of midget crawlers, their descendants released from the casualties bodies would surely thank them when they emerge from this pool in a week’s time, with ample nutrients to consume.

    -Sir Zair Moussadegh, NAO Documentarian, excerpt from The Waters of Fanatica
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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