I'm not sure if I want to put this in the Planet Snax book or not. The above creature is called either a sea moth or a sea mosquito. It uses its needle-like mouth to suck juices from plants and animals of the reefs. The bulges on its snout are pumps. This species has two antennae with three eyes each. Other species can have zero or three antennae and a total of zero to twelve eyes.
One billion years ago, sea mosquitoes were the dominant form of swimming life on Snax. They sucked juices from puzzle sponges, the dominant reef-builder at the time. Now the only puzzle sponges to escape extinction are the highly toxic ones and the only sea mosquitoes to survive are those that have become specialists in feeding on other types of organisms.
By far, the strangest reef inhabitants are dodecablobons. They are made of twelve, semi-autonomous, worm-like bodies attached in a row to a common trunk that allows them to share an oxygen circulatory system (some are also capable of sharing nutrients). Some bodies are predators, others herbivores, others filter-feeders, others decomposers and detritivores, others parasites, and others contain symbiotic photosynthetic or chemosynthetic monocells. Some have gills and some have lungs (they will on occasion wander onto shore or float on the surface when the water becomes polluted by excessive monocells). Any one of them can go dormant and accept a protective mucus secreted by the central mass to prevent drying, abrasion, or damage from extremes of PH. This makes them extremely versatile and able to adapt to different habitats. The central nervous system operates on a "rotating presidency" principle. Each of the twelve members of the symbiosis takes turns at control of the central mass and locomotion of the creature, while the other eleven retain control only over themselves.
Some dodecablobons’ member bodies grow all the way around the central trunk and so resemble the segments of a worm.
One dodecablobon that resembles a segmented worm is the rhinoceros fern fish. The first segment forms a rhinoceros-like head, the next seven segments each have two lateral swimming fins, and the last four segments form a distinct, tapering abdomen with four vertical fins above and four vertical fins below. The horn is used to break free reef-building animals or weeds so they can be sucked into any one of its twelve mouths. Some of the other segments have horns as well. It is among the most colorful and most rare of the reef’s inhabitants.
Another grazing creature with defenses against the tug worms is the bill-foot bug. Its toenails resemble duck bills and hold the soft parts of the legs high above. The nails themselves are solid silicon carbide and contain no living tissue. No tug worm can penetrate them. To eat, food is grasped in the bill-nails and raised to the mouth. Bill-foot bugs have three backbones arranged with the central backbone higher than the outer two and the single digestive tract running down the middle equidistant from all three of them. They can reach up to two meters in length.
There are a few animals with special defenses against tug worms. One is the row bug. 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 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.
Hello, my name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small. I like bacon. I like pizza. I like bacon pizza. I enjoy long walks on the beach, but prefer the mountains. I am a huge fan of Jesus. When I grow up, I want to be just like him and create my own universes.