The tiny creature to the right is an alien parasite affectionately referred to as a bloodbear. The picture depicts an average specimen clearly showing the hooked arms it uses to crawl and attach to the host as well as the rows of sticky pads with which it secures a more permanent attachment. The jaws (which normally are eight in number) are used to pierce the skin of the host and rupture any capillaries. The bloodbear then forms its jaws around its two mouths to provide feeding tubes. Unlike ticks of Earth that eat and digest blood, the bloodbears actually take the host's blood as their own and derive nutrients from it directly as if they were just another part of the host body. One mouth leads into the heart and the other leads out of it, returning blood to the host. They have no digestive system.
Bloodbears are specialists and different species may be found in different organs of different host species. Bloodbears are known to live in lungs, gills, mouths, stomachs, intestines, rectums, and even inside the uterus. They are mostly harmless. There is even one genus with an interesting symbiosis with a variety of alien salamanders. The bloodbears cover the skin of the salamanders like scales, protecting them from windburn, sunburn, and flying insects (which, unlike bloodbears, carry disease) in the deserts in which they live. If the parents did not pass on a population of bloodbears to their young while still in the burrow, the salamanders would die within hours of stepping outside for the first time.
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.