Cleanupsticker

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Split off from the stickerstar, the cleanupsticker moved south where it found sunlight to not be as plentiful. No longer able to survive only on sunlight and microscopic meals, this population found an additional larger food source—dead fauna and flora. The cleanupsticker will seek out dead things using chemoreceptive patches lining the tips of its arms, and when it finds something it will use its locomotory bait cells to pull pieces of the deceased organism towards a new feature—a stomach-like organ in its center. It lacks digestive enzymes and must still absorb food directly into its cells, but it is enough to get it through the dark winters.

The cleanupsticker has also developed sexual reproduction. When it encounters another of its kind, they “investigate” one another by lifting and touching one or two of their arms together; if they find one another suitable, they release a plume of gametes from their undersides. They are hermaphrodites, releasing both eggs and sperm, and cannot self-fertilize. Their larvae have a brief, leafstar-like free-swimming phase before they settle to the seafloor and begin scavenging on their own.

The cleanupsticker is otherwise much like its ancestor. Though it no longer has any preference for sediment vs rocks or flora, it still spends its time crawling flat across surfaces with its many many leg-like baits searching for a meal.