Crown-of-Thorns Crystalblight

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As the five-fingered crystalblight spread into deeper waters, it encountered a multitude of challenges to its survival. These challenges primarily took the form of the lack of sunlight and the great distance between hosts. As a result, the five-fingered crystalblight adapted, and evolved into the crown-of-thorns crystalblight.

The crown-of-thorns crystalblight is well-adapted to its environment. Its crystals are darker and more numerous than those of their ancestor, allowing it to make the most of the small amount of light that reaches the twilight zone. Its mycelial network is larger, allowing it to absorb more nutrients from its host. However, this large network reduces the number of species it can parasitize, with only the largest hosts being suitable.

The gametophyte has been altered greatly. The number of edges has increased from 12 to 48. This increases the number of spiracles it has, which in turn increases the amount of food it can take in. There is now a large air-filled chamber in the center of the crystal, which is filled and emptied by siphuncle-like veins that feed into it. Buoyancy is regulated by hormones, which are produced by sacs connected to a ring of photoreceptors on the top and bottom of the gametophyte. The gametophyte will attempt to move towards light. As a result, they spend much of their time drifting through the sunlight zone. Contrarily, the larvae they produce will always move away from light, which will ultimately lead them back to the twilight zone. These larvae will then attach to a host and become a new sporophyte. If the larvae do not find a host in time, they will die of exhaustion.