Crystal-Crushing Locrint

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Diagram showing the inner surfaces of the tentacles and mouth.
Newborn larva.

The sand locrint’s large claws proved useful to durophagy. Over millions of years, a population of them eventually gained the ability to feed on crystal flora. The crystal-crushing locrint is named for this herbivorous form of durophagy, as its main source of food is the few crystal flora present in northern Wright.

The most prominent feature of the crystal-crushing locrint’s face is the presence of large, blunt claws on the upper tentacles. These claws are somewhat mineralized, making them far more durable than those of their ancestors. The skin is also thicker and more durable, especially around the mouth. This feature culminates in the presence of hard, callus-like keratin pads on the inner side of the upper tentacles. The two bottom tentacles have changed dramatically to form a bottom “jaw” which helps to hold food while eating. Their nostrils have differentiated into two distinct purposes. The front nostrils are used to actively sniff out food, while their back nostrils are especially sensitive to scents emitted by possible threats, such as dried blood.

While their claws are a good enough defense themselves, the crystal-crushing locrint has several other defenses that make them a difficult creature to prey on. Their pupils have lengthened horizontally in order to get a wider field of view, and they have evolved a defined eye socket lined with osteoderms in order to protect the eyes. The plates on their front knees have developed greatly elongated spurs used in self-defense. Like the claws, these spurs are mineralized. These physical features do make these locrints harder to pick on than other species, but this is not the only type of defense they have. When threatened, the crystal-crushing locrint will initiate a startling and aggressive display as a bluff intended to drive off predators. The tentacles can be splayed apart to reveal a bright pattern on the inside of the bottom pair, which can be startling when done suddenly. Air is forced out of the two larger slit-like spiracles of the lung in order to create a short hissing sound. This sudden display is essentially used to communicate to the predator that there is easier prey to eat.

The crystal-crushing locrint’s lung, as implied before, has become highly specialized. Only the large central pair of spiracles is used for breathing. The two larger slit-like ones are used mostly for hissing, and the smaller pairs towards the edges of the lung are mostly vestigial and only play a small role in breathing. Reproduction is largely unchanged, with the locrints still gathering at lakes and ponds in order to mate in the spring and summer. However, the crystal-crushing locrint’s larvae metamorphose much sooner, only reaching about 8 centimeters before pupation. This relatively brief larval period is a lot more eventful, however, as these larvae have also had a change in their diet. While larval crystal-crushing locrints still don’t have a full coat of armor, they now start out with the two mineralized front claws. Instead of being clumsy and blunt, the claws start out small and sharp, allowing them to butcher live prey. While they feed mostly on ageo steeples and carrion, they are capable of hunting small carpozoans. Because they can reach the size of a small snoodceel, the larvae of crystal-crushing locrints can be a menacing presence to the other creatures in the pond.