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The Mashgob is a nearly immobile, benthic carnivore that lures in small prey, chews them up, and digests them alive.


It lures in detritivorous or scavenging organisms with an enticing smell that seems cherry-like to humans. It stretches its four mouth-gums outward, allowing the prey to crawl in, before mashing it up with its flat pebble-teeth and flooding it with strong enzymes.

Internal cutaway diagram, showing the Mashgob stomach, cartilage shelves, and vents, as well as its reproductive organs.
Image by Coolsteph

The collagenous ribbing of Mashgobs’ stomach has grown into almost cartilagenous shelves, separating its gumdrop-shaped stomach into a distinct “mouth” and “gut” area. However, almost its entire digestive system works like a gizzard, “chewing” its food by pounding it with four stomach wall bulges. Its muscle walls are at risk of getting punctured by larger, spikier prey. Fortunately, it heals quickly, and the Mashgob can even gradually regenerate a whole bulge if it’s chopped off.

Each bulge has three to five “teeth”: mostly flat, cobblestone-like clusters of mineralized specks, largely calcium with a little strontium. These gastric cobbles grow constantly, if slowly. The cobbles dissolve a little each time it digests something, gradually lowering the acidity of its stomach, much like antacids. The specks in its “mouth” help it pin, handle, and mash up its prey. Other than its initial attack, it “chews” slowly, and mostly chews when the prey is unconscious.

A simple, jellyfish-like neural net in the Mashgob’s stomach coordinates “chewing”, and will automatically start mashing up prey if it senses the prey backing out. Although larger prey can’t fit in its stomach, it will try to crunch them up anyway.

Its four outflow vents have merged into two wide ones. Tiny amounts of its strong stomach acids seep out through the outflow vents. Indigestible hard chunks of prey, as well as fragments of teeth gradually worn away or dissolved, are expelled through its outflow vents.

Its chickpea-shaped reproductive organs, snugly enclosed within cartilaginous shelves, are now coated in a membrane that gives them some measure of protection from being dissolved. The Mashgob has a slow metabolism, and can go a long time without food.


Unusually for a Vinagob descendant, their primary stomach symbiotes aren’t Ribbon-Tailed Detritis: the Mashgob’s stomach is too acidic for them. Ribbon-Tailed Detritis are uncommon in the juveniles, and become rarer and more limited in distribution in the adult Mashgobs, whose stomachs are more acidic. The Ribbon-Tailed Detriti that do live inside it hide in little cracks and crannies near its specks, where the acidity is slightly lower.

The Mashgob’s primary stomach symbiote is instead a kind of Melter Detriti, Trikaryocrystallovorus cerasus, which has a spherical body, two flagella, and denser-packed nuclei. T. cerasus buildup in its mouth is the primary source of the enticing smells that lure in the Mashgob’s prey.

The Mashgob also hosts small numbers of Nitromethanians, largely in its “intestines” and reproductive outpockets.