Split off from the leafstar, the Matleaf is most immediately distinguished from its ancestor by its elongated filter baits, which are now converted to long delicate strands of cells which never stop growing. These tangle with those of other Matleaves, allowing them to form their namesake—a mat of leaves floating on the ocean’s surface, with a long tangle of filter baits hanging below to take in additional nutrients, carbon dioxide, and microbes from the water. Being in a mat makes them less accessible to predators, as they can be difficult to remove from the mat individually. It swims less often than its ancestor does, as being in a mat makes being knocked over far less common; swimming less also allowed them to further thicken their cell walls, further protecting them from UV light. The mats have no maximum size or population, but are commonly broken up by ocean waves. The matleaf is otherwise like its ancestor; it performs photosynthesis using symbiotic cells contained within its own, and it reproduces through fragmentation.