From Sagan 4 Beta Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

As jumpmite populations grew from the abundant food on glicker, they diversified into many different species. While some kept their large and basal form, a new general trend for this group appeared. Despite this genus’ large presence, they have not outcompeted the original jumpmite, due to the sheer abundance of detritus being produced by Glicker’s native flora. Some of these creatures were able to spread to Barlowe from offshoots of desert-adapted species, as well as some having simply rafted over.

Nimblemites’ most obvious trait is their diversity of colors and patterns. Similarly to many other large genera, nimblemites come in a wide variety of colors and shapes to suit many environments. Nimblemites also have high diversity pertaining to the spines on their back, of which they usually have one per segment. Some species have smoothed down backs to crawl through tight spaces, and some have large spikes to deter predators.

Nimblemite species also have many similarities to each other that are not shared by the ancestral jumpmite. Their back legs are even stronger, with very wide segments that contain powerful muscles at their base. This combined with their smaller size allows them to jump much farther and higher than their ancestors. Their robust, flea-like body makes them quite durable as well. The back feet are also much larger, and have short spikes on them to provide traction. This prevents their legs from slipping, ensuring a successful launch. Their front legs are more adapted too, having been reduced to hoof-like pads to help them land on hard soil. While many new traits have appeared, some others have gone away. Their ancestral leg fins have finally been lost, and the females’ chin spike has disappeared entirely. Their antennae now have a thin shape, as nimblemites no longer need to dig with them.

Even though this species may be most easily recognised by its physical characteristics, the changes that have occurred in the brain are actually the ones that have made them more successful. When a jumpmite senses a threat, it simply hops in a direction roughly away from the predator, often clumsily slipping on the ground or landing on its side. Nimblemites are much different. When a nimblemite has jumped or is otherwise falling, it will first use its trajectory to calculate roughly where it will land. It can do this in under a second, whereas it would have taken a few seconds for its ancestor to do such a thing. This is facilitated by a well-developed balance-sensing organ located just behind the brain. Once it has done this, it locks its head and legs so that they always face this point, maintaining a constant gaze at the target location. This is relatively impressive for an arthrothere, making nimblemites comparatively clever for their small size. However this is no big achievement, as most arthrotheres aren’t particularly known for their intelligence. In most other ways, the nimblemite’s brain is quite primitive.

Nimblemites reproduce more quickly than their ancestors. Most tropical species have no need to overwinter their eggs, but the ones in colder climates do. As a result, the life cycles of temperate and subpolar nimblemites change depending on the time of year. In the spring and summer, the eggs will hatch after a few days, just like the tropical species. However when winter approaches, the eggs will be laid with a much more durable outer coating, allowing them to stay viable until they hatch in the spring.