Pulpolanta

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Pulpolantas are tiny, gelatinous organisms which occur in great numbers across patches of sea floors and reefs. This is partly due to its rapid life cycle and prolific asexual reproduction, but also due to a new feature: Rainbowhedrons farming.

It hosts Rainbowhedrons in nigh-microscopic, shallow pockets in its collagenous stomach ribbing, which has developed into loose, fibrous, pulpy flaps on the interior. While its ancestor’s stomach enzymes were fairly weak, its own enzymes have gotten slightly weaker over time. Partially, it's because it uses the help of its microbial symbiotes to digest its food, and partially so it doesn't digest its Rainbowhedrons until properly “raised”.

Unlike a giant clam, its photosynthesizing partner doesn’t give it products of photosynthesis directly. Instead, it farms them: when the population of Rainbowhedrons have grown drastically in its body, it rapidly grows a thin “lid” of tissue over each pocket and then secretes acids into the sealed pocket, digesting the flora. (and any Ribbon-Tailed Detriti sealed inside)

Symbionts

Pulpolantas have a mini-ecosystem in its guts: the Rainbowhedrons produce oxygen from water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide. The Ribbon-Tailed Detriti produce carbon dioxide as a byproduct of digesting glucose. When low on food, the Ribbon-Tailed Detriti extract energy from oxygen in a process that turns it into carbon dioxide, which the Rainbowhedrons use. While it’s not a self-contained system and it needs some food, with its Rainbowhedrons it doesn’t need as much food as its relatives would. (Unlike the Vinagob, it cannot digest alcohol.)

It absorbs oxygen through the lining of its stomach. With its Rainbowhedron partners producing oxygen so close to its stomach, it can survive in lower-oxygen waters than its relatives. However, if it goes without food for too long, it will digest its own symbionts, and might suffocate before it starves. However, this rarely ever happens, as its present habitat is filled with oxygen-producing flora.

Nitromethanians

Pulpolantas are one of the first Vinagob descendants to pick up Nitromethanian symbiotes, although only in small numbers. Its symbiotes are largely N. pulpolantii, a flat, three-flagellated species that is slightly more resistant to oxygen than usual and adapted to swim through stomach mucus. Since the Pulpolanta stomach is highly oxygenated (and patrolled by Ribbon-Tailed Detriti) its Nitromethanian symbiotes largely live within the thin stomach pockets, enclosed within a thin membrane. However, some also live underneath the flaps themselves, or even next to the Pulpolanta's reproductive glands. Due to the ammonia production within Pulpolantans, certain microbes grow in abundance in Pulpolanta patches.

Defenses

Larval Pulpolantans are simple, globe-shaped, nearly transparent, nigh-embryonic clumps with no lights, and are released at 0.35 mm. Although they have eight tiny fins, they have little control over direction, and largely float in the currents. Only by luck do a few survive to reach 3 mm, and metamorphose into miniature adults with slightly heavier, gelatinous tails. Until Pulpolantans grow symbionts, they are nearly transparent, making them hard to spot.

Adult Pulpolantans defend themselves mainly through flashing lights. When a predator bites into it, it suddenly flashes its lights, cueing any Pulpolantans nearby to also flash their lights. They strobe erratically for eleven seconds, startling predators or even blinding them at night time. They also have a stronger rum raisin-and-seaweed taste than the Vinagob, although many organisms aren’t deterred by this acquired taste. Thus, it survives mainly through its rapid growth, rapid reproduction, and prolific offspring.