Sand Locrint

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The Sand Locrint's life cycle.
Various anatomical details.

Triheels that migrated southward found themselves in a humid tropical paradise, where they were able to attain more active lifestyles due to the perpetual warmth. Smaller, more agile species managed to win out over the slow, lumbering variants. One successful species to come out of this was the sand locrint. Their higher maneuverability and sheer numbers have managed to outcompete the rugged grovestalker in its range.

In order to understand this species best, its whole life cycle must be known. Locrint larvae start out very small, at around 4 millimeters. These tiny swimmers live in freshwater environments such as lakes or ponds, eating any plant detritus they come across. They grow relatively quickly, getting many times bigger until they are almost as long as the full-grown adults. It is during this phase that they start to develop their characteristic bony exoskeleton.

Once they reach their adult size, the larva will start to bury itself under some shallow sand. It is here where it starts a new step in its life cycle: pupation. The juvenile locrint will go dormant and start to produce a thin keratin shell to protect its whole body. This allows the tail which was used for swimming in the larvae to transform into the leg-like appendage seen in adults. Their lung, legs, and armor also develop during this time. After about one month, the locrint emerges as a 12 cm long juvenile adult, eventually growing to 18 cm over the course of its life.

Adult locrints have some notable adaptations as well. For one, their tail-leg as a shape more suited for leaping and running on land. All three of its knees also have tough new osteoderms that protects the vulnerable joints. The upper tentacles have straight, pincer-like claws used for crushing the durable chitin of twistworms and wortopedes. The bottom tentacles are long and flexible, used to grab and manipulate their food. Their tail foot is shorter and has extended toes on the side, making them better at running and hopping. Their eyes have also raised toward the top of their head, giving them a greater field of view. They can also pull their eyes inwards like a frog to clean them.

The sand locrint mating season is around late spring and early summer. During this time, they will start to gather in large numbers near water. Locrints must still mate in the water, as their tail shape and small cloaca makes it nearly impossible for them to mate on land. To make mating a bit easier, the cloaca has moved to the middle of one of the exoskeletal segments. First, the mating pair position themselves side to side, facing away from the body of water. The male then releases gametes into the water, and the female’s cloaca will draw in water in order to siphon up as many gametes as possible. They then part ways. After some time, the female will lay hundreds of tiny eggs into the water. Having fulfilled their purpose, the female dies soon afterwards. The male will mate a couple more times if there are enough females left, but sooner or later the male dies as well.