Silk Knightworm

From Sagan 4 Beta Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

As the Barlowe mountains rose, the fur knightworm's range was split by these new formidable heights. At first, they formed an impassable barrier, with their rugged cliffs, frequent mountain streams, and being largely barren of life. But as the bladebush spread into the mountains, the first pioneering fur knightworms followed.

Silk knightworms spend much of their life on the bladebushes, having shrunk so as to have an easier time balancing on their thick and waxy leaves. These form the primary component of their diet as well as a place to nest, snuggled between the base of the leaves. They nest in small groups, often a mating couple or two and their offspring, but these groups are extremely transient.

A 'bridge' of silk mycostrum.

Aside from their size and diet, however, the silk knightworm's main changes relate to its symbiote, not itself. It continues to live surrounded by an insulating symbiotic mycostrum, the silk mycostrum. This helps retain heat, and it has become more versatile as well. Its fibers can form into dense, thin strands, which resemble spider silk. The silk knightworm uses its antennae to grip the mycostrum and guide it to form strands. These strands condense as an automatic reaction to the stimulus, becoming thicker and stronger. The silk knightworm can then rappel using this strand. This lets it cross from bladebush to bladebush, from peak to peak, from riverbank to riverbank. It suspends upside-down from the strand, still partly contained within, clinging with its antennae and ventral spikes. On arrival, it grips the strand with its antennae again to pull it back.

Silk knightworms need a significantly larger amount of mycostrum on their bodies than fur knightworms did, as they need this excess to form strands without uncovering themselves, which gives them more of a wooly appearance. Their nests are made of silk mycostrum as well, making them excellent places to keep warm when hibernating over the winter.

Reproduction has developed as well. Females still lay unfertilized eggs, which the male then fertilizes externally, and these eggs still must be moist when laid. However, they now lay them in their nests after rainfall, rather than using puddles. The male must quickly fertilize the egg while the nest is still wet and while the egg is still soft. Quickly, the egg hardens and forms a thick protective membrane.

The physical form of the silk knightworm is little changed. Its body has a soft inner core and a chitinous shell, divided into four segments. Each segment has a ventral spike, which have become more adapted for gripping, useful with their lifestyle full of climbing and rappelling. The head segment has four eyes and a pair of antennae. These antennae have somewhat more of a branching comb shape, as their primary use is shaping and guiding their mycostrum.