Slimefort Wormwort

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The Slimefort wormwort [Slimefort for short] has many characteristics that its ancestor has, though there are many differences this organism has from its ancestor. At the juvenile stage of the life cycle, the Slimefort has a similar colour to the Wormwort. The Slimefort juvenile stage does not use slime as lubrication for moving like the Wormwort; instead, it has repurposed it for a later use in its life cycle. It instead uses its front appendages as two stiff "legs," tilting its body side to side, causing the appendages to grip the ground and pull it forward. The rest of the slimefort's body works in a similar way to how superworms move (aka. darkling beetle larvae). This more water conservative mode of movement allows the Slimefort to settle into drier areas then its predecessor could. The juveniles eat in an identical way to the Wormwort's juveniles, where a muscular fleshy portion of the head is able to protrude outward, grip food, and rub it against the shell opening. The only difference is that the slimefort has developed rasping spikes on the area where food is rubbed against, allowing it to broaden the potential food choices. Instead of only consuming soft foods, they can now eat slightly tougher food but prefer softer food nonetheless.

Juvenile stage

When it is time for the Slimefort wormwort to reach a different stage in life, it will dig a vertical hole in the ground. The Slimefort will then secrete the mucus that was originally purposed for locomotion in its ancestor. When this mucus is exposed to the air, it hardens into a rigid structure. Once the inside of the hole has a hard wall to keep it structurally sound, the Slimefort will then add layers above ground over the course of weeks as it slowly matures to an adult. It will continue to build upwards until it's an adult and then on for the rest of its existence. Unlike the Wormwort, the mature Slimefort has a lot of the traits it had in juvenile form like motor control, simple yellow pit eyes, as well as a nervous and digestive system (though the digestive system is greatly reduced in adult form). It carries these traits because this will allow it to make the best out of the slime structure constructed over its life (when fully built the portion above ground is normally half the length of the organism's body). The structure is used to allow the Slimefort to reach higher than its competition with a lower energy cost as it reaches the light, capable of extending half of its body length out of the slime structure. It is as well used as protection from the elements and other forces. Where its simple pit eyes can detect the slightest change in light indicating a danger could be close. It will then slip deeper inside the home like a polychaete worm settling in a hole in a ground that is around the length of the organism. The two appendages on the front of the head have multiple protrusions meant to increase surface area for more efficient photosynthesis. The cup mouth of the adult Slimefort wormwort was kept in the adult form like the Wormwort with the same primary use of collecting water. The Slimefort additionally has the ability to digest any organic matter that happens to fall into the cup mouth. These adaptations allowed the Slimefort wormwort to get to a much larger size than the Wormwort thanks to the low energy cost strategy of building a home out of slime.

The Slimefort reproduces in a similar way to its ancestor the Wormwort, where the juveniles actively do the fertilizing to the adults. The key differences the Slimefort wormwort has to its ancestor is that instead of the young being the ones actively spreading the eggs, the adults keep the sperm and the eggs inside of its body where the eggs will grow slightly larger, around the same size as a pea. It will then discard the eggs outside of its slime structure where the eggs will hatch and the hatchlings will then wriggle away.