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The Stallephas is a developmentally compressed descendant of the Oceanic Lantern. The adult Stallephas has a smaller, more neotenous form, resembling its simple ancestor, the Carpotesta Luceremundare, more than most Carpolantaians. It doesn’t need much food and can convert it effectively into biomass. This, along with its generalist feeding, very fast maturation, and prolific, frequent reproduction, makes it one of the most common organisms in its habitats. Indeed, were it not for the fact the vast majority of its young are devoured by predators, the Stallephas would dominate the ecology of most of its habitats.

It has an enormous range in the open ocean, from the lower epipelagic to upper mesopelagic zones.

Life Cycle

The Stallephas takes roughly eight to thirteen days to grow to maturity, depending on the season and food availability. Overall, it matures faster than its ancestor, although, relative to its lifespan, it spends proportionately more time in a juvenile form: about two-fifths of its total lifespan.

Stallephas larvae are similar to many Carpolantaians: it's a microscopic, nigh-embryonic, poor-swimming clump of cells that filter-feeds with a sticky digestive patch on its front end and has little, if any, pigmentation. Stallephas larvae, which are 100 micrometers at birth, are somewhat remarkable for their lemon-like shape. As it is transparent, it appears blue most of the time due to a blue background. Though it cannot glow, it is still able to detect several colors using its many small photoreceptors.

The juvenile’s larger fins grant it better (if still poor) swimming ability. Its filter-feeding patch deepened, forming a shallow digestive depression in its front end. At this point, the distinct, collagenous stomach ribbing of Luceremunarians is visible. The earlier stages of the juvenile have no pigment at all; later on, it has barely any. It cannot emit a blue glow to blend in with its backgrounds, and its photoreceptors are still too small to be seen.

The adult Stallephas is a bluish-tinted, nigh-transparent blob, like a blue-tinted plastic bag. It can only make blue and light blue light with its chromatophores, which, this time, are distributed only above its top fins. As its lights are more sparsely distributed, it doesn’t have much use in camouflage. However, it still helps to lure in mates for loose mating aggregations, making their mass spawning events more efficient. Despite this feature, it reproduces largely by cloning itself, as typical for Carpolantaians. It has many tiny, barely-visible eyes. Due to its neotenous state, its fins never fully develop in shape or composition, and so look deeply webbed rather than fin-like. Only the adult has a fully developed (if somewhat shallow) stomach, with greyish pigmentation and cilia that beat constantly in a maddening blur.

Other Details

Stallephases lack any sort of defense and swim only weakly. They survive through camouflage, living in a pretty barren environment, and reproducing so rapidly and prolifically its predators can’t eat them all. Arguably, the fact Stallephases are so poor in nutrition few fauna have any reason to eat them is also a defense; they are slightly less nutritious than their ancestor.

When Stallephases die, they float around for a while, pushed around by the currents like a plastic bag. Glow Detritis and Bioluminafasma feed on the corpses and make them glow, attracting larger scavengers. Mass die-offs (mostly due to temperature extremes, storms, or starvation) can cause patches of the LadyM Ocean to apparently be filled with glowing plastic bags, generally in shades of blue, green, and purple.