From Sagan 4 Beta Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Southern wormoss found the crystal dome to be a convenient resting place. Juveniles could climb over them and settle on the surface of the dome to grow into an adult. This led to a population specializing in living on crystal flora. Wormoss with stickier mucus were selected for, and they retained the ability to produce mucus into adulthood. As their mucus increased in potency, they could climb and cling to steeper flora too: the crystal gazebo and crystal pagoda. As their range spread, landfall grove became available too. This new lifestyle allowed them to spread all along the beaches and coasts of Wright and its outlying lands, wherever their hosts lived, but their juveniles had no ability to cross deeper oceans.

The juveniles are little changed in form. They are amphibious, breathing both water and air through spiracles in gaps between their segments. They spend less time on land than their ancestor, however, and require even greater water consumption. They will often climb vertically and even upside down. They have a soft inner core, with a simple digestive tract, simple eyes between each segment, and leaf-thorns on their back and their head segment. They begin spawning sperm at a young age, consisting of paired cells (one for the core, one for the shell).

They may settle on a fairly flat surface, atop their host or one of its crystals, in which case they curl up into a shape very much like their ancestor. The head develops a rain-catching proboscis, useful for collecting enough water to keep producing their mucus. This mucus improves stability, lest they be knocked over. The digestive tract becomes a series of vessels for transporting nutrients and water, and they continually grow by adding new segments at the base. They reabsorb the juvenile's eyes, nervous system, and muscles.

Their shape can vary a bit when they stick onto the side of a host. They may end up fairly straight, with no reason to curl, just a long line of segments stuck flat against the trunk. In this case, the leaf-thorns bend away from the host. Or they may curl partially, depending on other features in their spot like crystals or branching.

Either way, the adults settle in the air, whether their host grows on land or rises out of the water. The adults continue producing sperm but start producing eggs as well (similarly paired). These will drop into the ocean or ground, to be swept to the ocean by rain or tide. Once fertilized, they develop into new juveniles. Several adults may stick near each other, which is advantageous for reproductive success, as their gametes are likelier to find one another, so they often come in clusters, though individuals are sometimes alone.