Tidal Dangleweb

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As fauna emerged onto the land, the interweb followed its prey up the shore. The interweb had always liked growing between crystal flora's roots or branches, so it was easy enough to grow on hosts in the tidal zone as well, thus becoming the tidal dangleweb.

Typically, the tidal dangleweb is attached to a couple of roots or branches and hangs down from these points until it reaches the ground. As before, their "body" consists of clumps of four cells, in which each cell has a tentacle reaching outward. These tentacles connect with neighboring tentacles, allowing clumps to share nutrients and form the larger web, while holding each clump far apart from its neighbors, making the web very light and diffuse. They grow by extending strands of comparatively dense clumps to form their overall network, and they fill in these strands with more diffuse clumps so they completely cover their area. The tentacles are sticky, allowing them to connect and cling, and they also emit smells that resemble decaying flora, thereby attracting their prey.

These webs are difficult to see unless the light is just right. Prey organisms may blunder right into them. Then, the web will collapse onto them and set to work digesting their victim from the outside in. The clumps may then reform into a new web or several, generally creeping up a host flora or swimming through the tidal zone to a new host. If particularly well fed, however, the web instead contracts into a fruiting body. In the fruiting body, the clumps end up adjacent to one another. The outer cells form a protective layer, which wrinkles up when on land to increase oxygen access. The inner cells spill their genetic material. At last, the fruiting body bursts open, emitting spores containing new cell clumps, which will go out to find new hosts.

In addition to trapping prey, tidal danglewebs consume organic particles that stick to them, especially when swept along by the force of the tide. This keeps them nourished between larger meals. Wind-blown cells and detritus sometimes reach the webs through the air too, but this is less reliable.

Given that they lack specialized tissue, their adaptations to an air environment are at a cellular level. Being as each cell clump is held far from the others, there is plenty of air around each, and they absorb oxygen directly from their environment. Being situated under a host also keeps them sheltered from many environmental extremes and hazards. The cell clumps are much more mobile in the water than on land, being capable swimmers. Outside of water, they can only move by creeping along using their sticky tentacles, sticking one tentacle at a time to a new spot and gradually crawling forward. Therefore, new webs most often form by finding new hosts when they are submerged by the tide, although they occasionally form further inland if carried by wind, storm, or prey. Once a web starts growing, however, it can easily extend further inland than the tide, as long as its host grows there. Cells also communicate more easily when submerged, as they coordinate by emitting chemicals that dissolve into the water. This helps them find existing webs to join and connect across separate anchoring points. This form of communication is simply unavailable on land, so webs that form above the tide line are often stunted as a result.