Caltrop Boxes

From 2speccers2tools wiki

This genus of peculiar microbial predator can trace their origins to a rather obscure sister of the legofauna - the Surprise Box of Doom. Refining upon the adaptations of their ancestry, the Caltrop Boxes have spread throughout the waters of 2s2tworld.

While other microbial predators like the bruhs prefer to pursue their prey, Caltrop Boxes hunt by letting prey come to them. Near their margins are photoreceptive organelles which can perceive blurry shapes and differences in light intensity. Should prey microbes be within close enough proximity, a box shoots forth massive hooked barbs to gouge into its catch and reel it in; these barbs contain trace quantities of spite, just enough to put its menu out of commission, though some prey are subdued simply as they attempt struggling off the hooks. Once subdued prey is within the box’s confines, areas of the cell membrane dense in enzymes break it down to be better diffused. To provide room for the genus’s nematocyst-like barbs, the cytoskeletal elements around their margins have expanded, giving the shape which lend these boxes their name. Bands of cilia provide Caltrop Box species with some mobility. In conditions of plenty, many Caltrop Boxes of more than one species convene to a singular area, sharing nutrients - and frequently genetic material. This sharing of encoding information among boxes ensures the genetic diversity of the genus. Alternatively, new individuals are simply fissioned off with a copy of the parent cell’s genetic material.

There exist dozens of distinct Caltrop Box species, found in a wide variety of aqueous ecologies except in the darkest of ocean depths; with enough prey and oxygenated water around, you can expect to find Caltrop Boxes. Individual species are somewhat difficult to distinguish by non-specialists, and the presence of horizontal gene transfer blurs specific boundaries even further. Still, some trends can be noted such as with the structure of their cytoskeletons.