Goldgill Walker

From 2speccers2tools wiki

Some Fusion walkers ingested some Leafwing Goldies but failed to digest them, resulting in the cells inhabiting their tissues. This would eventually lead to the two species forming a symbiotic relationship. Alongside a few changes to their life cycle and moving in the river systems of Dingus, these populations of Fusion walker would become a distinct taxon known as the Goldgill Walker. In some ways the species is pretty similar to their ancestor, such as the species filter feeding by sucking in water through their mouth and then passing food through their digestive tract while water is expelled through microscopic slits between their legs. The Goldgill Walker also has 3 simple eyes and strong muscles to help them crawl along the river bed. Unlike their ancestor, however, the Goldgill Walkers have their gills and back inhabited by Leafwing Goldy symbiotes. By giving the Leafwing Goldies a safe shelter, these microbes(which had developed a resistance to radiation due to where they live) can photosynthesize in relative safety and in return they give the Goldgill Walker both extra oxygen and sugars they produce for energy. This allows the Goldgill Walker to thrive, and the species had grown much larger than their ancient ancestors. To help maintain their grip in the substrate, the Goldgill Walker has also developed 3 claws on each limb which the limbs are more bent so the Goldgill Walker is lower to the ground and thus harder to be knocked over by currents. The Goldgill Walker also still gets a a large amount of energy from their fusiotrophic metabolism, but it no longer uses it for defense due to living in irradiated waters and the natural predators of the river system already having an immunity to radiation. The Goldgill Walker's reproductive habits had made some big changes, as they bud only from their backs and release hundreds of tiny little larvae from the large blob of tissue that comes off their back. Each of these tiny larvae already have their Goldy symbiotes living inside of them which reproduce by mitosis as their host grows overtime. Goldgill Walkers start their lives as small plankton that float about in the river currents, primarily relying on their symbiotes and their fusiotrophic metabolism and supplementing their diet with tiny plankton. Its also at this stage where the species has the highest mortality rates, as while they can use their giant gills to beat back and forth to swim some distance they mostly can't escape predators and thus rely on sheer numbers to survive. The main threats to the larvae as they evolved were the local Bruhs, predatory Wigglers, and adult Goldgill Walkers. As they grow in size, the Goldgill Walker will move to a benthic lifestyle and include more "meat" in their diet.

Goldgill Walker planktonic larval stage.