Janitorial Asterblob

Although previously a very minor presence in the oceans, soopyfauna are poised to soon become one of the most diverse single clade of marine fauna on 2s2tworld, with new forms evolving to take advantage of any available niche. For an offshoot of the Asterblob, this population specialized more and more for dedicated scavenging, splitting off to become the Janitorial Asterblob.

This soopystar is somewhat timid when not ready to feed, preferring to stay in the dark; this behavior is promptly altered with the prospects of food however, becoming a much more active critter. Chemoreceptive nodules dense with sensory cells mark the tips of the Janitorial Asterblob’s arms, which the elongate setae direct scents into. With such a wealth of sensory info processed by its nervous network, the fauna promptly convenes towards the source with a single or a few arms leading the way.

The typical Janitorial Asterblob meal is a carcass, which it is well-equipped to dine on. Two of its arms’ denticles have become large, chitinous hooks, which dig into and tear off chunks of its meal. Foodstuffs are ferried to a tooth-lined central mouth via its locomotory denticles. Once the fauna has had its fill, sphincter-like oral muscles tightly close up and its meal is bathed in a combination of digestive compounds and enzymes secreted by native Nuclear Laxative Poopycells. Depending on the size of the carcass and proximity to activity, many Janitorial Asterblobs may convene towards it to feed, and in spite of their slow movements, their voracity may end up picking a corpse clean within hours. While carrion composes the bulk of a Janitorial Asterblob’s diet, it can sometimes feed upon live prey - utilizing its muscular arms to restrain such catches and then tear them up to be consumed. Organic detritus is also a significant supplement.

This soopystar’s tissues contain trace amounts of spite to dissuade predators from nabbing it.

In spite of these differences, the Janitorial Asterblob is similar to the ancestral Asterblob in many respects, retaining many of its anatomical innovations. Its arms are supported by powerful muscles attaching to bands of firm chitin. Locomotory denticles attached to assholey muscle tissue carry it across the seabed. It respires via simple diffusion, and gases are transported via the hemocoel. Nervous functions are governed via a network radiating from a central ganglion. Besides chemoreception, it possesses a diverse array of senses, including fine vibration-sensitive setae and eyes capable of discerning light intensity.

During conditions of plenty (i.e. when carrion is dense), Janitorial Asterblobs may also convene to mate. Gametes are expelled from an asymmetrical genital pore into the water, which conjugate into huge numbers of fertile eggs. These eggs hatch into larvae resembling Sooperpoopycells, but with more cells. These gorge on microbes until reaching a great enough size that they resemble miniature adult soopystars. As r-strategists, few larvae survive this far.

Because it fills a previously overlooked niche, the Janitorial Asterblob has been able to spread far and become a common presence in sunlit and upper twilight waters.