Kammite Squigglets

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With the development of floral assemblages in Kamm’s waterways, it would only be a matter of time until non-larval noserp fauna would follow close, attracted by the prospects of abundant food. The very first of these pioneers are the descendants of the Squigglets - common, substrate-dwelling vermiform soopyfauna; already having radiated somewhat into more varied forms, it seems inevitable that they would eventually set locomotory seta in freshwater ecologies.

Immediately distinct from the first Squigglets establishing themselves in Kammite waters, the Kammite Squigglets have made a few anatomical innovations. Firstly their dorsal setae behind the singular antenna sit upon knobby, ruffly projections, becoming part of highly vascularized plume-like gills. Aside from near riffles, most areas of Kamm’s freshwater bodies contain substantially less dissolved oxygen, so the development of these organs is essential to get the most out of whatever oxygen is available. Their gills allow the exchange of gases from their hemooranganin hemocoel to the environment, and a series of heart-like pumps distribute that hemocoel throughout the body. Less obvious than their gills but still very significant is the Kammite Squigglets’ change in diet, shifting from detritophages to algae-feeders. Already pre-adapted for rasping on the substrate thanks to their radula, these soopyvermes will readily graze upon the abundant beds of Carpoopt.

Aside from these traits, the Kammite Squigglets have changed very little from their ancestry. They utilize rows of paired lateral setae to propel themselves along the waterbed, though they can crudely swim should the need arise. In lean times, they can fall back on an ancestral diet of detritus, but this is overall far less nutritious. With an antenna keen to a myriad of olfactory signatures, it is already pre-adapted for the low-visibility conditions of particle-rich riverwater. Under fortunate conditions, Kammite Squigglets of a single species can mate and deposit a clutch of eggs into the substrate, soon hatching into minute larvae.

Presently there are only just over a dozen species of Kammite Squigglet, many of which barely distinguishable besides some general adaptations. The basal K. litora and K. sabula are found in the brackish wetlands dotting Kamm Beach, while more derived species are found further inland. The hardy K. hibernalis is abundant in the frigid river systems of far southern Kamm, capable of burying into the substrate with its reserves of antifreeze to withstand the long, brisk winters. As the land’s freshwater ecologies mature however, the Kammite Squigglet genus will similarly become more diverse, and eventually give rise to its own offshoots.