Ripplet

From 2speccers2tools wiki

Compared to the ancestral Soopierworms, the offshoot Ripplet is a much more active and demanding fauna. A common sight during plankton blooms, these sardine-like critters zip about in vast schools to gorge on any prey they come across.

The key, namesake adaptation to the Ripplet’s success are its four sets of undulating bands of fins, each supported by a rigid seta-derived skeletal projection; these create rapid movements to ensure fast hydrodynamic propulsion. The caudal cirri have seen a similar sclerotization, now serving to support a single caudal fin connected with rays. To ensure the rest of the Ripplet’s body isn’t violently flung about in such pursuits, the cartilaginous elements in its skeleton have strengthened, crucially serving to hold its form together and provide attachment to muscles.

Such an active lifestyle requires notable support from the Ripplet’s organ systems, which these perform quite well at. To meet greater gas exchange demands, gills have developed between fin bands: a feathery upper pair for oxygen to diffuse into its bloodstream (now containing hemoorangin-bearing cells), and a lower pair of pores from which waste gases are expelled. A heart composed of asshole-line tissues ensures that the blood is kept pumped. Its digestive tract has likewise adapted to make the most of its many meals, with an extensive intestine for nutrients to be distributed throughout. Powerful oral muscles allow its mouth to stretch and consume larger, more energy rich prey such as Penguins. Confrontations against Fuzzy Tanglebells are usually lose-lose scenarios, as while the Ripplet is immune to the bell’s spite, this isn’t the case with its digestive functions, often fatally disfiguring the Ripplet; the bell is similarly at risk of being torn apart by the Ripplet’s thrashing. In very rare instances however, the Ripplet wins out and devours the bell.

Ripplet eyes are differentiated, with larger eyes better able to differentiate shapes and smaller eyes keener to light differences.

Like the Ripplet’s ancestry, reproduction occurs via spawning in abundant conditions. Gametes are sent into the water which form innumerable fertile eggs, in turn hatch into planktonic larvae. Larval and mature Ripplets alike provide an energy-rich source of food to many predators, cementing their integral position in marine food webs.