Snipplet

From 2speccers2tools wiki

Although previously a very minor presence in the oceans, soopyfauna are poised to soon become one of the most diverse single clades of marine fauna on 2s2tworld, with new forms evolving to take advantage of any available niche. For the pelagic Snipplet, it sees considerable success as an open-ocean pursuit hunter. Originating from a population of Ripplet adapting to gorge on larger, meatier prey (including their own kin), the Snipplet is keenly adapted for the hunt. Its cartilage endoskeleton has further strengthened and expanded, providing crucial support for its powerful stabilizing fins and deriving jaws from its oral array; with the presence of jaws, it can get a much firmer grip on prey of any manageable size, consequentially expanding its menu options. Although already quite resistant to radiation, this fauna possesses sturdy, multifaceted lead-based teeth - fine tools for gripping and tearing through meat. Larger prey like Whay Ells and Clipping Pigsh are seized by the Snipplet’s vertical jaws, bearing arrays of hooked teeth; when subdued, serrated teeth on the lateral jaws rip into this catch and heave chunks of meat into the digestive tract. Smaller prey like Pig fish and Ripplets are simply torn apart by these implements, and prey smaller still like the Penguin are merely swallowed whole. In any case, after passing through a muscular esophagus, foodstuffs make way to a stomach containing powerful digestive compounds, after which the remaining slurry is diffused into the bloodstream via an extensive intestinal tract. Also to buffer against excessive radiation exposure, a Snipplet’s stomach houses diverse cultures of Nuclear Laxative Poopycell, assisting in breaking down especially radioactive meals. The Snipplet can swim via undulating its many rows of fins, displacing much water. In pursuit however, it takes on a more carangiform mode of hydrodynamic locomotion, focusing its energy exertion closer towards the tail so it can gain up on its prey sooner. To ensure the Snipplet’s implements aren’t damaged at such speeds, the fin projections have developed into cartilagenous bundled rays, providing sturdier structural integrity and attachment for strong muscles.

Of course, seizing and processing prey are only part of the components of a successful pursuit predator; there is also detecting such prey to begin with. Its four sets of eyes have differentiated their components - one of the set has developed into pinhole eyes which are much keener to identifying moving shapes. To process such visual information, its nervous system has developed further to accommodate for this. The smaller eyes by comparison are simpler in structure, but are keen to differences in light intensity.

To avoid detection by prey and predators alike, the Snipplet has developed countershading, with a dusky blue coloration when looking down, and a pale silvery hue when observing it from above. Beyond hunting, a few other adaptations have taken place within the Snipplet. The feathery gill projections have internalized into a pair of gill canals rich with blood vessels. Oxygenated water is pumped through here and then forced out a pair of lower vents once depleted. A powerful heart pumps the fauna’s hemoorangin-based blood throughout its bodily systems.

Like the ancestral Ripplet, Snipplets reproduce via spawning. Gametes are deposited and fertilize into about a few hundred eggs. These eggs hatch into Ripplet-like larvae just barely a centimeter long, at which point they must feed on a variety of plankton. As they grow, they’ll begin to feed on larger, more substantial items such as Penguins and Soopierworms. Only a few dozen larvae grow to adult size.

Although primarily a pelagic organism, the Snipplet has been known to make forays into the outskirts of submarine forests when need be, which is where it feeds upon Clipping Pigsh and certain species of IWMLEtMaB. While now large enough to not be fatally injured from confronting Fuzzy Tanglebells, their nutritional content is far too little to consistently sate an adult Snipplet, and thus are subdued only out of desperation. Similarly, only in a select few cases has a Snipplet survived subduing a single stranded Radfting mamal, as not even the level of radiation resistance inherited by all soopyverm fauna is enough to shield against a point-blank blast full of death laser.