Soopsips

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Revision as of 17:29, 23 May 2024 by OviraptorFan (talk | contribs) (Created page with "{{Species |Title = Soopsips |Sciname = ''Soopypunctor spp.'' |Type = Fauna |Status = Extant |Creator = Chillypaz the Second |Artist = Chillypaz the Second |ID = 659 |Habitat = North Cold Ocean (except coastal HRI), Warm Ocean, South Cold Ocean |Size = 5.3-9.5 centimeters long |Diet = Carnivore (Soopierworms, Squigglets, young Ripplets, young Glurplets, larger Nomsprinkles, larger Speckguins, Insects which must logically exist to...")
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Compared to the Sweeplets which they are sister to, the Soopsips are rather aberrant derivatives of Squigglet stock - that is, they assume the niche of inconspicuous benthic predators which feed on a variety of pelagic and demersal mesofauna. Members of the Soopsip genus are immediately recognizable for the fact that one of their bruh-derived denticles has become a chitinous killing tooth, and that the singular antenna has become a denser, more consistent appendage - a tentacle in other words.

A given species of Soopsip will bury itself into the substrate by way of its lateral locomotory setae, digging deep then curling into a j-shape with only the tip of its head exposed - a behavior simultaneously reminiscent of a garden eel and the Cambrian priapulid Ottoia. Convergent with their Sweeplet cousins, these soopyvermes observe prey passing by via keen sight provided by their four largest eyes; contrasted against the smaller two lateral pairs which can only detect so much as differences in light, these eyes - located overhead - are very perceptive of moving shapes, and combined with the info gathered by its lateral eyes, can precisely gauge if the passing shape is of suitable prey. Should this be the case, the Soopsip will promptly lash out its singular tentacle, restraining its catch, and proceed to finish it off with the soopyverme’s killing tooth. Like a scorpion’s sting, behind the killing tooth lies a series of minute glands containing a potent cocktail of spite and venom derived from digestive compounds, which when administered into prey bodily systems usually means imminent death. With the last signs of life wrung out of the Soopsip’s catch, it then retracts somewhat into its burrow and proceeds to chew it apart with its rasping ring of denticles. Like its soopy cousins, Soopsip guts house abundant cultures of Nuclear Laxative Poopycell to better stomach high quantities of radioactive prey such as wigglers and jellofish.

While the tentacle of a Soopsip is robust enough to actively restrain prey, it still retains its ancestral chemoreceptive function. Lined with minute gustatory pores, it can finely taste the water column for proximate prey - or predators. In the presence of critters large enough to pose a threat, the Soopsips will immediately retract into their digouts regardless if the passing shape is actively seeking them. The paired series of lateral setae facilitate burrowing much like with the Squigglet populations they arose from.

Content to hide in their burrows, Soopsips have little incentive to move out if not sufficiently disturbed or if access to food is not scarce; even if forced to relocate, the most they could do beyond crawling across the substrate is a crude wriggling in the water column. Still, there is one notable event in which these soopyvermes momentarily exit their burrows. In times of plenty, Soopsips of a certain species convene towards the location of a compatible Soopsip to mate. Exchanging genetic material, both participants ensure their developing offspring come equipped with the right genes to survive. The mother will promptly lay her hundreds of fertile eggs into the substrate, and after a period of a few weeks, hatch into planktonic larvae. As r-strategists, the high mortality of Soopsip species’ larvae is offset by their sheer quantities, ensuring that at least a couple of the initial clutch makes it to adulthood.

Numerous species of Soopsip exist, many of which can be identified by their coloration (although some distantly-related species sporting similar colorations must be distinguished by genome sequencing). Such colors typically mime the local substrate composition or floral assemblages. Other species can be noted by their general size, and as consequence, reliance on their venomous mixture to subdue prey (i.e. larger species with robust tentacles usually have comparatively weaker venom, whereas smaller, more svelte species bear more potent venom). Deeper-water species are typically larger or flatter to cope with increased water pressure, and cold-water species come equipped with antifreeze compounds in their tissues. Despite the heightened resistance to radiation shared by all members of the soopy clade, Soopsips are scarce at most in the coastal waters of HRI as there’s not only a notable lack of suitable edible fare, but radiation concentrations there are so intense that they’re at best actively sickened and at worst moribund.