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Traptooth by Concavenator Traptooth by Concavenator
Creatures for the COM #42 contest on Speculative Evolution (….

EDIT: Didn't win. Oh well. Here's the original text:

Traptooth (Desmatomys civilis)
The heart of the New Pangaea, some 300 million years after the age of man, is a vast and empty desert stretching for thousand of kilometers. There, water is scarce and food is hard to find; few hardy post-reptiles are the only animals larger than an ant that dare to move above the ground in the brief respite of the twilight.
Only above, of course. Below the surface, the burrowing descendants of every lineage of organisms are still thriving. Among these, there are the traptooths, remote descendants of rodents. A colony of traptooths is, of course, centered on a queen, about 1-1.5 meters long, that lies on her back inside a royal chamber kept relatively cool by air circulation. She constantly produces new young through parthenogenesis: as in whiptail lizards, the male half of this species has long disappeared. Once given birth to, the embryos are unable to move, and they keep being fed through an unusually thick and strong umbilical cord.
This embryos are the future miners, the terrible hunters of the colony. As soon as their barely ossified skeleton allows them to move, they start slowly burrowing upwards, until their whiskers sense the air: in this way, they can stop just below the surface. Here, they develop their teeth, jaws and stomachs, while the rest of the body atrophies and withers away. In their mouth they create a funnel of sand, like antlion larvae, and they lie in wait of preys. As soon as any animal touch their whiskers, the miners jerk their massive head downwards, so that the prey falls in the gaping maw, and they slam the jaws shut - swallowing whole the smaller preys, and irreparably crippling the larger ones.
Up until the point where the prey is digested, the miners behave like many other species in this environment. But here's their pecularity: miners retain the umbilical cord throughout all their adult life. And just as the queen fed them when they were embryos, now they feed her in the same way. The nourishment is collected in the massive placenta that fills most of the queen's belly, and then distributed to all the colony through the other umbilical cord. In this way, if one of the stationary miners fails to kill a prey, her blood is directly replenished with the well-fed blood of the queen. This system essentially makes all the members of a colony a huge organism with a single blood circulation.
The only exception to this arragement is the princess, an individual that could still be mistaken for any other common burrowing mammal. She's tasked with basic mantainance of the burrow, which is never very elaborated - though it tends to grow more complex as several generations of traptooths pass; and since she needs to move around, the princess is the only traptooth that loses her umbilical cord, and is instead fed with milk for all of her youth. Once the queen dies - and sooner or later, all the miners will starve as well - the princess grows into the new queen, and immediately starts bearing children, feeding provisionally on the predecesor's corpse.
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TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well... good idea but it looks pretty disgusting. BUT AWESOME IDEA!
Leggurm Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
That is so disturbingly awesome.
Concavenator Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014
The best kind of awesome!
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Submitted on
February 8, 2014
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