Squid Trees

Discussion in 'Bestiary Applications' started by Dekerrex, Nov 23, 2021 at 12:23 PM.

  1. Dekerrex

    Dekerrex Watcher from The Void Ex-Staff Gold Donator

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    Name: Squid Trees, Hiithric Trees, Ambulodendra, Veholemhafae (Thaniik)

    Description:
    [​IMG]
    Squid Trees refers to a family of organisms endemic to Undas'Hiith that blur the line between plant and animal. All Squid Trees have three main body segments: The Mop, The Stem, and The Fronds:
    -The Mop is radially symmetrical and consisting of muscular tentacle like limbs of various sizes that have thin porous skin for absorbing water and nutrients, but capable of bearing the weight and holding onto objects.
    -The Stem is the main body of the Squid tree, with a heart-like pump, lungs, and other organs near its base, and muscular vascular woody tissue throughout the rest, forming a hard cellulose based shell around the animal.
    -The Fronds are the top limbs, which are bilaterally symmetrical and are also muscular. Each frond has a large surface area and anchored by strong muscles to the stem. Each frond slowly pulsates a reddish blackish pattern to absorb various forms of light at various intensities. Simple eyes sit atop the frond that detect direction and presence of light and little else.
    Some species of squid trees are much larger or smaller than others, have more extreme body segments, or have other adaptations suitable for other niches in a squid forest. There are primarily three types of squid trees: Small, being no bigger than a shrubbery; Medium, about the size of a pine; and Largest, coming to sizes akin to baobabs.
    Young squid trees appear more like flying squids, flapping their many fronds like wings, whilst their tentacles drift behind them, giving them their common names.


    Behavior:
    Squid Trees will actively migrate with both the seasons and the cycle of nutrients, with entire forests traveling hundreds of miles over the course of a year, leaving a trail of drained topsoil to fallow in their absence. Some species have a much more passive lifestyle, and like plants on earth, simply grow taller or climb on top of their competitors to access light. These squid trees have often had theirs eyes and unused muscles become vestigial as they grow. Conversely many smaller bodied species which need less energy for bursts of activity will fight one another for territory, going so far as killing adversaries under extreme circumstances. Regardless of overall level of activity, all squid trees have adopted a number of defense mechanisms, ranging from a wild array of toxins and chemicals, to simple brute force with muscular limbs


    Tamability:
    Depending on size and specie, about as tamable as a house plant or a forest that can walk away from you. They can be kept in confined spaces for farming, but cannot comprehend orders, training or anything outside of instinctive needs.


    Where is it found?:
    Endemic to Undas'Hiith but introduced to the galaxy largely through trading. They are most common on worlds with Remnant settlements where they were planted for harvest, or worlds with commercial squid tree plantations. Squid trees will stick to subarctic and temperate biomes when grounded, and survive well in forests of normal woody trees where they will simply crawl on top of other trees to get access to light.


    Rarity:
    Somewhat rare, as you are far less likely to see them than normal trees, but are not endangered. Products can be easily purchased through various markets.

    Diet/Method of gaining nutrients and energy:
    They are capable of photosynthesis and radiosynthesis via alternating between melanosomes and red chlorophyll in the skin of their fronds. Adults gain the majority of their energy from processing visible and UV light. They get the rest of their vitamins and minerals from the soil and absorbing detritus and carrion.


    Products?:
    - Blood is rich in vitamins minerals and sugar. Can be boiled down into nutrient dense syrups, consumed raw, or fermented into hard ciders
    - Spore sacks are full of a creamy nutritious liquid similar to sweetened milk
    - Spores can be eaten like caviar, but their insides are thick and gelatinous like bobas. About as nutritious as a small egg.
    - Organs and limbs can be prepared and eaten like any meat
    - Red, brown, and black pigments can be extracted from their fronds, allowing for the creation of various dyes.
    - Young can safely be eaten whole.
    - Venomous species can have their toxins extracted and made into traditional medicines and muscle relaxants.
    - Outer cuticle and stem "bark" can be harvested and used as lumber. Squid tree lumber is a pale blue and very vascular. It must be dried and drained of blood before use. Once dried, their lumber is somewhat vacuous and soft, like a mixture of cork and fir. Not ideal for large construction.


    Reproduction:
    Squid trees will hum ultrasound to each other to signal readiness to mate. The loudest individuals will summon a crowd squid trees to whom it will inject its gametes into to fertilize. Impregnated squid trees form four to twelve spore sacks full of nutritious secretions to feed the spores as they develop into young squid trees. As the spore sacks ripen, they dry out and squeeze tightly on the young squid trees inside building up pressure. Squid forests will coordinate mass spawnings where they will unanimously eject their millions of collective offspring into the air from their spore sacks. The young squid trees then actively soar along wind currents for up to a few days, using their fronds as wings, until they find a safe place to ground themselves. After which point, they never fly again, and grow into their sessile adult forms.


    Size:
    Depending on type and species, their family comes in all shapes and sizes.


    Weight:
    About as much as a plant of corresponding size, if slightly heavier from liquid volume.


    Lifespan:
    Typically live longer than animals, but shorter than normal plants, due to their metabolisms. The largest species could potentially live for multiple centuries.


    Abilities:
    -Feeds on both UV radiation and visible light. They can alternate between what they feed on by opening and closing chromatophores that contain red chlorophyll or radiotrophic melanosomes, capable of feeding on both at once, or one at a time, depending on environmental restrictions.
    -Juveniles are capable of flight, but cannot take off again once grounded.
    -Capable of travelling long distances by shambling their tentacles on the ground.
    -Capable of physically defending itself via assaulting threats with their tentacles.
    -Some species passively prey on would-be herbivores through venomous stings in their tentacles.


    Flaws:
    - Easily susceptible to heat stroke.
    - Need UV and visible light to stay healthy, cannot survive on just one for too long.
    - Cannot survive in arid dry environments, or typically warm environments.
    - Slow metabolism and limb structure prevents them from traveling quickly once grounded.
    - Only capable of short bursts of movement at a time, similar to lizards.
    - Difficult to farm in a closed system due to their lifespan dispersing them across wide distances, they will need to be artificially grounded, and their soils frequently fertilized. Easier to cut down the old and let the young continue to grow.
    - Take numerous decades to mature to get the most products out of a single harvest.
    - Wood isn't strong enough to make large structures such as buildings out of
    - If the right planetary conditions are present, can easily become invasive as millions of young travel along wind currents across continents during mass spawnings
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021 at 12:32 PM
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