Sludgeworm

Sludgeworms are large arthropods found on Venviri, a planet in the Kurhira Solar System. The planet's toxicity has forced the creature to evolve, allowing them to survive in incredibly polluted conditions.

Anatomy

Sludgeworms have a long, fat body, segmented with many jointed limbs. A hard, chitin exoskeleton lines each segment, the middle of their body being much larger than the head and the tail. Their heads are small, flat, and triangular, allowing them to dig easily into the soft, sulphurous soil. Three compound eyes sit on top of their heads, which allow them to watch predators and other creatures that walk over them. Small legs barely stick out from beneath their weighted bodies, which help them slowly shuffle along the ground.

Growth & Reproduction

Reproduction

Sludgeworms are usually very territorial species, defending their claims with brute force; or as much force as one can muster when they walk less than a mile an hour. This all changes in mating season, when the animals instead insist on finding a mate and ignoring other's territories. A female is not picky with her choice in mates, and will lay her eggs and place them on her back for any male to fertilise. If a male walks by her and sees unfertilised eggs, he will attempt to climb on top of her and fertilise them.

Growth

Fertilised sludgeworm eggs will slide off the female's back, and simply lay on the ground for weeks on end until they hatch. The hatched eggs will quickly decompose into the sulphurous soil, while the baby sludgeworms consume the very ground they walk on to survive. Their hardy stomachs are able to suck all the vital nutrients from the soil, something almost no other species on the planet can do.

Baby sludgeworms have a much softer exoskeleton, which allow them to move faster than adults as their movements aren't as restricted. As they age, their shells harden, and the arthropods will slow down. A rare mutation has recently occurred where the shells do not harden, and instead adults possess a soft shell, which allows them to shuffle faster. This has proved effective in evading predators, and the mutation can be seen in about 0.006% of the total planet's population of sludgeworms.

Diet

Sludgeworms are sulphurvores, creatures whose diets consist of mostly/all sulphur. They are able to get all the nutrients they need from the soil that they walk on, slowly scooping it up in their mandibles and shovelling it in their large, vacuum shaped mouths. As they walk, the leftovers are excreted and left on the ground to become part of the soil again.
These adaptable arthropods can survive in an array of environments. Living in a toxic wasteland that is Venviri, they are accustomed to the hostile weathers, pollution, and toxic soil and silverways. Sludgeworms usually inhabit sulphur deserts, unusual biomes that are coated in a sulphur rich sand. The soft soil lets these animals bury themselves from predators.
Lifespan
5 - 10 years
Average Length
12 - 18 inches
Geographic Distribution

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Venviri
Geographic Location | Nov 27, 2022

A planet in the Kurhira System. Venviri is a harvesting planet, and owned by several planets, that harvest the various resources common this planet, but rare on others.


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