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Reef Antlerworm by Abiogenisis Reef Antlerworm by Abiogenisis
Check out my Patreon for the development of this beasty! The first creature created with the help of my supporters there :)

www.patreon.com/alexries?ty=h

“The Reef Antlerworm, a robust and ill-tempered marine predator with a broad distribution in the warmer waters of Chri-irah, has been of interest to birrin natural historians, and fishermen, for some time.

Reaching a maximum length of around 3 feet, this species, one of the larger of this group, is dwarfed by the more rarely encountered giants of the deeper oceans, still manages to dominate its shallow water habitat. Hunted by divers for thousands of years for both its meat and egg masses, scientific interest has been focused on its informative anatomically adaptations, which offer important clues into the early evolution of the quadrilaterians to which the birrin belong.

Relying on surprise when hunting, the reef antlerworm insinuates itself among marine debris on reefs and wrecks, showing only the tips of its sensory tentacles and eyestalks as it waits for prey, predators or rivals. Any small creature that swims too close is rapidly subdued in an explosive tangle of tentacles that erupt from around the mouth. The huge ornamental jaws are opened during prey capture, both to threaten any opportunistic predators, and simply to make room for food to pass. Spines at the jaws’ base help push prey down the expansive gullet, most of which is swallowed whole.

The jaws, actually a slight encumbrance when feeding, come into their own when antlerworms meet one another. Prime hunting spots on a reef can be hard to come by, and prey concentrations can change with tides and seasons. There is a constant battle to secure the best reef hollows and caves, and the worms often leave their haunts to attempt to find somewhere more productive. If they find a more desirable site is already taken, both will rise up from the sea floor, jaws held wide, and face off. If one set of jaws is obviously larger than the other, the smaller worm will usually retreat. Evenly matched opponents, however begin by locking jaws and pushing one another to determine strength. If that is not enough, a furious and usually brief fight begins, each trying to injure the other. The loser, sometimes fatally wounded, retreats. If no longer mobile, it may even be partially eaten.

While not a ‘primitive’ organism, the antlerworms belong to a group that split off from the main quadrilaterian branch hundreds of millions of years ago. While the branch containing the birrin maintained its stalked eyes and sensory tentacles in many cases, they presently play no role in feeding. However, as revealed by fossils such as the BASKETWORM, what become eyestalks in the birrin were originally lophophoroid structures evolved to catch food via filter feeding. Rather than reducing their role in prey capture, the branch that become antlerworms vastly increased the size and strength of these organs, using them as powerful tentacles capable of both sensing and grasping prey. The eye spots, initially at the ends of the tentacles, evolved downwards and away from the vulnerable tips to nearer the body and are thus protected from struggling food.

These adaptations offer scientists a window into the early role of quadrilatarian sensory tentacles, and why, even if not directly involved in feeding among the birrin and their relatives, remain evolutionarily important to the group today.” 

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:iconviper2458:
Viper2458 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2019
You took inspiration from the bobbit worm, didn’t you?
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:iconlediblock2:
Lediblock2 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2019
Will we get to see some of the other members of this group? I'm interested in the abyssal giants.
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:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
Definitely, in time.
Reply
:iconragegauge:
RageGauge Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2019
Its like the bobbit worm and Satan had a baby and they abandoned it when they realized what they created. All joking aside this a really cool painting.
Reply
:iconeuropa35:
Europa35 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
like a surprisingly more nightmarish version of the bobbit worm
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:iconjedi-master-dragon:
Jedi-master-Dragon Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
I guess those things at the base of the 'antlers' are like saw blades to cut the prey in half.
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Yep, as the jaws retract they tear the prey apart and feed it into the mouth 
Reply
:iconjedi-master-dragon:
Jedi-master-Dragon Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Yeesh.
Reply
:iconbusterbuizel:
BusterBuizel Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, thanks for the inspiration! I used this as reference for a boss NPC my players encountered in my tabletop RPG game XD

Suffice to say: their reactions were priceless
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
LOL excellent XD
Reply
:iconbusterbuizel:
BusterBuizel Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
It was on land too so they never suspected a thing until it popped up in a random encounter.
Reply
:iconguessswho9:
GuesssWho9 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Yikes
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
bitey boy
Reply
:iconkanto-bro:
Kanto-bro Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018
A small cluster of bobbit worms have taken up residence on a beach near my house in Australia, I presume they were carried by some tropical storm or bird from Indonesia.

I was going for a little free dive to catch some lunch and noticed a couple, having no knowledge of what they were. Being a fan of your work this image came into my head I got out of there as quick as I could fearing their mother was around somewhere. 

It only clicked that this wasnt a real creature on the way home and I realised I had to do some googleing to find out what I saw.


So yea on that same dive I saw poisonous corals, slugs and fish, two small sharks and a sea snake... but I called it short becuase of a small worm.
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:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
I can understand that. The Bobbit Worm is a legit fierce hunter. Some are longer than people...
Reply
:icongrummanf-14:
GrummanF-14 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018
The jaws remind me of the Bobbit Worm
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:iconblu-dimension:
Blu-Dimension Featured By Owner Edited Jul 4, 2018  Hobbyist Filmographer
I'm getting Subnautica flashbacks. 
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:iconguessswho9:
GuesssWho9 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I think he's working for them.
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
;)
Reply
:iconultimatecharge:
UltimateCharge Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2018
Looks like Squidshark concept art... hmmm.
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Little bit of the design DNA for sure
Reply
:icongeanera:
geanera Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2018
Great work!!!
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconcybernuth:
cybernuth Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2018  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
What a beautiful Nope!
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
the best nope!
Reply
:iconspiderwingfury:
SpiderwingFury Featured By Owner May 29, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I already love the bobbit worm, this just takes it to a whole other level. Your artwork is some of the best I have seen on alien wildlife

Great job+fav Clap 
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:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Love me some creepy marine wormies!
Reply
:iconmissshirisaido:
MissShirisaido Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Man all your stuff is so cool and so realistic. I love your marine aliens even though I'm scared of the ocean normally because the water is so hard to see through. (You never know what's down there) But it's really pretty when you get pictures like these and real life animals too
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:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
The water is a spooky place... part of its magic :)
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:iconnazhiandniro:
NazhiandNiro Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2018  Student Digital Artist
The real life ones freak me out!
Amazing artwork!
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
This one is made up, but HEAVILY inspired by the bobbit worm
Reply
:iconnazhiandniro:
NazhiandNiro Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, I always wanted to see a giant version of the bobbit worm. Now that yours is alien it's even better!
Reply
:iconshockalocker:
shockaLocKer Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Bobbit worm?
Reply
:iconnazhiandniro:
NazhiandNiro Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2018  Student Digital Artist
yeah
Reply
:icon123er33:
123er33 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2017
Definitely - You have amazing fantasy!
Reply
:iconberkenboschosaurus:
Berkenboschosaurus Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2017
nice !
Reply
:iconithinkofanamelater:
IThinkOfaNameLater Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2017
Is this inspired by the bobbit worm?
those things are already alien enough.
XD
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
They are yeah :P
Reply
:iconithinkofanamelater:
IThinkOfaNameLater Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2017
Ya
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:icontemlyn:
temlyn Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017
very possible scenario!
Reply
:iconviewer-for-2015:
Viewer-for-2015 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2017
Absolutely amazing piece of art work! Seriously, i could be fooled into believing that this was a real creature independent of the beasties of the deep you drew inspiration from. Absolutely beautiful piece of work and i can see a bit of Wayne Barlowe in there... although' the difference is just as evident as the likeness and reminds you that this is the work of another genius; Abiogenesis. I do have a little question however if you ever have the time too spare and answer it for me... Just how big are its giant "cousins" lurking in the deeper parts of the ocean?
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, glad you like it!

Its relatives can get very large indeed, perhaps exceeding 30 feet
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:iconmynameisnotdave23:
mynameisnotdave23 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
NOPE
Reply
:iconspeculatimsauru5:
SpeculaTimsauru5 Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Dat is BADASS!!!
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
BEAST
Reply
:iconspeculatimsauru5:
SpeculaTimsauru5 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Wink/Razz 
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:iconmynameisnotdave23:
mynameisnotdave23 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
reminds me of the Silurian.
Reply
:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
One of the best of all eras!
Reply
:iconmynameisnotdave23:
mynameisnotdave23 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
that is very true!
Reply
:iconanalienscientist:
AnAlienScientist Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Cambrium is cool to!
Reply
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Submitted on
December 29, 2015
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