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REP: The Barkscuttlers

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Similar to silkrunners, the barkscuttlers are spiderpillars that are actively searching for food rather than building silk traps. They tend to be rather large and predominantly live on trees, where their long necks and narrow heads are used to probe the holes and crevices in the symbiotic bark for prey, which consists mainly of flightless micropneumonopteres. With such small prey, the threads only play a role in defence and are often extended while probing to prevent surprise attacks. Barkscuttlers can be found in any forested habitat on the Northern and Western Continent and adjacent isles, but are absent from the Lost Continent. They are solitary and mostly nocturnal, with their courtship rituals being brief and simple. Eggs are usually hidden in the same crevices that provide them with food; to prevent cannibalism, they are camouflaged with excretions that form a thick, foul-tasting layer. Young barkscuttlers have larger jaws and shorter necks, entering the crevices directly for food and shelter.

Lesser honeypot spider: The honeypot spiders are an odd, divergent taxon of barkscuttlers, specialized in hiding within the gonophores of vermiphytes and capturing the pneumonopteres that pollinate the vermiphytes or distribute their seeds and larvae. For this, they tend to consume the vermiphyte's offering themselves, being effectively an omnivorous spiderpillar group. Most species are small to fit into their hiding places, but there are some large species that prey on macropneumonoptere pollinators.

Litterjaw: A member of a flattened group of ground dwellers that adapted to live in leaf litter. Their legs are short and strong, and their jaws have flanges to part the substrate when opening. They tent to snap at anything they encounter and if the prey turns out to be too big, their threads will be put to use, making them the only barkscuttler group using them for subduing prey. Their toxins aren't very potent, but their habit of biting anything that moves makes many larger animals wary of walking on thicker layers of leaf litter, since it might result in having one's legs being bitten and stung.

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© 2021 Ramul
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