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Aquarius III: Ecosystem by Wrathofautumn Aquarius III: Ecosystem by Wrathofautumn
This ecosystem goes by the chemosythensis food chain, an independent system which does not need sunlight to live. Instead it uses Sea Vents from the ocean floor which supply metal sulfides from the crust to bacteria which produce it for food. This in turn, becomes the basic food source for all higher life forms. These sea vents create hot zones in the ocean without affecting the layer of ice above; unfortunately, only a few creatures venture outside these Hot Zones because of the lethally freezing temperatures.

THere are tubeworms, which function the same as on Eden. Then you got a floral creature called the Glow Flower. It's carnivourous as it feeds on the bacteria using filters on the rings beneath the leave. About every year, it grows a new one that signifies it's age. Consequently, the bacteria they feed on causes them to glow a neon green, attracting predators to their tasty leaves. They compensate for this by regnerating lost leaves and reproducing fast enough to keep up with how fast they are eaten.

The only known species to eat these plants are a type of shrimp called the Pale Locust. About the size of your hand, they have a transparent carapace and travel in numbers for safety. Besides the Glow Flowers, they also feed on Ice Corals, which have similar natures to the Glow Flowers.

Unfortunately, they have a predator to be wary of: the ironside crab. When first born, it'll feed on its dead mother's carcass, which is a good sore of metal sulfides and iron. By the time it's shed its way into an adult, it replaces it weak chitin shell with a sturdier carapace of mainly iron. They are extremely territorial, and will fight with competing males over territory, food sources, and mating.

Two orifices beneath the back legs serve as a jet pack to give it a boost of speed when chasing prey. The gills on its sides take hydrogen from water and store them into these sacs to give it that boost of speed. Once at full throttle, it'll swipe its razor sharp claws at these delicate shrimp and munch them to bits with its mandibles.

As a side note, attached to the ironsides crab in the picture is a barbed tapeworm. A sea parasite, it searches for creatures to feed on and the barbs on its body prevent it from being removed. It reproduces by dividing itself and is attracted to bright lights. Consequently, it has a tendency to chase after submarines, even though it'd mean going into the cold zones.

Besides shrimp though, it does like the taste of cuddlefish, fish with no sight but a keen sense of smell. The only problem is that it hardly ever leaves it symbiotic partner, the bloodflower. This poisonous sea anemone uses its brightly colored tentacles and body to attract shrimp and ironside crabs to their doom. As the cuddlefish does help to clean it and tend wounds with its slimy yet remedial skin, the anemone provides shelter for it and lets it share food.

At the top of the food chain, however, is the knuckled squid. It moves around using a jet on its head to propell forward. Its four tentacles come equipped not only with suckers, but a sensitive pad on each tip adept for the sense of touch, even making them ticklish. Highly intelligent, they communicate with their kindred using a pattern of colors similar to the camouflage trait shared by cephalopods on Eden. The can manipulate their enviroment and have been discovered to have crudlesy constructed homes out of stones and evidence of a society similar to cro-magnon behavior. The presence of the Kannists frightens them and makes them inquisitive. They are awe struck by the strange feel of their suits and their labs. They seem to prove curious enough that they attempt to make consistent conversation with the submarine, which has been equipped with a translator designed to communicate with them.
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September 7, 2008
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