Speculative Evolution Wiki
Speculative Evolution Wiki

The gardenworm basks in the sun, allowing the millions of green algae that grow on its back to photosynthesize.

The garden worm is an autotrophic, semi-terrestrial bristle worm from the Central Desert of 200 million AD. It is in the family Phyllobranchidae.

At daybreak, garden worms come slithering out of the fissures in the rock and spread themselves out to catch the rays of the rising sun. They hump up their middle sections and begin to unfurl green, fernlike tissues that branch and fan out from the segments of its body. These 'leaves' are fleshy extensions of the garden worm's body, but they can act like real leaves as well, because they are packed full of green algae. Just like real leaves, they convert sunlight into food. As a result, like Human-era Convoluta worms, garden worms have no need for mouths and guts.

The garden worm is about 18 inches (46 centimeters) long and some 0.25 inch (6.4 millimeters) high. Its natural habitat is the maze of flooded crevices and caverns riddling the limestone beneath the Central Desert. But food is scarce here and so the garden worm has solved the problem by developing a symbiotic relationship with the green algae. The algae provide nourishment, the worm provides locomotion, carrying the algae to the surface sunlight in order to photosynthesize.

Sunbathing is a risky business, however. Parties of terabyte warriors, carried by transporters, will fire sticky threads, gluing an unwary garden worm to the ground or to the rock. If this happens, the immobilized worm's algal tissues will be cut at by transporter terabytes, stealing its algae. Though the garden worm does fight back. It can issue a secretion that dissolves the glue. The bonds weaken and tear and soon the worm is free, minus a few algae. It will furl its green lobes and wriggle away to safety.

When the garden worms are not out sunbathing, they are swimming in the underground watery caverns at night. Down here, garden worms are hunted by such predators as slickribbons. For slickribbons, garden worms are more nutritious than gloomworms but more difficult to catch, dodging the hunters with their agile swimming action. When being chased by a predator through the caverns, a garden worm will use a special defense. It will squirt out a disgusting liquid, right in the path of the attacker, buying the garden worm just enough time to get away.

The Future is Wild Species
5 Million Years BabookariCarakillerCryptileDeathgleanerDesert rattlebackGannetwhaleGrykenScrofaShagratSnowstalkerSouth American rattlebackSpink
100 Million Years FalconflyFalse spitfire birdGrass treeGreat blue windrunnerLurkfishOcean phantom
PoggleRed algaeReef gliderRoachcutterSilver spiderSpindletrooperSpitfire beetleSpitfire birdSpitfire treeSwampusToraton
200 Million Years BumblebeetleDeathbottleDesert hopperForest flishGarden wormGloomwormLichen treeMegasquidOcean flishRainbow squidSharkopathSilverswimmerSlickribbonSlithersuckerSquibbonTerabyte