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I am working on creating a sapient reptilian species from a mineral-rich Planet that has very little flora. I was wanting this species to use a super acid (specifically fluoroantimonic acid) excreted through their tails for hunting and for defense. How would this be plausible?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding. Since plants are the base of the food chain, are you sure that a planet with very little flora can sustain enough biomass to allow reptiles to thrive? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Sep 3 '18 at 5:20
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    $\begingroup$ Why? Super acid sounds fancy, but it's really not that great unless you want to protonate something specific. The most logical place to use it would be in some catalysis. If you place it on the skin to react with whatever, the question that needs to be asked is: What exactly do you want to accomplish with that? Remember, in water, the strongest acid is protonated water and biology happens mostly in water. Scientists often invent exciting sounding names (meta materials, super acid, molecular motors, ...) to get money for boring stuff. Don't be fooled by it! $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Sep 3 '18 at 5:51
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    $\begingroup$ PS: IMO the reason why an acid as defense is a great idea is pain. Acid on the skin (or in the eyes!) hurts a lot, even in small dosages. But you can get pretty painful and even dangerous a lot easier, several plants and insects have mastered that. Acids are really not that dangerous compared to other stuff - unless they are also poisonous (HCN/HF, not recommended here, takes houres). If you want serious injuries, go the opposite direction, a base - but they don't hurt. Otherwise, I recommend just some random poison. Fluoroantimonic acid is also poisonous, but I doubt that this is your point. $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Sep 3 '18 at 6:12
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Not With A Current Understanding of Biology

Fluoroantimonic acid reacts with almost all organic compounds making it completely inimical to life as we understand it. It will spontaneously explode or combust when in contact with the slightest trace of moisture. Even going to the old hand wavium scifi plot device of silicon based organisms doesn't work either since it reacts violently with that too. I can see no plausible way that the chemical reactions required to synthesize this acid could take place within an organisms body, and no way that said organism could ever safely store said acid within its self, nor deploy this acid without harming itself.

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  • $\begingroup$ Brutal, yet accurate. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Sep 3 '18 at 16:33
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Stomach acid is pretty nasty, and we (life on earth) hold it in place using sacrificial tissue and protective secretions. That wouldn't cut it in your case unless your creature was metabolising rocks as part of its diet.. which given the lack of flora sounds reasonable. A creature like that might be able to grow a sack of solidified rock coated in secretion. Whether such a creature could move much.. is a different question.

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