I have an idea for an encounter in my world that goes like this...
A weary group of adventurers are trekking through a great ancient forest. This forest is avoided by most due to strange tales of the forest attacking travelers.
Undeterred, the stalwart group of heroes delves into the foreboding wilderness to reach their goal; an ancient city long thought lost or even a myth. As the days pass, the trails disappear and the forest is clogged with dense underbrush and the trunks of trees are wrapped in vines and ivy.
As they press through the mass of green, they begin to notice thorns from some of the larger vines puncturing their skin and as they begin to realize just how tangled they are, the vines begin to constrict...
- Must rely on other plants (namely trees, though it could work on rocks too) for rigidity
- Have thorns, the thorns should be able to siphon bodily fluids (namely blood) as a nutrient source, think of it as a viney mosquito
- Be able to contract. It does not need to be aware and intentionally constrict, but should begin to constrict in some manner when creatures get tangled.
- Mutual symbiosis. I want this creature/plant to be parasitic to trees, but I also want the presence of the vines to be a net benefit to the trees. There may be time between creature feedings so the vines will need the stability a tree offers...plus I don't want all the trees to be dead.
- Will not be rooted to the ground but rather the tree.
- Can grow up to 30 feet long and up to six inches wide at the base
Things to consider in an answer:
- How do the thorns work, what mechanism allows them to extract fluids
- How do the vines constrict, if they can also lift a creature that would be a bonus
- How does the vine contribute to the well being of the host? (I want it to be a mutually beneficial arrangement) Keep in mind the size of the vine, let me know if the value to the tree likely ever becomes a detriment to the tree.
- What type of creature in the real world most resembles what I have described?