In my military sci fi story in which a squad of private contractors have to contend with hostile creatures reliant on scent and mechanoreception to hunt, I wanted to keep the sci-fi 'hard' and plausible as I could--within the context of a story about space marines fighting space monsters of course--and wanted to build an ecosystem capable of explaining why mechanoreception developed as a primary sense over both sight and hearing.
After shopping around with Mist, Fog, low-light and Cave environments and running into a couple problems specific to each, I've settled on something like an unrelenting dust storm that covers the small backwater outpost the squad is sequestered in. There is intense noise and almost zero visibility, explaining why they creatures don't hear very well or have developed vision to hunt, despite the obvious advantage that enhanced eyesight provides predators. The landscape is relatively flat and of course, sandy, so it makes sense for the creatures to hunt via mechanoreception in a way modelled after the Central American Wandering Spider.
The Question What environmental conditions could make an extremely long-lasting sandstorm? At least a "season" if not, optimally, a year+? Central to the premise is the cabin fever that begins to grip some of the characters, for they've been stuck behind a shrinking force field for about six months.
Does the planet have to be tidal-locked? As I understand it, most dust storms only last up to an hour and generally "flatten out" at night, which I guess is a way to describe them weakening due to a lack of heat. Can I have a 24/7 dust storm that persists through the night? Would it be plausible to have it running, but perhaps weaken, at night?
I know I phrase my questions like "can I have" etc but I'm sure you understand what I mean. I want to go as 'hard' as I can, so that at the very least a discerning reader would be able to pick up on at least some level of development of the creature design and environment, rather than just 'I want THIS monster and THIS monster", so if anybody more learned could drop some science on me and explain the systems that would enable such a sandstorm, or why it simply not within the realm of possibility.
OH, this is NOT earth.
Thank you very much, in advance.