Concept: An organism that through its natural biological processes excretes some form of microscopic life that spreads through an environment by breaking down organic (and maybe inorganic) matter and restructuring it into a material that is beneficial to the initial organism. Said organism is an animal and a predator.
For the purposes of this question assume both the organism and the microscopic life it spawns was engineered to work together and are not a product of normal evolution.
Things I'd Like it to Do:
- Once excreted grow on its own through its own methods, though obviously not as quickly as when the initial organism is spreading it.
- It can be consumed by the organism as food when food is scarce. Potentially growing larger plant-like structures that can be eaten.
- It provides additional tactile connectivity to the spawning organism's limbs, allowing it to easily climb over walls and along ceilings covered in the substance.
- It can send signals through its mass that can provide information about the environment to the original organism. Including when other creatures have entered the vicinity and where they are.
- It is capable of being highly corrosive, making it weaken the structural integrity of barriers and forms of containment so the creature can move more freely.
- It can slowly change the local air into something toxic that can be breathed by the original organism. The toxin doesn't need to be especially potent. Probably less potent when exposed to open environments.
- It collects data about any organisms it grows over and infests. This data can be accessed by the creatures that spawn the substance.
- It can be communicated with in some way by the organism that spawned it and manipulated into growing into various forms. Including creating biological computers and tools for the organism to use.
- It is gross, sticky, and unpleasant to humans. This step is most important.
The question: What IS it exactly? A mass of cells? Bacteria? A symbiotic fungus? Or some kind of specialized virus? Am I looking at a mass of slimey flesh growing over the floor and walls?
What kind of life form could my creature be generating or acting as a host for that'd make some sense doing all the above?
Bonus Question: Are there any additional benefits my organism might have from this arrangement I've not considered? Similarly are there any major downsides?