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In one of my last questions, Making a Predator For Chompers, Daron pointed out that I should really post an ecology question, so now I'm trying to figure out the ecology of my world based on my most common monsters: Chompers, Plop, Anklebiters (please note that Urbans make creatures and objects poisonous instead of imbuing them with extra life force(,Snappers, and Bitbugs.

Predator/Prey Interactions:

Chompers/Plops: Chompers and Plops are both opportunistic, but Plops are primarily detritivores; they eat leftovers but will eat meat whenever they get the chance. That being said, it appears that since Chompers and Plops will often encounter each other, that they will compete for food. It would seem that Chompers would almost always win these confrontations, but actually, their tube legs are vulnerable to Plop attack, so it’s 50/50 either way.

Chompers/Anklebiters: I actually see these interactions going very badly for Chompers. Anklebiters get their name from the way they attack the ankles and lower legs of a predator, trying to cripple it. Wild Anklebiters mimic flowers to the point where they practically are a flower, so Chompers can’t see attacks coming from them.

Furthermore, the Wild Anklebiter’s tunneling and bloodsucking abilities will allow them to easily ambush a Chomper and drain their bodily fluids, and Chompers should find it difficult, if not impossible, to defend themselves from such an attack, never mind removing the Anklebiter!

Urban Anklebiters are just as bad, if not worse; their clamping “beak” and pincers should allow them to cripple a Chomper with ease (by snipping its legs off), and their strong bodies should allow them to push that Chomper around after its legs are gone. Even worse, the potent toxins injected by an Urban’s stinger (or bite) can quickly take down a Chomper.

Plop/Anklebiters: Wild Anklebiters mimic flowers and tunnel to escape from predators and move from place to place safely, but A) Plops eat just about everything, and B) can follow Anklebiters through their tunnels. Thus, I see Plops becoming Anklebiter predators…but only in the wild. Why?

Because they have another form, Urban Anklebiters, which are much tougher and deadlier. They have the attitude of a hornet, the stomach (and durability) of a cockroach, with strong pincers, six quick legs, and a lethal stinger. Oh, and they are about the size of a soda bottle. Pretty big for a toxic bug. Given their diet, not to mention superior strength and defenses, I can see Urban Anklebiters becoming predators of Plop.

Snappers/Plop: Now these are more difficult. Plop don’t drown underwater, but they are also going to be slow and almost defenseless against a Snapper. Snappers are fast and voracious, and while a Plop is bigger than a Snapper and should be able to engulf it easily, they’re still going to be much slower underwater. Should be about 50/50.

Snappers/Chompers: Chompers are going to be slow compared to Snappers, in water or out, Snappers can break a Chomper’s shell or bite off their vulnerable legs, so I can see Snappers being a formidable Chomper predator. However, Calcification will likely doom a Snapper…..

Snappers/Anklebiters-Wild Anklebiters can tunnel and suck blood from their prey, but I have my doubts about their ability to penetrate a Snapper’s tough scales. Snappers have the same dietary preferences as Chompers, so while they can eat Wild Anklebiters, I don’t see them doing it often.

However, Urban Anklebiters are fierce, poisonous, and can definitely take down a Snapper.

Bitbugs: Generally, Bitbugs are small, weak, and don’t even have much of a survival instinct because of the Synergy enchantment. Basically, like Nymphs, they have no reason to really avoid death, and being basically Kirby in insect form, they aren’t especially tough, fast, or strong. However, if they reach their Level Cap, they become bloated with chaos, ticking time bombs that will infect everything within range when they explode.

Basically, they’re not predator or prey, they’re viruses in the form of a living hive that will infect everything that isn’t smart enough to stay away, horrific parasites that look cute but can easily induce nightmares.

Reproductive Strategies:

  1. Chompers-sexual budding. Once they reach the Quad stage, they begin forming a bud on their right or left side, shaped like half of an egg (with the cut end facing outward). These buds form every two months and take two days to form. Once a bud is fully formed, connecting it to an opposite bud will fuse the two into one egg, which will smoothly snap off and fall to the ground, becoming a little Biped immediately after landing.

  2. Plop-Plops generate sexually and asexually. Just one week after being born (or Spawned), they can reproduce sexually, having four to ten pod-shaped eggs two weeks later. These eggs are coated in slippery slime and are extremely resilient (they can be used as bouncy balls without harming them), to prevent predation.

  3. Anklebiters-Wild Anklebiters reproduce much like dandelions, even within the same timeframe. First is the "pollen," then comes the feather-like, airborne larvae. Due to having similar "seed" dispersal as dandelions, and almost identical durability, they are hard to uproot, let alone eliminate.

Urban Anklebiters breed like cockroaches, just a tad slower and with less resulting babies so they don't overpopulate. Basically, their fecundity is what you'd expect of cockroaches of their size. These eggs are highly toxic, retaining all the toxins their mother built up during egg development due to Urban's trash and refuse-heavy diet.

  1. Snappers-Snappers are ovoviviparous and reach sexual maturity at five months of age. They mate every three months and lay 1-6 large eggs, which leads to 4-24 eggs. These eggs take a month to hatch but have Snapper levels of durability (basically, the eggs are as tough as you'd expect from the durable Snapper).

  2. Bitbugs-The Bitbugs are replenished by the Queen, the Bitbearer, which lays 2,400 eggs per day. These eggs then hatch into Bitbugs 48 hours after they were laid.

Specifications For Best Answer:

  1. The best answer will thoroughly analyze and evaluate each monster to determine whether I've correctly placed them in the food chain and determined which one would be predator or prey for each encounter.

  2. The best answer will also evaluate each monster's offensive, defensive, and reproductive capabilities to determine whether the monster ecology is balanced (assuming this world is like this one in medieval times with the exception of monsters and magic) and won't, y'know, destroy nature! (Or pose a overwhelming threat to humanity). If it isn't, the best answer will have suggestions to fix it.

Finally, if there is a problem with my question, please let me know so I can better it. If my tags are wrong or too many, please let me know.

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  • $\begingroup$ One thing I found problematic, but not to the point of a full answer: there are only predators (and a living virus bubble, also elaborating on what exactly the chaos infection does here would be good), and predators occupying essentially similar niches at times since you say yourself if they were to meet they WOULD try to eat each other and the odds are about equal for both. This works as both competition (they occupy similar niches) and predation (they eat one another), so the competition for resources among them will probably be pretty tight. Might add some details to this later. $\endgroup$ – ProjectApex Apr 7 at 2:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias, What is the anklebiter enchantment? Camouflage? Green Thumb? Photosynthesis? Turning into one? Poison? $\endgroup$ – Writer-of-stories Jun 3 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Writer-of-stories: thanks, just added those in. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jun 3 at 19:45
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You are approaching this issue in the completely wrong way. Ethology is the study of animal behavior (e.g. how does a wolf pack hunt deer). Ecology is the study of populations (e.g. how does a wolf pack affect a herd of deer). Because you got these two confused, you are literally looking at the wrong information. Take for example:

Chompers/Anklebiters: I actually see these interactions going very badly for Chompers. Anklebiters get their name from the way they attack the ankles and lower legs of a predator, trying to cripple it. Wild Anklebiters mimic flowers to the point where they practically are a flower, so Chompers can’t see attacks coming from them.

Furthermore, the Wild Anklebiter’s tunneling and bloodsucking abilities will allow them to easily ambush a Chomper and drain their bodily fluids, and Chompers should find it difficult, if not impossible, to defend themselves from such an attack, never mind removing the Anklebiter!

Urban Anklebiters are just as bad, if not worse; their clamping “beak” and pincers should allow them to cripple a Chomper with ease (by snipping its legs off), and their strong bodies should allow them to push that Chomper around after its legs are gone. Even worse, the potent toxins injected by an Urban’s stinger (or bite) can quickly take down a Chomper

The bold parts are the only thing the ecologist cares about. Ethologists care about all the details and every step of the interaction, while ecologists just want to know the bottom line; how much did each side gain or lose? To the ecologist, there are three interactions; predation (+/-), competition (-/-), and mutualism (+/+). Lets go through the species interactions and label them.

  • Chompers/Plops: -/- (over the long term, fighting with a 50% win rate costs you because even the victor of a fight takes some damage)
  • Chompers/Anklebiters: -/+
  • Plop/Anklebiters: +/- or -/+ depending on specific subspecies of anklebiters
  • Snappers/Plop: -/-
  • Snappers/Chompers: +/- (Not sure what the bit about calcification refers to, but if event happens very rarely, it does not change this to -/-)
  • Snappers/Anklebiters: -/- (they are both competing for the same resource, i.e. chompers to eat) or -/+ depending on subspecies of anklebiters
  • Bitbugs/Anything: +/-

Something that jumps out is that chompers and plops each have - in every interaction. I want to make this extremely clear; THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM! What this implies is that chompers and plops have +/- interactions not listed (e.g. chomper:deer). Now that's out of the way, we can look at the interesting parts.

+/- interactions cause territories of each population to overlap, since one population is actively trying to have the interactions occur. A -/- interaction hurts everyone involved, so the territories of these populations tend to not overlap. Think of it this way, where are chompers going to thrive; a forest full of plops or a forest full of rabbits? This is where it gets interesting! Due to -/- interactions, the territories of chompers and plops should not overlap, and the same goes for snappers and plops. However, the territories of snappers and chompers should overlap since that is a +/- interaction. Just to add another level, anklebiters have +/- interactions with chompers and plops! On top of that, chompers' territory should overlap with anklebiters' and snappers', but snappers' should not overlap with anklebiters'!

What is important to remember is that these are tendencies. Think of it as pressure pushing the populations apart or together. If snappers and anklebiters are sharing territory, there must be some other pressure pushing them together (e.g. chompers). If there is a location with plops without any anklebiters, there must be some pressure pushed the anklebiters away that is not acting on the plops (e.g. the soil is too rocky for anklebiters to dig through).

Okay, I have actually spent way too much time on this instead of my actual ecology homework, so I will make the next 3 parts real quick.

All that ecologists care about regarding reproduction is how fast is it on average. Over the long term, having 12 babies every summer is identical to having 1 baby every month. Also, r-selected species tend to violate general rules since their population sizes are never really stable.

Only 10% of energy is passed between trophic levels. A good measure of energy is biomass. In an ecosystem, the biomass of all producers should be 10 times that of primary consumers, the biomass of all primary consumers should be 10 time that of secondary consumers, and so on. If you are worried that there are too many snappers and they eat all the chompers, compare how much each population weighs, not how many individuals there are.

There are one of 3 things you need to happen with bitbugs:

  1. They are on the losing side of a +/- interaction.
  2. Environmental factors can kill them (this is what happens to germs).
  3. They are an invasive species (this can be a nice source of conflict for a subplot).

Without one of these things, bitbugs would have already infected everything in the ecosystem.

EDIT: Something I thought I should add is that when the pressure from -/- pushes 2 populations apart, there is a little area where the populations still overlap. Think of a classical Venn Diagram. There can be a forest where chompers are in the East side and plops are in the West side with the center of the forest having both. Put the protagonist on the South side when they need to go North and the only paved road goes through the center, and you got yourself a way more interesting conflict than they chiche 'bad things are in the forest'.

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