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If you've seen my other questions, you know what Chompers are. I already have sky Chompers, or Droppers, but now I want to account for the possibility of aquatic or tunneling variants of Chompers.

Chompers are essentially mutant eggs, the size of an elephant bird egg, with two beady black eyes, a horizontal "fissure" with sharp edges for a mouth, and two tube-like legs, each ending in a suction cup. They are technically omnivorous (and opportunistic), but they clearly prefer meat, hunting down and eating small animals (even larger creatures such as humans) whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Now, since monsters in my world are creatures mutated by chaos energy from the Fracture in Reality, Chompers obviously hold large amounts of chaos energy. This is why Droppers exist; regular Chompers have vestigial wings, paddle-like appendages, and every so often chaos energy causes a Chomper to develop those into actual wings and mutate a mouth on their ventral side.

Now, this makes sense; vestigial wings developing into full-blown wings isn't much of a change in the grand scheme of things, but the changes necessary for tunneling or swimming will be much more difficult, as there is no real biological basis for them. You see, in order for chaos energy to mutate something in a living thing, it has to be there.

What Chaos Energy Can Do:

  1. Turn a vestigial trait into a fully developed trait, ie. vestigial wings into functional wings

  2. "Awaken" dormant traits, like turning whale flippers into actual legs, complete with feet

  3. Warp existing traits; some examples would be turning hands into hooves, talons, paws, flippers, or even wings; turning jaws into a snout; turning a nose into a trunk; or turning hide into scales.

  4. Enhance an existing trait; ie. giving a creature supernatural strength, speed, durability, or intelligence.

Finally, chaos energy can turn body parts into tumorous growths, which develop into odd traits like additional heads, tentacles, or even parts of other organisms. This is the force behind creatures like Medusa or the chimera, which are really just ordinary creatures that have been horrifically mutated. I mention this only because it could be the only explanation for Chompers gaining tunneling appendages or fins and gills.

However, it is also extremely rare, occurring in perhaps 1% of monsters. This is my problem; in order for there to be aquatic or subterranean Chompers, they either have to start adapting for a more subterranean or aquatic lifestyle (through natural selection) before chaos energy can help them out or they have to be one of the 1% and not only mutate something that will help them dig or live underwater but survive long enough to pass that on to their offspring.

Thus, my question is How Can Chompers Develop Tunneling or Aquatic Variants?

Specifications for Best Answer:

1. Take It From The Top: The best answer will not only cover the how but why of this question, specifically why Chompers would start digging or swimming in the first place and how they'd likely adapt to do it. #1 should also apply to Chompers as Bipeds and Quads and take the abilities of Chaos Energy and how evolution works into account.

Yes, Chaos Energy mutations fall under evolutionary principles; like evolution, Chaos Energy usually adapts (AKA warps, mutates, changes) what's already there, and like evolution, there has to be an intermediary stage for something to develop (this is why the 1% has to develop tumorous growths before they can develop something like extra heads or snake hair).

2. Explain The Result: The best answer will also be thorough, covering the different ways Chompers could adapt for an aquatic/swimming or subterranean/tunneling lifestyle to determine the most likely adaptations (and path of development!) for both. I can think of two examples:

  1. Armadillos-Like regular eggs, Chompers usually sink in water (armadillos do this too). However, they can also gulp in air, inflating their gut, then float on water (yes, armadillos do this too, they're like living submarines). Regular Chompers are vulnerable to Snapper attack, being pinned underwater or having their shell bitten through, but a floating Chomper can't be pinned and should be about impossible to bite into, since the strike of a Snapper's jaws should A) be unable to get grip or leverage and B) push the Chomper away, out of biting range. However, I'm not sure how to develop Chompers from floaters to full-blown swimmers.

  2. Digging-Chompers have powerful acid and their jaws can eat through wooden doors, with their enamel shell (and by extension, teeth) being 1-7 times tougher than regular enamel. Thus, it seems logical that Chompers can eat their way through the ground, sort of like the dwarves in Artemis Fowl. However, Bipeds don't have a wide enough gape to fit into their own tunnels, so we either need Quad-style physiology (with a mouth at the end of the body, like Droppers or Torchblow), which can result from Chaos Energy mutations, a wider gape (just wide enough to make a hole a Biped can fit into, think thylacine gape), or scoop-like limbs and a pointed front, like a mole/bulldozer hybrid.

I'm not sure which would win out, though. The wider gape seems most likely, but after getting a wider gape, why would a Chomper develop for tunneling when it suddenly can eat everything around it with such greater ease?

As you can see, I have ideas for tunneling and aquatic Chompers. The trouble is, I don't know how they'd develop to that point.

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  • $\begingroup$ (So. I have tunneling chompers figured out, but not so much aquatic. Here goes nothing.) The ones that tried to eat everything became a problem, so they were hunted down quickly. However, some of them decided to become ambush predators of a sort, digging tunnels underground that things could fall into. These networks are NOT small, but they are obvious enough that getting close to them is something SPECTACULARLY dumb. This is because grass does not grow in the loosened dirt, making where it has tunneled(and by extension, where it can surface) easy to spot. $\endgroup$ Jun 3 '21 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ (this works best if combined with it having a somewhat useless enchantment.) They are considered a nuisance to road-builders and travellers, nothing more. After all, it will gladly eat trash ,being blind. Why go out of your way to kill it, when it can become a landfill? $\endgroup$ Jun 3 '21 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Writer-of-stories: why not post an answer? Do you lack the reputation or something? Also, how do Chompers tunnel? $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jun 3 '21 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ It didn't cover both, so it would be a REALLY poor answer. I am talking about the ones with a larger gape. The ones who tried to eat everything were hunted down whenever they appeared, so the ambushing few were the only ones left. $\endgroup$ Jun 3 '21 at 20:15
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Behold! Torpedo eggs! I know it sounds like a stretch but let me explain.

I'm a bit late to answer but hear me out. Eggs actually have this thing called the chalaza which holds the yolk balanced and the fetus facing upward. It's sort of a string attached to both ends of the yolk and eggshell. Now you've mentioned this in your questions before but the shells on chomping egg heads are separate from the body allowing them to open and rotate. Do you start seeing what I'm getting at?

Chompers (and their evolved forms) have legs with suction cups which are sometimes tentacles in the evolved forms. I propose long almost oval shaped Chompers with the calcareous shell split 3/4ths of the way (not exactly in the middle). The shorter underside has four to six tentacles which are sort of flattened like flippers but still have suction cups to hold on to things. The aquatic Chomper swims by rotating its bottom half clockwise and then counter clockwise at incredible speeds, acting as a sort of submarine propeller.

The head of the Chomper (we need a new name) is elongated and pointy but not sharp, just enough to be hydrodynamic. It would have an eye on either side or possibly none at all, instead relying on smell or echolocation to aim for its prey. The pocket of air that's in normal eggs is repurposed to serve as a swim bladder. The vestigial wings serve to stabilize the body but are too underdeveloped to aid in swimming. On land they allow the Sea Chomper to keep its head almost upright like a crocodile while stationary. Otherwise it keeps them tucked to its body while crawling on land with its tentacles. The mouth can be any way you like it: vertically slit to make a crocodile mouth or a small jaw underneath like a shark.

In the sea they hunt by ramming into their prey at full speed (about 40-50mph) to knock them unconscious. Afterward they open their jaws and gobble them up and digest them with their potent gastric acids. Against sailor ships they do something different. Instead of ramming into them they latch on using their tentacles, positioning their heads face first towards the hull. Then they start spinning their head like a drill and slowly but surely get ready to get inside to eat some sailors. They can also use their tongue to melt the hull but drilling is the fastest method.

Wait a minute! This design works underground too!

The exact same body plan is just as viable on land. To dig the Chomper grabs the surrounding earth with its tentacles and starts drilling with its head. In this case smell and echolocation also come in handy. The drilling Chomper can locate prey from underneath and pierce it while emerging from the ground. Or I guess it can burry itself head first and spin its tentacles to slap its enemy to death. But what I'd actually go for would be the antlion strategy: drill a pit into the ground. When something falls in spin the tentacles, grab them and pull them in for the kill.

It can also roll on the ground almost as fast as a Spikagi but it only works sideways so it won't be able to hunt this way. It's more likely to be an escape tactic if retreating underground becomes impossible or if its tentacles get cut off.

They can swim and drill very deep!

Eggs being resistant to compression are already tough but you made them even more indestructible by making them enamel instead. Because of this aquatic Chomper variants can swim very very deep, becoming unreachable to humans even if they had diving equipment. This is the same underground.

This is the best design I could come up with. Hopefully you can find a better name for it because I am not great at that sort of thing :)

EDIT: I glossed over the why part of the question so I'm adding it here. Swimming is something all Chomping eggs can do, albeit not quickly due to them being buoyant and their stubby legs. In any case all Chompers will be faced with bodies of water at some point. Since the only soft part of their body is their legs, adaptations would start there. Flippers, then a more hydrodynamic form and lastly (thanks to the speed) access to a fish as a food source (crabs and molusks as an intermediate). Digging to escape predators or access roots will lead to a similar body type. Chomper legs are soft and thus are badly suited for digging. A smart Chomper will use their head instead, rubbing it right and left to displace dirt. A pointy head is better for that and tentacle legs are good to navigate in tight spaces.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is great, thank you! Exactly what I was looking for! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Oct 21 '21 at 3:21

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