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Im trying to write a story which takes place on tidal locked planet in permanent twilight/night zone. Im interested in zone where "time of day" gradually changes between twilight and night. Lets say its somewhat hospitable with ~ 12 degrees celsius due to warm winds and some moonlight. What flora could be there? Since there are so little sunlight I suppose photosynthesis is out of the question for plants. Can plants theoretically have some kind of respiration or gain energy from alternative source (e.g. geothermal, wind currents, magnetic or rains)?

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  • $\begingroup$ related? worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/174248/… $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Aug 22 at 17:25
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    $\begingroup$ If it's tidally locked how can shift between twilight and night occur? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Aug 22 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Alex. Welcome to WB. Take a look at the tour. worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/tour You have 3 fine questions here but it should be 1 question per post. Cut away 2 and save them, ask the one then see what ideas the answers give you, then bring the next and the next. Multiple sequenced questions are fine. Also, consider accepting spelling changes that the fine WB stack offers you. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Aug 22 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the input, i tried to narrow the question to one topic. $\endgroup$
    – pewyrtu
    Aug 22 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch By shift i mean change in illuination dependant on geography, not time, if that makes sense. I.e. the farther from sunlight side you go, the darker it gets. $\endgroup$
    – pewyrtu
    Aug 22 at 18:10
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It is like the dark ocean as opposed to the lighted ocean

On the ever-sunlit side of your world there is a riot of plant and animal life.

In your crepuscular zone the sun never climbs over the horizon. There are some of the plants that are on the sunny side, stunted to varying degrees and some of the animals these autotrophs support. They are stunted by the low light but also the strong winds - as moisture laden air from the bright side cools in the dark side its pressure drops, resulting in constant winds blowing from light to dark.

Mostly, your twilight world is fueled by the exuberant produce of the light side. This is how it works in the dark ocean - the produce from the top falls down and fuels life deeper. In your world wind and water (but especially wind!) move organic material to the dark side where it forms the base of the food chain. Detrivores and giant fungi flourish.

As one moves farther away from the terminator, the remaining plants are those that need less and less light - understory plants like ferns and mosses. Farther into the dark creatures are rare, and when some lost creature or windborne vegetation from the bright side gets that far, the hagfish and crab equivalents scuttle across the ice fields for the rare feast.

Deep into the frozen dark there are other lifeforms which subsist on chemical or electrical energy, or on the phase changes produced by melting and thawing ices. These energy forms are too rarefied for the creatures that use them to compete with photosynthesizers for nutrients. But as with the ecosystems around deep ocean vents, in their own realm the dark side chemosynthesizers are the dominant life forms.

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    $\begingroup$ Following this into the real world: look at the life that is found deep within cave systems. $\endgroup$
    – sdfgeoff
    Aug 23 at 9:22
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I'm imagining very large carnivorous plants. Hear me out: The plants would have to have very large leaves to take full advantage of the twilight/moonlight that was available. And, by adopting a carnivorous strategy like, for example, the Venus flytrap, pitcher plant, or sundew, they might obtain nutrients that the dim light doesn't give them enough energy to get.

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    $\begingroup$ There is a swamp on top of a volcano in Kauai and it is loaded with sundews - tiny carnivorous plants which catch the insects from farther down that are blown up to the top of the mountain. The winds in the twilight zone would similarly nourish your carnivorous plants. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Aug 23 at 2:29

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