3
$\begingroup$

The natural sequel to Making a Predator For Wild Anklebiters, which was inconclusive. You see, Wild Anklebiters are chimeric monsters-being equal parts flower, worm, and leech-with a rather problematic enchantment: Vivification.

Basically, when a monster or creature kills (or eats) a Wild Anklebiter, a fraction of that Anklebiter's essence infuses the killer (or consumer). This makes the consumer slightly stronger, slightly tougher, slightly faster...sounds great right? Well, there's just one problem. The more Anklebiters one kills or consumes, the greater one's chances of cancer. Kill 10 Anklebiters, and you are certain to get cancer somewhere.

However, there is an exception. Chompers, Plop, and other Anklebiters (Wild or Urban) can eat Anklebiters because they metamorphose. They don't develop cancer no matter how many Anklebiters they eat because all that essence is being harnessed for evolution. After they evolve, sure, it's a different story, but they could work. Or could they? For such little monsters, Anklebiters have a lot going for them:

  • Petal-like tentacles with sharp edges, used to latch onto prey and dig tunnels through soil
  • Retractable fangs, used to drain bodily fluids from prey, paired with painkilling saliva
  • False pollen that causes fatigue, mild vertigo, and a loss of sense of direction (could just be sedative, but the idea is to cause creatures to stay put and/or lie down so they can drink their blood and whatnot)
  • Alluring nectar
  • A stretchy gut that enables Wild Anklebiters to consume large prey (like a Plop), though at the possible cost of being unable to fit down their tunnels
  • Weed-like regenerative ability (they're basically monstrous dandelions) and ability to reproduce sexually or via pollen to create airborne larvae

The trouble is, each of these predators lacks a certain something:

  • Plops are like slugs, and I'm not sure if that would make them immune or susceptible to Anklebiter (false) pollen, seeing as said pollen apparently works on other species' mucosal tissue

  • Chompers would likely be immune to Anklebiter pollen, as they do gas exchange through their eggshells, but their tube legs are a glaring vulnerability Anklebiter "prey" can and will attack

  • Surely Wild Anklebiters aren't the predator I'm looking for...I feel like they'd either deliberately avoid each other or just coexist, except in some unusual circumstance (scarcity of food, for example, is a common trigger for cannibalism)

  • Urban Anklebiters are good (basically giant cockroaches but predatory, highly toxic, and possessing of strong pincers and sharp stingers) but they live in cities as opposed to the meadows and forests their Wild counterparts haunt, so they'd rarely interact

Because of this, I believe another species of metamorphosing organism would be better: insects!

  • Bees could reduce Anklebiter numbers by eating their pollen, not to mention reduce their false pollen count (if they somehow avoid becoming a food source for them)
  • Grubs and caterpillars could both harness Vivification for metamorphosis and are voracious plant predators to boot
  • Various other insect's larval stages harm or kill flowers (only larval stages will avoid death by cancer, so they are the only viable predatory option)
  • Giant insects (for this question, I'm focusing on giant caterpillars) are a thing in my setting, and with Wild Anklebiter essence causing increased growth, Anklebiter predation would add a certain layer of realism to them (so they aren't just the result of random mutation) plus giant insects could eat more Anklebiters (and do more damage overall) than regular-sized insects

My question is, what would be the best Anklebiter predator?

Specifically, if one were to evaluate Chompers, Plop, other Anklebiters, grubs and caterpillars, and giant caterpillars, which one would be the most effective predator of Wild Anklebiters? These things pose a considerable danger to humans and their livestock as is, so they need a decent predator. (Note: If the links seem unsuited as a reference, please let me know so I can rework them to link to different questions. Thank you!)

Specifications:

  1. The best answer will take an Anklebiter’s strengths, weaknesses, and abilities into account and determine which of the above predators have what it takes to overcome those strengths and take advantage of those weaknesses for successful predation. In this case, I'd interpret 'successful' as "keeps their numbers down so they aren't everywhere like real dandelions". If that is ridiculous and I need to be more specific, or if you feel another creature would better fit the bill, please let me know.

I appreciate your input, please let me know if there are any problems with my question!

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ Does proximity matter if something will obtain vivification if it kills the anklebiter? $\endgroup$
    – Lemming
    Nov 16 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Lemming: um....no? To be honest, I'm not sure. The only rules I really have there are that if you kill a monster with an object or weapon instead of your body, or if that body part is covered in something, that weapon, covering, or object gets that Enchantment instead of you. I'll have to think on that. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Nov 16 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ Ok well then if the thing that is in contact with the anklebiter at the point of killing is the thing that gets the enchantment then all you need is a predator that has a ranged attack, a group of 'ranger' sentients keeping their population down, or some sort of predator that uses a weapon that isn't a part of its body or is actually dead cells(keratin spike or something) in order to avoid the whole problem of cancer. Also to make the predator not get cancer from eating them due to too much 'life' you could have the thing have some sort of genetically induced degenerative disease. $\endgroup$
    – Lemming
    Nov 17 at 6:58
3
$\begingroup$

Right, let's see what weaknesses we can find for Anklebiters based on their abilities:

  • Subterranean motility: allows them to move through soft dirt giving them three dimensional movement as well as many ambush and escape options. They cannot dig (quickly) through solid ground or rock. Digging creates vibrations which can alert prey or predator to their presence.
  • Venomous bite: kills or incapacitates prey or predator given enough time and that they can pierce their hide. Quick reflexes, a thick hide or an immunity to Anklebiter venom is a sufficient defence.
  • Vampiric diet: allows them to feed efficiently on their prey. Same with thing with their venom, they can't eat what they can't bite. Toxicity can also work as a strong deterrent as Anklebiters risk death or at the very least an indigestion.
  • False pollen: incapacitates everything that breathes or requires sleep. A more efficient mucous membrane would filtrate the particles. Alternatively not requiring oxygen for a long period of time or cleaning the air with wind, rain or fire.
  • Alluring nectar: an effective lure, which definitely makes them a force to be reckoned with. There's no real counter to this except detecting the Anklebiter or just cautiousness.
  • Flexible stomach: no counter aside from not getting eaten or being huge. There's also the risk of being eaten from the inside should the venom be ineffective.
  • Regeneration: inflicting damage faster than they can regenerate, killing them or restraining them are the usual strategies used against regenerators. Arguably an Anklebiter that splits means more food in the long run. Eating them partially or being parasitic would make the most of this ability. The head is the most calorie rich body part, a good target.

You compared their resilience to dandelions, which are a vitally important element of the diets of many flying and ground insects. Many types of bee and wasp, including the honeybee, bumblebee and bald-faced hornet, use dandelions as a food source. Thus bees or wasps are a good frame of reference for designing their predator. Let's look at their advantages in this matchup:

  • Flower seeking: bees instinctually head for flowers and so are likely to encounter Anklebiters.
  • Flight: the bees are safe from subterranean ambushes as long as they stay airborne or nest in trees. Lifting an Anklebiter into the air makes it less likely to escape.
  • Underground nests: bees are capable of digging and creating nests underground. While this leaves them vulnerable to Anklebiter ambushes they are still capable of taking over their tunnels and territory.
  • Exoskeleton: bees, while flying insects, are still armoured and can potentially be completely immune to Anklebiter bites and by extension their venom.
  • Warning color: completely useless against Anklebiters, however humans may want the bees around if they find themselves with an Anklebiter infestation. Best case scenario they raise them for honey, worse case they coexist and let the monsters take care of themselves.
  • Venomous sting: a powerful weapon against many things. It may not be effective on Anklebiters but stinging is an option.
  • Pollen gathering: bees are known for collecting pollen into little balls on their hind legs. This is thanks to flying insects being negatively charged due to hitting air particles while flying. The pollen is drawn to the bug by static forces. Alternatively the bees beating wings can disperse the pollen.
  • Eusociality: bees in great numbers are near unstoppable.
  • Potentially possess a lightning spell?: this is a creative choice on my part which I think fits well with their stripes. It also relates to the shocking sensation of their stings. Electric shocks can kill or paralyse their prey. Additionally it can get rid of the pollen due to static forces. This makes them slightly too powerful in great numbers so I suggest limiting them to only firing once a day or dying afterward.

The main weakness of bees I can identity is their lack of a defence for getting caught and immobilised, which prevents them from flying away. This weakness is mitigated with numbers as they can fight back. However, due to vivification, they are likely to go after Anklebiters. Not to feed themselves (which are at their final life stage) but to feed their grubs and potentially queen, which has a lot of eggs to lay. Other insects that eat dandelions include grasshoppers, mites, fireflies and butterflies. Take your pick as they are very similar.

Bees! Bees are the answer to the Anklebiter problem. Now you have a bee problem instead.

[I've edited so my perfectionism can stay at ease.]

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ I found this thoughtful, creative, intelligent, and indeed useful. While you didn't evaluate everything in the short list given in the OP, you most definitely gave bees a place in the Top 3 List of Wild Anklebiter predators! Great job! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Nov 16 at 3:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias I've edited the answer to make it a bit better. Though I still excluded Plops, Chomping eggs and other Anklebiters as you yourself said that they could work. $\endgroup$ Nov 16 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ Very nice, thank you! Come to think of it, honeybees might be able to extend their short lifespans through Vivification....perhaps even gaining biological immortality with enough time and Anklebiters.... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Nov 16 at 15:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.