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!)
- 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!