Phylogeny of Beakers

The bodies of these red plant derivatives have not changed much since their ancestors first touched dry land. Their heads, however, have. The original enantiopod (the ancestral land dwelling RPD) had seven leg pairs and a variable number of undifferentiated mouthparts. In beakers, as in earworms, several of the animal’s mouthparts were repurposed as sensory organs and neck frills. The remaining four have hardened into a beak. Most beakers eat plant material, but as is common on Ilion, several have adapted to eat meat, due to the fact that animals and plants are not all that different, nutritionally. Beakers rely mostly on vision and olfaction and unlike their earworm siblings, are deaf to all but the lowest vibrations. They are bald and ectothermic and do not adapt well to extreme climates.

Web-necked beakers – Little has changed in this widespread group, except for a few specialized species. They have two pairs of eyestalks allowing them unobstructed vision and a simple webbed frill used mainly for thermoregulation.

Elephant Gulf beakers – These are all but indistinguishable from web-necked beakers but belong to a separate lineage. They are found only on the islands encircling Elephant Gulf, Aeneas.

Marsupial worms – This small group found only on Pandaros evolved a brooding pouch to house their numerous young. The young only come out to eat under the close watch of their mother, and in some species, the father as well, which lacks a pouch. As they grow and space becomes limited, they fight for dominance. Weaker individuals are cannibalized or exiled.

Elizabeth worms – The webbed frills have merged to become a complete ring with no visible ribs. The function of the collar varies between species. In species that use it for display, the collar is often brightly colored or irridescent; in others, the collar houses scent glands that can be wafted at conspecifics or predators.

Featherfrills – Featherfrills capture live prey with sticky, filamentous whiskers that are nearly invisible in the air. Their mouthparts are flexible and dextrous. They use them to clean their whiskers and to dispatch struggling prey.

Scaly beakers – Related to featherfrills, scaly beakers are also predators. Their skin is covered in keratinous scales that resemble tree bark, stone, or soil. They are rarely longer than a few centimeters. They go after soil grubs, thraxes, and other slow prey.