Zoom out: Dikaryotes

The kingdom motilia covers the entirety of plant and animal life on Ilion. Basal motilia are animal in nature. Plants evolved when a bacterioid donated one group a plasmid containing all the genes necessary for photosynthesis. From this group spawned another group of animals, known as the red plant derivatives.

Phylogeny of Motilia

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Fringe worms – Fringe worms are versatile. Sessile filter feeders are ubiquitous in Ilion’s waterways, reefs, and other shallow waters. Chemosynthetic variants inhabit the deep-sea vents, while free-swimming worms occupy just about any niche a worm can take.

Annulids – Annulids possess a ringed gut. The mouth connects to the anus during embryonic development and remains that way throughout life. This limits annulids to a filter feeding lifestyle, where they can either form coral-like colonies or float freely as medusas. However, a group of predatory annulids have adapted venomous tentacles to take advantage of more substantial prey.

Axelids – Like annulids, they have a ringed gut, but the inside of the ring is filled in. Two muscular gyroscopic organs protrude from either side to balance the creature while it rolls like a wheel. Enzyme-secreting serrations allow the organism to eat solid foods, particularly plants and other sessile organisms. Annulids and axelids belong to the clade Holoansiformes (“full looped forms”).

Arcs – Arcs spend most of their time planted on the sea floor, waiting for prey to draw near. When something hits a tentacle, the animal arches its back, tentacles inward, trapping the victim. The arc can them swallow its food immediately or wait for the venom to partially digest it.

Volcanoids – This is a classic case of convergent evolution. The ringed gut evolved once again, but this time, with a few exceptions, the gut extensions develop on the inner surface. Food is procured on the inside of the ring, sometimes through filtering seawater, and other times by trapping prey. Some have even adapted the space as a fully functional stomach. Volcanoids fall under Alloansiformes (“other looped forms”) along with a number of minor clades not shown here. Alloansiformes and arcs together make up the clade Polystomata (“multiple mouths”).

Monodonts – With a couple exceptions, monodonts develop so that the mouth and anus open on the same side. To prevent contamination, a hollow tooth extends from the mouth. This feature led to a predominantly liquivorous lifestyle.

Pinhole fish and red plants – On first glance, the fish are indistinguishable from primitive red plant larvae. They are named for the line of pinhole eyes that developed from the vestibular system. The major point of divergence between red plants and their cousins is the diploid form. In red plants, it is photosynthetic and asymmetric, while in the sister clade the diploid form rarely diverges from the haploid.


Assorted annulids