LOG_003_Dishworm

Illustration from Irma Beumer’s field notes of the dishworm’s life cycle.

 

Text transcribed from the notes of xenobiologist Irma Beumer:

The dishworm, so named for its dish-like carapace, is a small organism native to planet Khepri-1b. It lives in the dirt of temperate forests in the twilight zone. In addition to energy obtained from the photosynthetic cells on its “dish,” the mobile forms burrow and forage in detritus for food.

Its lifecycle is a complex one: the dishworm appears to be gynodioecious, consisting of female and hermaphrodites. Current research suggests that all members of the species start as females and later become hermaphroditic. Adult females are mobile and their eggs develop parthenogenetically into female offspring, while adult hermaphrodites are sessile and self-fertilize eggs, not unlike the life stages of Earth organisms of ferns or cnidarians. Early xenobiology research mistook the two adult stages as entirely unrelated organisms.

 

#1 spore/egg — small, scattered by winds — can be fertilized (egg) or self-fertilized pseudo-spore

#2 young dishworm stage (sessile) — undergoes embryonic development, suggested main nutrient sources are from the soil and photosynthesis

#3 juvenile dishworm stage — similar to stage 4a, but with a much shorter tail that grows additional segments with age

#4a adult stage — wormlike, the first recorded observations of this organism. Its anterior has four appendages for shoveling and combing dirt, while the heavy tail and the tail’s claws serve to anchor the organism in high wind conditions

#4b adult stage (sessile) — hermaphroditic, self-fertilizes eggs that are dispersed via wind forces. The soft “body” of 4a is not visible.

Traveler

Traveler is the pseudonym given to the unknown author of a series of documents containing items such as official reports, memos, photographs, and letters during and after the Second Golden Age of Human Space Exploration. Traveler's Log is an ongoing project to transcribe and archive these documents.

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