Haiu: Annual Spore Bloom
The annual Haiu has hit Felth this month, drenching the skies in weeping hues of spores too thick to breathe. Haiu is celebrated as swathes of excitable Residents flock outdoors to catch and drink the spore tainted rains, a free hallucinogenic 'Haiu High'. Large meshed fabric archeries protect busy streets and livestock fields while air-purifiers work overtime to keep indoor areas 'safe mask free breathing zones' and fauna throughout exhibit all sorts of unusual behaviors as a result of spore highs and poisoning. Be careful while you're tripping out there folks!
The Ampressa resembles a particularly large wasp or other traditionally thin-bodied insect, with a drab colored body, ranging in length from 12 to 16 inches. It’s thorax is circular and unusually flat, with its legs ringing this central part.
It’s front legs are rather wide, thick, and lined with thorny spines on the inside. They each have a pattern on them resembling false eyes, believed to be used to deter predators.
The Ampressa’s actual head is the elongated stalk poking from between its front legs, a long tube widening out to a weevil-like mouth at the end, eyes long tubes that flank either side.
It’s abdomen is very fat and long, attached to the central thorax by a thin waist. Live young are stored in a pouch inside, expelled by way of a elongated birthing canal that is normally left coiled under the insect’s belly.
Perhaps the most spectacular part of the Ampressa are its wings. More akin to the wing cases of other insects, these thin, vein-laced layers of chitin are layered in reflective scales and chromatophores, allowing them to display brilliant flashing patterns that can dazzle and subdue potential prey or predator. Their complexity and thickness, fortunately, renders them unusable for flight.
When hunting for prey, the Ampressa is a very aggressive opportunistic predator, constantly on the prowl for lost or separated prey, usually of mammalian variety.
Otherwise, it’s drab colors allow it to easily hide in fungal or arboreal trunks,under leaf litter, and even in old structures, sleeping or preening in between hunts.
Their wings are normally kept dark except for three major events: self defense, courtship rituals, or stunning prey. Their opportunistic nature means that creatures stunned in self defense can also become prey for the Ampressa. They are usually solitary insects, each one keeping a small territory to itself save for mating season, when males use their wings to dazzle females and copulate.
Adults of the Ampressa species are omnivorous scavengers who hunt for any kind of decayed matter, using their jaws to cut small chunks out of the material before swallowing it.
Their larva have a wholly different life cycle, being obligate parasitic carnivores.
The most disturbing aspect of the Ampressa is it’s reproductive method. Prey are first taken down using a combination of both unique, complex, and shifting patterns displayed using their wings as well as a extremely potent nootropic venom spit from their mandibles. This venom can be launched several yards and is usually launched at the victim’s eyes, though it can be absorbed through any soft tissues. This venom has several recorded effects, including numbness, paralysis, hallucinations, and retrograde amnesia. This combines with the flashing wings to turn their prey docile, after which the female uses their elongated ovipositor to lay young in the soft tissues of the still living host. These larva will consume said tissue, eating up to 500% of their own initial mass until they drop from the host’ body and pupate in the soil.
Pupa will hatch up to a week later, with juveniles resembling small adults, molting several times until they achieve their full size.
Hosts are usually dosed with venom multiple times until the larva emerge, the parent guarding the victim until it’s young pupate. During mating season, however, it’s not uncommon for hosts to be used to breed multiple broods of larva, being kept disoriented and helpless by the amnesiatic effects of the Ampressa’s venom. This can lead to severe tissue damage or even death.
Ampressa live in the deeper fungal forests found in the upper and lower bands of land flanking the equator. The heat and moisture of these deep jungle-like lands are the perfect terrain to hide, stalk and raise young for the Ampressa. Their thicker forearms are often used to dig shallow pits within which to lay for ambush, resting, or burying and hiding hosts and nearby pupating young. They can also dig out the soft fruiting tissue of fungal trees, hiding in the small cavities with other assorted fungus-dwelling species.
Brilliant winged insects with a terrifying life cycle.
Post by possmonaut on Feb 28, 2019 12:04:05 GMT 9.5
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