One branch of the planet's two dominant groups of animal life, Trudgers are near-omnipresent on the surface of Midas, even in otherwise hostile habitats. Though they vary in appearance across the globe, phenotypically they are quite similar: bipedal plantigrade locomotion counterbalanced with a heavy tail region and an apparently oversized head. Dissection of the latter reveals that the size is due to the partial incorporation of shoulder and upper-arm bones, leading to the startling revelation that they were originally quadrupedal or - more likely - upright bipeds.
Lacking a mandible bone, the vestigial forearms and hands act as graspers directing food towards the mouth orifice. The digestive process takes place at least partially outside the body with the secretion of aqua regia from glands to either side of the mouth (these glands can be carefully extracted and returned for research or used as impromptu grenades). Aqua regia is incredibly corrosive, able to dissolve most metals and - notably - gold. Perhaps as a consequence of this ability, Trudgers have an astoundingly efficient digestive process and are able to incorporate a diversity of elements into their physical structure.
Their skin, muscles and bones are dense with nodules of metal compounds, making them extremely resilient - not to mention valuable to collectors. A standard mining tool should suffice to extract most elements, but specific ingredients will have to be shipped back manually.
The plains Trudger is most commonly located along the band of plains biomes by Midas' equatorial region. Adapted for mostly flat, heavily vegetated habitats, the heavy Trudger is heavily muscled, with plentiful at deposits, but lacks in agility compared to its smaller cousins. Their meat is heavily marbled and much sought out - acquire it where possible.
The mountains of Midas are young, sharp edged and steep - all of which suits the mountain Trudger just fine. Light-weight, agile and streamlined, mountain Trudgers nimbly navigate even the sheerest cliffs of Midas. There is a market for their tough, soft pelts, but in general they're not worth the effort.
These formidable beasts shelter in or near cavern environments, feeding on deep-rooted mosses and mineral pools. As a result of generations of this diet, their skin extrudes layers of mineral precipitate, rendering them significantly tougher than the average Trudger. These organic metallic compounds are highly valuable and should be forcibly extracted and shipped to us for research when possible.
These behemoths take advantage of their height to acquire food from the tops of trees. Their great height keeps them safe from predators, but leaves them vulnerable to concentrated fire. Endangered due to over hunting and collateral damage, we recommend leaving the noble beasts alone.
Pygmy Forest Trudger
These tiny beasts feed on nuts on fruit in Midas' temperate forests. With their varied diet and short gestation period, they can and will over run an area unless culled. Feel free to eliminate them.
Equally small as the Pygmy Trudger, Cave Trudgers are the dour inhabitants of Midas' diverse cave system. Slow and sluggish, they have nevertheless developed a dense set of natural armor mimicking the rock formations native to the caves. Harmless in and of themselves, they are still worth culling for samples of their tissue.
Obviously not true crabs- though they share several analogous features, including exoskeletons and segmented legs, they are quadrupedal and completely terrestrial, and have a very complicated birthing process.
Rather than being direct live births or eggs, crabs are instead generated in a transitional gestational sac, which is usually affixed directly to a mineral structure. This tough, fleshy sac is anchored by roots sunk deep into rock in a process more closely resembling earth's plants. The minerals leeched out of the surrounding soil strata form the basis of the exoskeletal structure, leading to markedly different adaptations for each species of crab depending on where they are localized.
A juvenile crab, fresh from the the sac, immediately begins the process of gathering and metabolizing any nearby nutrients, whether they be animal, vegetable or mineral. Their shells are soft and relatively pliable at this stage, but there is a market to be found for their succulent flesh.
The transition from juvenile to adult crab is marked by the release of a gestational sac composed of excess genetic material - this sac, though initially quite small, it rapidly balloons in size as it takes up surrounding soil chemicals. With the release of the sac, the crab undergoes rapid hormonal metamorphosis to reach their adult stage. While the adult continues to grow and eat, it is living on borrowed time - the hormonal shift starts a slow process of decay in the crab, allowing it long enough to care for the juveniles before itself passing away. The average lifespan of a Midean Crab is a scant few years.
Well known mostly for their juveniles, which are often visible taking wing at twilight and buzzing around bright lights. Due to their relative weight and velocity, this can lead to damage to telecommunications antennae, and they should be gunned down if they approach settlements or bunkers. Adult Aerials are somewhat frail and sickly, and are especially susceptible to damage to the calcified wing cases on their posteriors
Juveniles occasionally visit the surface, but most often subterranean. Their gestational sacs draw from mineral heavy soil deep underground, leading to some peculiar and impressive adaptations. Notable both for theirs carapaces, which are indeed made of an organic iron-alloy matrix, as well as for their eyes, which are surfaced with an incredibly durable and iridescent lens. The carapace is most prized from adults, while the eyes are more valuable coming from juveniles, due to their pristine nature. In a pinch, the dorsal carapace of an adult crab can be used as a makeshift ballistic shield.
In a bizarre instance of commensalism, the Midaen Grass Crab lives its entire life in the grips of a highly specialized plant. Their gestational sac suspended high in the trees, the juvenile crabs feed on the life giving sap of the Scado tree. In the sap, however, lies the plants dormant gametes that immediately begin the process of converting the crab into the perfect host. From a young age the tree sprouts from the crabs armor plates, the rootlets sunk into muscle and lymph, sapping nutrients from its host. And yet the crab benefits from the arrangement also, benefitting from borrowed photosynthetic processes and a strengthened immune system. When an adult crab passes on, the Scado tree bursts from its corpse, expending stored energy reserves to grow tall and strong so that another generation will take advantage of it.
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