Millimite (Brachysoma discalis) and Imperial Plumetree (Osteodendra titan)

Nematopods are an order of annelids found on Telmatus, they are an incredibly diverse group that occupy many niches, from soil dwelling microfauna, massive macropredatory forms, to the dominant group of flora. Nematopods derive their name from the hairlike legs located on their underside, which occur in 1-6 pairs. These appendages are comprised of a tough yet flexible chitin rod surrounded by a layer of flesh embedded in a ring of muscle used to push and pull the leg. Nematopods have a retractable proboscis used to consume food, some species have evolved chitinous jaws or teeth to help better process food. The ancestral nematopod was aquatic and had a row of spiracles on each side of its body that led each led into a seperate gill chamber, although several groups have independentaly evolved lungs. Nematopods use hemoglobin to carry oxygen in their blood, as a result their blood is red. Nematopods are hermaphroditic animals and many more primitive groups typically reproduce via external fertlization. They releasing sperm and eggs into the water through a gonopore located on the underside of their neck region. More advanced groups typically exchange sperm via spermatophores or a gonopodium.


Scrabbler (Astathipus lateralis), Vermantis (Vermantis breviceps), and Weedsucker (Resmokia macrostoma)

A polyphyletic group of nematopods, either aquatic or semi-aquatic. Lamellibranchids are the most primitive group and are most like the original nematopod that all modern species descended from. Lamellibranchids breathe through 2 rows of 4 spiracles on the side of their body, each one leads into a gill chambers. Lamellibranchids are hermaphrodites and reproduce mainly through external fertilization, although some have a gonopodium. The eggs are then laid in sticky clumps on surfaces. Lamellibranchids can become quite large, with the largest species reaching around one meter.


Spotted Trich (Trichopus rancidula), Crabfruit (Scolocarpus bulbus), and Bushytailed Rattapillar (Chrysosorex villosus)

A paraphyletic group of nematopods, triplopedes are a diverse group of nematopods that fill a role similar to insects on Telmatus and come in a wide variety of forms. Triplopedes lack an endoskeleton and are supported by muscle and struts of cartilage. Triplopedes practice passive respiration, with oxygen diffusing into and carbon dioxide diffusing out of a row of spiracles on each side of their body, each spiracle leads to a small sac containg a lung. This mode of passive respiration prevents them from reaching large sizes, with the largest species reaching 30cm. However despite their inefficient respitory system, triplopedes are one of the most succesful and diverse groups of nematopods with hundreds of thousand of species known to man. Triplopedes have been found on water hundreds of miles from land to the snowy peaks of Telamtus's highest mountains. They can also. Triplopedes are hermaprodites and both parties give and receive sperm during mating, deposting sperm with a stiff, external gonopodium. Most triplopedes lay their eggs in a sac made of a stiff protein with each sac containg up to 2 dozen eggs. Some triplopedes create an eggsac and retract it into their oviduct, gving birth to the juveniles when the eggs mature.


Common Scuttlesnake (Lepidodermus borealis), Texas Elephant (Jacularhyncus tigrinus), and Green Loopster (Dendrophila albiceps)

A clade of terrestrial nematopods, have an efficient respitory system and a primitive endoskeleton which allows them to grow much larger than many other terrestrial nematopods. Rhyncophidians breathe through a set of spiracles behind their head that leads a large set of lungs, they use All members of this clade are covered in chitinous scales and have a beak at the tip of an eversible proboscis. Rhyncophidians are sequential hermaphrodites, being born male and transitioning to female once they reach a certain age. Males deposit sperm with a retractable gonopodium located on the underside of their head. Rhyncophidians retain their eggs within their body until it is the juveniles are fully developed, giving birth to live young. Rhyncophidians seem to be fairly well suited to life in dryer climates likely due to their scaly skin and live birth. Because of this the megafaunal rhyncophidians acheive greatest diversity in drier climates, as here they have less competition from chiropods, which aren't as adapted to living in dry climates. These megafaunal rhyncophidians are the largest living non-photosynthetic nematopods, with the largest species, the great wyrm (Dracovermes gigas) reaching 6 meters long.


Luretongue (Lophia gulo), Cukelord (Farciminax cirrhosus), and Belted Radiopede (Pteroglossus wilcoxiae)

Scolecophytes are a group of nematopods that evolved from a small aquatic ancestor that gained a symbiosis with a kind of green algae which they allowed to live within their cells in exchange for the sugars produced by the algae via photosynthesis. Scolecophytes have greatly diversified and are now the dominant terrestrial flora following the Archidean extinction event which wiped out 95% of all life on the planet. Phytoderms are a basal group of scolecophytes and greatly resemble fossils of ancient scolecophytes. Phytoderms are largely aquatic, although there are several families that range from semi-aquatic to fully terrestrial. Most species are scavengers or detritivores and like most other nematopods feed via an eversible proboscis. They have breathe by pumping air through a series of 10 spiracles underneath their body which all connect to a pair of gills/lungs. Phytoderms reproduce via external fertlization, typically gathering in large group and releasing both eggs and sperm at the same time. Like all scolecophytes, phytoderms go through a larval stage that resembles a triplopede before pupating into the adult form. However unlike most thylacostomes and phylliferans, phytoderms stay mobile after pupation.


Giant Meatbulb (Titanascus odorifera), Wormvine (Stomatophora repens), and Toady Pitcherserpent (Peristomus adusta)

Thylacostomes are a group of scolecophytes that evolved from an ambush predator with a large proboscis. All modern thylacostomes have a hypertrophied probosics that is no longer retractable into the body, and many species bury themselves with only the proboscis showing. Due to their body not being exposed to sunlight, most thylacostomes keep their algal symbionts in their exposed proboscis. Some thylacostomes that live in dark environments lack any symbionts and rely purely on capturing prey. Most thylacostomes are either semi-aquatic or terrestrial but there are some primitive species that are fully aquatic. Some Thylacostome are simply embedded into the ground, but others will construct burrows to live in. Thylacostomes feed on a wide variety of prey, from tiny speculopterids to small rhyncophidians and polyunguids, since most species are sessile they utlize scents, bioluminesce and/or secretions. In most species once the prey are inside the proboscis the mouth closes and it is guided to the throat where it is grabbed and swallowed by a pair of tentacles. Thylacostomes breathe through a pair of spiracles located near the base of their proboscis which leads to 2 seperate lungs or gills in primitive species. Thylacostomes reproduce via epitoky, budding off sections of their posterior which will exit the burrow and search for other epitokes. Once two epitokes meet they will swap reproductive material and search for a safe place for their eggs to develop. Depending on the species the epitoke will typically either lay its eggs and expire or retain the eggs until they hatch and eat their way out. Thylacostome larvae are usually generalistic omnivores although some species have specialized larvae. Once a larva matures it will search for a good spot to metamorphose and cocoon themselves in mucus and pupate, eventually hatching into its adult form.


Barnacleweed (Cryptophyllum glabrata), Beartrap Squalm (Gnathorhiza anthropophaga), and Eastern Dirt Devil (Rhizorex sarcophilus)

Phylliferans are the most successful clade of scolecophytes and are the dominant group of flora on Telmatus, forming large stony reefs underwater and vast forests and plains on land. All phylliferans are descended from an animal like the modern day leaf tail (Phyllocaudus sp.), a photosynthetic worm that had a large, flattened posterior used that housed its algal symbionts while the main body stayed hidden away from predators. Although primitive phylliferans are still mobile in their adult stage, the vast majority of them are sessile or secondarily mobile. Primitive phylliferans are broadcast spawners, releasing vast quantities eggs and sperm into the water column with only a fraction suriviving to adulthood. However one group of phylliferans evolved to use animals to distribute their sperm, utilizing tube like structures to attract animals to their sticky sperm, transferring it to other individuals. This group is the anthophorans and they are the most successful group of phylliferans since this method of reproduction works farm better on land compared to broadcast spawning, as it requires water for the egg and sperm to survive.

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