Cephalopod
Bitenic Squid
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The Cephalopoda, a class of intelligent predatory mollusks with eight or more tentacles and a large well-developed head. All surviving species and several extinct ones have been successful provolved, some several times in parallel by different patrons.

These soft-bodied invertebrates include as their baseline representatives creatures like squid, octopuses, cuttlefish, and the nautiloids and ammonites.

The first cephalopods evolved during the Cambrian period, and for many tens of million of years they were dominant life-form on Earth. Most Holocene species have a small vestigial internal shell, or (in the case of the octopus) lack a shell altogether. However the recent pearly nautilus, and the thousands of extinct species of nautiloids and ammonoids (many of which have been successful lazurogened), all had shells, some of large size or elaborate design. A distinctive trait is that the molluscan foot has been divided into a number of tentacles (which are sucker-bearing in most Holocene species). Another part of the foot has been modified into a siphon, enabling them to move by squirting water through a siphon, a type of jet propulsion. Many also squirt ink to help escape predators

These fast-moving carnivores catch prey with the tentacles and poison it with a bite from the powerful beak-like jaws. Cephalopods occupy a similar role to fish in terragen marine ecosystems and are the only invertebrate to effectively competition ecologically with fish.

Among all the millions of species of original terragen invertebrates, cephalopods are the ones with the greatest potential for provolve, and many hundreds of species have been successfully provolved (almost every surviving terragen species, some several times, plus a number of lazurogenic types). In fact, these are the only class of creatures in which provolve species outnumber baselines (even among mammals there are more baseline, non- and subsophont species than provolves). However, provolve is not without its difficulties, due to several physiological constraints. For one, the gut passes through the center of the brain, which is an impediment to intelligence, and requires radical re-organisation. Also, baseline cephalopods have no O2 carrying cells, greatly restricting their energy efficiency, and the lack of a skeleton renders their muscles inefficient. Many patrons, especially those of baseline intelligence, see these challenges as a greater motivation for provolve, and inevitably along with the successful provolves there are many unfortunate quasi-provolve species, which lead an existence midway between animal and sophont. Others, including the Bitenic Squid (Loligo sapiens and many derived species) are highly intelligent but renowned for a number of atrocities (often exaggerated in highly lurid accounts in B-grade horrordocumentary interactives) which almost always seem to have been caused by a genuine misunderstanding of the mammalian psyche and failure of communication rather than any sense of actual malice or cruelty. Still other cephalopod provolves are both friendly and affectionate. As with so many provolve species, much depends on factors as diverse as the modifications used in provolve, social engineering (or lack thereof), the psychology of the provolveer, and the characteristics of the species being provolved.

Highly tweaked and bioborgized provolve cephalopods are also remarkably well adapted for vacuum existence, and a number of species of space adapted Architeuthis are known, as well as many smaller species. The largest known cephalopod, and indeed one of the largest known terragen life-forms, although so highly bioborgized that it bears very little resemblance to its original ancestor, is the kraken of the inner Perseus Arm, of which several species are believed to exist. Direct evidence however remains elusive.
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 24 September 2001.