Mollusca, Mollusc

Image from Steve Bowers

The molluscs are a diverse phylum of Terragen soft-bodied organisms. The body is covered with a thin epidermis or mantle, and teeth (radula) have a distinctive rasp-like structure. Molluscan morphology typically consists of a distinctive head with mouth and/or tentacles (secondarily lost in some forms - e.g. clams), a large fleshy ventral foot, a dorsal visceral hump, and a radular mouth. Most species secrete an external calcareous shell made of aragonite, which is typically curved or coiled in a geometric fashion, or may be composed of multiple parts. Includes chitons (Polyplacophora), snails, whelks, limpets etc. (Gastropoda), clams (Bivalvia), nautiluses, squid, octopus and cuttlefish (Cephalopoda), and a number of smaller extant and several extinct classes. Baseline forms range in size from microscopic snails with shells only 200 microns (0.2 mm) in diameter, to giant squid (Architeuthis) weighting over a tonne.

There were over a hundred thousand Terragen species on Old Earth before the Great Dying; most or all of those that did not survive that event are thought to have been re-created or restored by GAIA either directly or by extrapolation from surviving information. Many of the baseline species are found elsewhere in the Terragen sphere in habs or on terraformed planets, together with a much larger number of derived species. There were many more forms that were already extinct before Terragen civilization arose. Representatives of all pre-Terragen extinct classes and many tens of thousands of extinct species have been lazurogened.

Molluscs, especially cephalopod molluscs, are a popular subject for provolution, despite having a psychology quite different to vertebrates.

The largest bioborged mollusc is the Kraken of the inner Perseus Rift, a sophont, space-adapted creature which is believed to attain a length of many kilometres.

Related Articles
  • Ammonite
  • Architeuthis
  • Aruan, Clade
  • Bitenic Al - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Ex-corporate hyperturing ai that during the First Federation period were involved in a number of controversial provolution experiments, the most successful being the Bitenic Squid Superclade.
  • Bitenic Squid
  • Cephalopod
  • Cephalotopia - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Utopia Sphere world of which features both provolved, baseline, and lazurogened cephalopods of all kinds, including some 214,000 species of authentic and quasi-authentic Triassic goniatites.
  • Conchoid - Text by John B
    Originally designed as a pet for some clades of cephalopod provolves, and designed primarily for aquatic environments. These organisms are based on the conch genome, modified with symbiotic bionano that grows into and with the shell. The intellect of the conchoid grows as the animal ages and increases in size. The juveniles have low level sentience comparable to baseline conches, but older conches are ordinary to very high level sapient beings, some with abilities exceeding those of many superbrights. There are rumors that one or more ancient conches may have spontaneously ascended.
  • Cymbium - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Genus of large, mostly tropical, Terragen marine snails, family Volutidae (Cymbiola, Melo, etc are similar). See also Cymbium sapiens.
  • Cymbium sapiens
  • Gastropod
  • PsySquid
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 08 December 2001.