Like many wormbrains, the Nemateuthis is an amalgamation of parasitic symbionts at multiple levels. Digestion, respiration and eyesight are provided by the vertebrate host beast, while transportation, defensive maneuvers, chemosense and the actual consumption of prey are performed by a colony of massive roundworms. These worms, in turn, are coordinated by the collective mind of several thousand minute, hyperparasitic brain-flukes.
The roundworm "tentacles" of the Nemateuthis are comprised of a larger, mated pair of "rippers" armed with powerful, chitinous jaws and their stunted offspring, the jawless "slurpers" equipped with corrosive saliva and sucker-like maws. Both castes are capable of regenerating from any remaining tail portion, but heavy enough combat or disease may result in the permanent loss of one or more individuals. Missing slurpers must be replaced by the reproductive functions of their mother rippers, while the eldest slurpers will replace any lost ripper in a sudden surge of growth.
Reproduction of a complete Nemateuthis colony is quite rare, but consists of the self-fertilizing host vessel giving live birth to two nearly fully-grown duplicates, each of which will take a pair of younger roundworms as their own.
Though a Nemateuthis functions well enough on land, it is most at home in aquatic environments, and its worms delight in dragging terrestrial prey to a watery grave. Rumors abound that Mortasheen city's largest cesspit is the domain of Bertha, an abnormally titanic Nemateuthis responsible for the mysterious disappearances of multiple luxury cruise vessels.
While the host beast of the Nemateuthis is a shy, cowardly and slothful creature, its energetic roundworms are proud hunters and hunger as much for the pure thrill of combat as the satisfaction of dismembering fresh prey. The worms do however hold a deep respect for their host, and its more peaceful inclinations often serve as the sole voice of reason in the collective's blind hostility. Despite the ease with which they can replace themselves, the worms are known to hold a permanent grudge against those who injure their youngest, never forgetting an individual chemical scent.
The writhing, bloodthirsty worms of the Nemateuthis are a force of mighty but often reckless chaos in the heat of battle, best held in reserve until more delicate strategy has failed. They are particularly popular in blood sports as in-house tiebreakers, and are also known as an ideal "trap door dweller" in home security.
COLONIAL MIND: the monster's consciousness is distributed across multiple organisms, giving it immunity to mind-altering substances and psychowave attacks.
RIPPER WORMS: two large, powerfully jawed worms function as appendages and protectors of the colonial monster.
SLURPER WORMS: many smaller worms assist the colony, possessing powerful sucking mouths and flesh-burning salivary enzymes.
Contents copyright Jonathan Wojcik