Sandworm

Sandworm
Name: Sandworm
Species Type: Semi-sentient Invertebrate
Genders: Unknown
Inhabits: Arrakis
Biological Traits: Reproductive, semi-sentient, Spice-producing.
Planet of Origin: Arrakis
Average Lifespan: Unknown
Average Size: 200 metres long, around 20-30 wide.

Bless the Maker and all His Water. Bless the coming and going of Him, May His passing cleanse the world. May He keep the world for his people.


Species Overview

Living beneath the desert sands of Arrakis, supposedly able to grow to four hundred metres in lenghth, the Sandworm, known to the Fremen tribes as Shai-Hulud, The Old Man of the Desert, was a force of nature to be reckoned with. A long, towering, invertebrate creature, the Sandworm was a mighty beast of biblical proportions, with a gaping, tooth filled, black hole of a mouth and a monstrous disposition of protecting its home. It lived primarly under the sands of Arrakis, but would rise, on occasion, above them, creating a terrifying spectacle.
The sandworm was worshipped as a mighty god-like entity by the Fremen, the Sandworms were in fact the cause of Spice creation, as their young worm
Sandworm
Shai Hulud, The Biblical Sandworm.
spawn, the sandtrout, had the ability to link themselves together in vast numbers and encyst water below ground. In doing so, the created deserts in which their adult sandworm incarnations could live, as sandworms died if exposed to too much water. They also released certain chemicals, which built up beneath ground, eventually exploding above ground in a huge pre-spice mass. This mass was made of water, which eveporated, and newly formed spice, which did not, and made excellent food for sandworms. So many of these sandtrout, the steady pre-spice masses caused spice to become omnipresent on Arrakis, and made it so common, that faint traces of the substance could be found in the air.
The sandworms biology was as simplistic as that of the earth worm. Their thick outer skin was arranged into segments, below which was a thinner layer of membrenous skin. Since this skin was extremely delicate, the Fremen, who possessed a unique relationship with the worms, used Maker Hooks to move the outer skin away, exposing the fragile skin. This meant that the worm would not submerge itself beneath the sand, and the Fremen rider could manouver the hooks to make the worm move.

Sandworm Effects on Arrakis

Though they appear equipped to live in it's environment perfectly, the sandworms were in fact brought from another world, and introduced to Arrakis sometime before the year 1,200 B.C., in their larval form, Sandplankton and Sandtrout. The sandtrout, once on Arrakis, began to encyst all the available water on the surface, slowly making the planet undergo the process of desertification. Once the planet was dry, the sandtrout could advance into sandworm form. This was the sole reason for Arrakis' dryness.
Sandworm to a human
Size comparison of a sandworm to a human.

The Life of a Sandworm

Close study of the sandworms by several sources revealed that that their lives are split into three cycles. The cycle begins with the pre-larval stage, in the form of the Sandplankton. Then they grow into Sandtrout, and finally, if lucky, some will develop into miniature Sandworms and then adult sandworms.

Sandplankton

Little is known of the first stage of a sandworm's life, as the tiny sandplankton.

Sandtrout

More is know about the sandtrout than the sandplankton. The small, mollusc larvae-like creatures had the ability to link themselves together in vast numbers, and encyst all avialble free water on the surface. This process created deserts, and eventually made Arrakis dry and desolate. The sandtrout were also responsible for the creation of spice, a superb food source for the adult sandworm. Whilst encysting the water, the trout released numerous chemical gases below ground, which eventually became unstable, exploding on the surface in a huge shower of water, sand, and spice. The water evaporated, and so harmed no worm.

Sandworm

For the lucky few sandtrout who survived, the next stage of the lifecycle, that of the sandworm, was the reward. The tiny sandtrout expanded over many years to form the titanic sandworm, but some, however, were captured before maturity, and contained by the Fremen. The
Sandworm Anatomy
Possible internal anatomy of a Sandworm.
pre-adolesent worm was placed on an "island" in a Fremen sietch, and surrounded by water. This prevented the worm from growing, and stunted it. When the time came, the Fremen would drown the worm, and collect the fluid it expelled in its dying breaths. This fluid was the Water of Life, a powerful poison that would kill all but a worth Reverend Mother. This was the test of the Reverend Mother, to take the Water, and see the inner being and the outer being at once.



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