Toon: Dr Talis Balt
Player: Mike Buonagurio
"Cum videritis petram veniens minus laedat"
Note: The below is taken entirely from all reports, analysis and scans generated from the study of these insects. Items in brackets are the name of the generated report with skill required and/or the analysis data taken from the logs. If someone has additional data let me know IG so this report can be amended.
The Cyclops Wasp (aka “wasp”) is an overall dull green with occasional tan colored insect so named due to its single eye and propensity to use a stinging attack similar to Terran wasps. The wasps can cause an allergic reaction to individuals who are stung but the venom appears to be no more toxic then a Terran wasp. They are highly aggressive responding to threats with a swarm attack. The wasps appear to be solely herbivore in nature as they were observed to eat various plant material but not meat. The wasps pose a significant threat to crops barring tubers or similar underground crops. A compound made from a particular tree sap may be produced for use as both a personal repellant and insecticide for crops.
[Stinging Swarm Report – Biology]
Wasps are an overall dull green color with some tan markings. Barbs are located on the thorax plates with a non-barbed stinger at the rear of the thorax. There is no abdomen.
The dorsal of the creature is dominated by a series of overlapping heart shaped plates. A small plate covers its head while two larger plates cover the thorax, legs and wings. For flight, the thorax plates open at the middle then lift up off the thorax. Compact wings then unfold from underneath the plates.
The ventral of the animal shows a membrane stretching across the underside of the plates attaching to points along the top of the thorax. Very fine hairs grow from the membrane where it attaches to the outer edge of the thorax. These hairs connect to nerve pathways that lead directly through the membrane to legs and wings. The membrane also contains microscopic spiracles that allow the insect to breathe.
Located under the head plate is a single multi-faceted eye located directly in the center of the facial structure. Small, stubby antennae grow from either side of and slightly behind the eye. While similar to Terran insect antennae, they are located much lower and wider. Located on the bottom of the head and more towards the rear is a multi-part mouth.
The mouth is unusual in that it faces directly backwards. The mouth consists of a labrum (a “lid” on top of the jaws), two mandibles for chewing, two smaller maxillae located beneath the mandibles that work in concert with them to chew food, and a labium (a “chin” that acts as a bottom lid). When not in use the mandibles and maxillae retract to lay flat while the labrum and labium seal the mouth off.
A short esophagus links the mouth to the stomach. The stomach lies below a “brain” which is actually a very simple ganglia system. A rudimentary intestine attaches to the stomach evacuating out of the bottom rear of the thorax.
The thorax is composed of 3 articulated segments each having two legs attached (6 legs total, 3 on each side). The wings and hinges for the thorax plates are located on the forward and middle thorax segments. The rear segment is devoted entirely to the venom producing glands, venom sack and stinger.
The rear segment is quasi-prehensile, segmented tail allowing the creature to sting to either side, down or even up at an approximate 20-degree angle. This tail is covered in curved spines along the dorsal surface. The stinger is a larger, slightly curved, non-barbed spine, which allows the wasp to sting multiple times in rapid succession. A channel is located in the center that transports venom from production glands to holding sac located at the base of the stinger. See Venom, below, for additional information.
While investigated the morphology of current specimens do not provide evidence of how the wasp reproduces. Current theory is they are similar to Terran insects having a single queen laying eggs and drones for impregnation. All specimens observed so far would thus be non-reproductive drones.
[Stinging Insect Venom System Analysis – Chemical 1]
The venom injection system is composed of venom producing glands, a duct between the venom glands and holding pouch, a holding pouch located at the stinger base, and a slight curved, non-barbed stinger. The amount of venom injected is measured in micrograms with the holding pouch containing enough venom for 25-30 stings before needing to be re-filled.
Upon chemical analysis it was determined the venom primarily contains histamine and phototoxic agents. The phototoxic component would lead to light sensitivity and blistering. This was born out as colonists who were stung exhibited such symptoms.
[Stinging Swarm Report: Survival - Ecology]
Occasionally small, Avian like creatures would attempt to pick off wasps on the outskirts of the swarm. When a bird landed, approached slowly and cautiously, they usually were able to feed with no disturbance to the swarm. Avians that attempted to swoop down from the air would cause the swarm to react.
Flying creatures that got within 10 feet or lower were met with a flying cloud of insects. Unless they were very fast such creatures would be quickly blanketed by the wasps who would then sting them to death. When the wasps swarms a portion would almost immediately settle back to the ground while a smaller portion would continue to pursue and attack. The creature attacked would need to retreat a significant distance, observed to be approximately 50 feet, before the wasps would fly back to the swarm.
Wasps with a certain radius of the threat will begin to engage. As one wasp moves, it sets off a chain reaction with the wasps around it. The attack looks like a rippling wave extending out from the point of the threat. As stated above the wasps very quickly determine the “size” needed for an attacking force with the excess settling back to the ground almost as quickly as they took off. However, the entire swarm experiences the ripple effect looking similar to wave.
The wasps will fly a short distance towards the point of threat before settling back down. This will cause the swarm to shift a few feet in the threat direction. The attack portion when it flies back have been observed to land approximately in the same location it initially took off.
[Stinging Swarm Report - Agriculture]
The wasps tend to be terrestrial then aerial. They crawl along the ground eating most plant matter in their path. Most plants are eaten down to the ground. Woody parts of bushes and trees are left, but any young tender shoots or leaves will be entirely devoured. The swarm will fly up a few feet to get to food sources if required.
Older, well-established trees with tougher leaves tend to be bypassed. They may also have been bypassed due to the sap they exude (see Natural Protection, below). It is possible a combination of both keep older trees safe from swarm predation.
The wasps present a clear danger to efforts to raise crops especially when such crops are in the early growth stage. However, though the swarm does eat all plant matter right to the ground they do not burrow. Crops and roots below the ground are unaffected and remain intact. This allows plants to recover over time.
Crop plants that grow primarily underground such as tubers would remain safe. Destruction of the above ground portion of such crops may lead to stunted crop growth.
On final note of interest was those plants in the wild that have had their leaves devoured then exude a sticky sap. This sap appears to “seal” the plant off from further harm while it recovers from the swarm attack.
[Tree Sample Analysis - Botany]
[Collect Samples from Trees near the Swarm]
Observing the swarm has yielded data that they avoid many larger, more mature trees. These trees exude an oily sap similar to citronella. A number of tree samples were taken and analyzed with the following determined.
Samples from older trees have a faint lemon scent with the older the tree having a stronger scent. The oil produced by the tree repels the insects. As it would take years for trees to reach maturity, their potential in planting such trees in the garden is not viable. In any case, the wasps simply bypass the trees and eat plant matter around it.
The oil produced by mature trees is similar to citronella. The oil could be used on personal as an insect repellant if applied to the skin. For agriculture use, it would work as a pesticide if applied to and/or around crops. It may also have an anti-fungal property that would keep a crop blight away or lessened but this is a current working theory.
The oil affects the wasps by severely affecting their respiratory system by blocking their spiracles as opposed to attacking the nervous system.
(Scan Stinging Swarm: Active]
Armor or sealed suits can protect one from the odd sting allowing samples to be collected of the swarm. In addition, one should move slowly and keep low to the ground to minimize the risk of causing the swarm to take flight.
Found these for $20. Mini salt and pepper shakers. Are about the diameter of a quarter and 6" long. You use them one handed and press the plunger down to grind your salt and pepper.
I am going to jazz them up with some medical and sci-fi looking stickers and add either colored translucent plastic or make a small ring of multi colored vials for the glass area to represent liquid/various anti-toxin choices. Bonus in that the grinder rod actually extends out of the tube and makes a nice hiss like sound when the plunger depresses.
Will post up more pics once I PF them.
Can we get an update/refresh on this list? And has a means of reward been figured out? Thanks!