What the fuck is this?Mercer Manning, eminent Xenobiologist
Mature bloodsponge appears to be a porous, spongiform fungal mass that can grow in any sufficiently warm climate. It has incredible natural adhesiveness, able to cling to the underside of rocks. It often uses other vegetation as shade from direct sunlight and as a source of initial food. It is a pale brown colour in appearance initially, until it latches onto an animal. Often even a passing graze is enough for a substantial quantity of bloodsponge to anchor itself to the animal, at which point it begins breaking down animalian organic tissue to digest.
It is slow to grow via surface nutrition, and whilst it can absorb plant matter, it grows much more slowly. Its parasitic ability to leech off of other plantlife means that it can easily get within or on herbivorous or omnivorous creatures. Once attached to a living creature, it quickly breaks down surface skin and begins to drain the creature of its blood, using the nutrients, plasma and water it contains to bloom over the creature, exponentially growing until there is no organic matter left to consume. Creatures that have died to a parasitic bloodsponge infestation are often picked to the bone, surrounded by a large patch of the growth that has turned the colour of the creature's blood.
A surface bloodsponge infestation can be purged by careful, thorough, intensive medical attention over the course of several days, and survival chance decreases swiftly with each passing day that it goes unchecked. Bloodsponge consumption is almost always fatal, unless treatment is immediate. A strong immune system provides a marked decrease in spread rate. A healthy adult slosher can perish of infestation in as little as a single Auroran day - the human body, being of a more alien composition, resists infestation more effectively and can survive up to three.
The hanger plant tends to grow at high altitudes, absorbing moisture from the atmosphere or from the rocks it grows upon. Large masses of hanger plants can grow a small hydrogen bubble within its midst, which then floats upwards, carrying the hanger plant with it. Often the hanger plant cannot survive for many days at its new height before perishing, causing the bubble to deflate and the plant to descend back to the surface. As it creates the hydrogen through similar processes to that of an Aeromaunder, it makes the hanger plant one of the Aeromaunder's most favoured meals.
Needlegrass appears like grass but is actually a very thin, fibrous cluster of cacti, which is covered in thorny spikes and smaller needles to deter herbivores. Needlegrass is incredibly hardy, and can proliferate in almost any climate on Aurora, and is appropriately found in large quantities everywhere. Needlegrass extends its fibrous tendrils deep into the ground in search of water. Some herbivores have adapted means of stripping needlegrass of its defences prior to eating it, or simply have tough enough insides to eat it as is.
A tall, thin plant that resembles a hybrid of a tree sapling and a pitcher plant, the desert torch tends to grow near regions of geological activity, though can be found anywhere. The core of the plant is fire-resistant and very tough, with large red, orange, yellow and green willowy petals drooping off the side and from the top. The top of the plant secretes a chemical around a central stamen-like tube that is both clear, sticky, and flammable. The plant's roots filter flammable gases and compunds as well as water from the tectonically active ground, and these gases permeate up the torch's trunk. During daytime, the chemical secretion forms a spherical droplet which focusses light finely enough to ignite the mixture, creating a flame.
The plant maintains this fire for days at a time, and during night-time the fire summons surface-dwelling predators such as Scavenger Lizards, with the heat from the flame (which is quite substantial) giving warmth. In return, the predators deter herbivores, or the herbivores instinctively value the night-time warmth over additional food - the trunk of the desert torch is difficult to break apart and consume anyway. These grow in clusters, with upwards of eight or ten "trunks" within centimetres of each other.