Nose Smoolk

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Nose Smoolk
(Macrotoxica nasus)
Creator Coolsteph Other
Macrotoxica nasus
Epoch/Generation 3/154
Habitat Mason Barren Wasteland
Size 1.5 cm long
Support Unknown
Diet Iron (specializes in titanium-rich ores such as ilmenite), Detritivore, Photosynthesis
Respiration Unknown
Thermoregulation Unknown
Reproduction Aesexual, Resilient Airborne Spores, Fragmentation
Descendant of Ancestor of
Red Smoolk

Nose smoolks have pointed growths resembling noses. These noses tend to grow on the north-facing side of the nose smoolk. However, there are so many variables determining whether the nose points north that using nose smoolks as an aid in navigation is unwise. Nose smoolk noses can point in any direction if it grows in a shady enough spot. (Artificially filtering light or screening UV light produces the same result.) Some nose smoolks even grow two noses, each pointing in opposite directions. This happens more often the closer it is to the equator. It is also an indicator of age or abundant substrate resources.

The nose smoolk's nose does not give it a sense of smell. The nose functions more like a leaf in that it is an extension specialized for photosynthesis. Consequently, photosynthetic pigments are reduced in the rest of the body.

Nose smoolks synthesize titanium dioxide by combining titanium from its substrate and oxygen from its waste products. Titanium dioxide is most famous as a sunscreen component, and nose smoolks use it accordingly. With Mason's dwindling atmosphere, more dangerous UV light reaches the surface. The nose smoolk's natural sunscreen of titanium dioxide reflects, scatters, or absorbs dangerous UV light, giving it an advantage in the present conditions. However, this alone is not sufficient, especially considering it still needs to photosynthesize. Therefore, its nose tends to point north, in order to avoid direct sunlight.

Though its sunscreen is quite useful, it does have a disadvantage. In the presence of water, it produces free radicals, highly reactive molecules that tend to wreck DNA. Possibly as an adaptation to this, the titanium dioxide is stored in a colloid of silica. In addition, nose smoolks have a greater antioxidant content, which increases in relation to how much titanium dioxide it has.

(Note: the apparent puddle in the picture is not water. It is huge chunk of blue beryl, or aquamarine. I noticed one part of the rock looked like a water slide, so I gave the smoolk on that end a "pool" to land in. Nose smoolks have a whimsical resemblance to lifeguards, too, though I did not intend for them to resemble lifeguards. That the rock looks like it's reflected in water is not intentional. I stumbled upon the reflection-effect by altering contrast, saturation, and focus.)