Axtooth Beetle ∞
The Axtooth Beetle is a swarming wood-boring beetle known both for their ability to devastate forests and their danger to unwary woodsmen. The species typically moves in swarms of several hundred and is capable of growing up to 10cm in length. Adults have a large flat head with four razor sharp axe like mandibles and short antennae. Females lay clutches of up to 50 eggs in host trees and larvae eat their way out of the tree before migrating to nearby trees to continue the process.
Signs of a swarm are obvious; trees with wilted or yellow foliage, large holes in them, loose or missing bark, serpentine tunnels girdling the tree, and frass or sawdust settled at the base of the tree.
Adults respond aggressively to intrusions and can swarm and kill an adult human. The species is hardy and able to survive cold winters by burrowing deep into old trees or the ground. Each Axtooth can live for up to 3 years. The axtooth population is primarily controlled by several features:
-Several predators have adapted to feed on them including.
–Urpan descend on swarms in sufficient number to overwhelm the swarm defense.
–Rhinock are immune to the swarm attack by virtue of their thick hides.
-Ferradi (large monotremes) have a durable, spiney exterior that is immune to Axtooth bites.
-Gemback Arachnids spray an acid that disables the swarm and pre-digests it.
-Banded Myriapods, large centipedes and skillful insectivores that hunt swarms.
-Baras Fungus, which infects Axtooth swarms and consumes them
-Many trees have developed defenses including restrictive saps, naturally secreted toxins, thorns, and natural attractants for Axtooth predators.
Svertan handling of axtooth infestations tends to be quarantine and burn infected areas. The strategy is indiscriminate but effective.