- External morphology
Large with small indent in aboral edge. 42.6 mm x 35 mm. Smooth integument with disc-like scars on one side. Both color morphs sport raised markings.
Two distinct color morphs of this large and unique Archignathid were discovered by field researcher L. Vaid in an industrial laboratory in Lake County, Illinois. Both were found unattached to any host entity, but the close proximity of both specimens to large bags of polypropylene reaction vessels has led to the prevailing hypothesis that this was their primary host. The large scar-like disks on each color morph of A. thermastris has even led to speculations that these might have aided the occlupanid in locomotion like vestigial feet, allowing them to wander short distances when unobserved. But the discovery of such a distinctive occlupanid in a new biome is tempered by this observation from Vaid; recent shipments of plastic bottles have arrived, closed not with occlupanids, but with beaded zip-ties. The specimens now held in the HORG archives may well be those of an endangered species.
Despite this dour prospect, there is still reason for hope. Occlupanologists are now finding specimens in a wealth of new biomes. The recognition of “Laboratories and Industrial Settings” by the Council on Abiotic Distribution has not only opened an exciting new venue of exploration and research, it has also allowed the HORG graphics department to realize a long-sought goal: A legitimate excuse to create a tiny Erlenmeyer flask icon for our public database.