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Aenigmacaris tromeronychus - "The Obscured Shrimp" - MonstersHunters




With all the features and creatures present in the oceans of Ark, most water bodies are quite empty, or have a lack of interesting fauna and floral biodiversity. A characteristic that my team and I hope will be implemented more into Ark 2 for aquatic environments, though for animals to be introduced to Ark. One taxonomic classification of animalia that is usually under-looked are crustaceans, with only the Karkinos being present in Ark on specific maps. For a new addition, why not a Carboniferous Period crustacean distantly related to Mantis Shrimp, crustaceans who have the fastest and strongest punches in the animal kingdom.

For size purposes, most Mantis Shrimp are quite small with only a few species growing up to or around 40 cm's in length (specifically the species Lysiosquillina maculata), this fictional species will be quite larger than its early ancestors, both for adaptive radiation and biological purposes, and because about 80% of animals in Ark are oversized (common trend).



Common Name:



Species: Aenigmacaris tromeronychus


Time: Early Carboniferous

Diet: Omnivore (primarily Durophagous)

Temperament: Territorial


Tameable: Yes

Rideable: Yes

Breedable: Yes


Torpidity Immune: No

Taming Method: Knockout

Preferred Kibble: Superior

Preferred Food: Chitin

Equipment: “Aenigmacaris Saddle” (Level 71 - Crafted at either a Smithy or an Argentavis saddle)

Rider Weaponry: No

Humans Can Carry: No 




"Lurking within crevices in the seafloor, Aenigmacaris tromeronychus is a gigantic species of proto-mantis shrimp that lurks in tropical and humid oceanic environments. Ranging from reefs to abrasion coasts, these crustaceans are more robust, aggressive and armoured than their Earth counterparts. Their most notable feature, the dactyl clubs on their raptorial appendages, have evolved chitinous plates and extensions of their exoskeleton that allow the mantis shrimp to strike at speeds faster than a bullet. Enough force to break through mollusk shells, the carapaces of trilobites and break bone in vertebrates''.




"Survivors who tame Aenigmacaris find that its specialised forearms, its eyes that are able to detect various wavelengths of light, its ability to block the attacks of foes with its telson, and its ability to turn and move at short-timed bursts quicker than a dime; makes this crustacean a perfect siege and shielding mount that can impact its surrounding habitat with the snap of its claws''.




Discovered originally and documented from 1978 to 1979 by Frederick Robert Schram and Jack Horner, the species Aenigmacaris cornigerum has been found throughout Montana, similar to other Aeschronectida crustaceans. However, Aenigmacaris has more characteristics prominent in this genus, and is considered more closely related to mantis shrimps or modern day Hoplocarida than other proto-genera. A. cornigerum was found in the Late Mississippian subperiod Bear Gulch Limestone, more specifically in the Heath Formation of Montana, while the species A. minima has been found in the Kinney Clay Pit or Kinney Brick Quarry, and the Late Pennsylvanian subperiod Madera Formation/Group both in the Manzanita Mountains of New Mexico. 

Not much has been documented about this genus, with these shrimp being on average, around 102 mms in length (the fictional species is around 5 ft in length and 4.7 to 5 ft at its thorax to antennae). Like most crustaceans in their taxonomic classification, they had a layered chitinous exoskeleton and were quite abundant in the fossil record in their given sites and formations. Aenigmacaris had the basic body plan of most Aeschronectida, that including 3 long flagellate antenna, an enlarged abdomen, a shortened thorax, 3 segmented thoracic protopods (appendages), cephalic kinesis, pleopodal epipodite gills, an articulated rostrum and their body plan being divided into four segments or tagmata (including a food-processing unit, the pleon (the abdomen of a crustacean) and tailfan (used in propulsion), the walking-appendages and the sensorial unit). The carapace of these crustaceans covers the entire thorax and their compound eyes are stalked on the anterior cephalon of the head. 

The paleoenvironment of the Late Mississippian Carboniferous Bear Gulch Lime in the Madera Group/Formation in Central Montana consisted of a variety of fauna and flora, such as the earliest Synziphosurina Anderella parva, different genera of shrimp such as Belotelson magister and Sairocaris centurion, Carboniferous Period Horseshoe crabs like Euproops, cephalopods (ammonites, nautiloids and coleoids), a wide array of worms (nematodes, bristle worms and ribbon worms), cartilaginous fish such as Belantsea montana, Debeerius ellefseni, Falcatus falcatus, Stethacanthus, Thrinacodus and Squatinactis montanus, Actinopterygians or ray-finned fish like Cyranorhis bergeraci and Discoserra pectinodon, and lobe-finned fish including early coelocanths. In the formations Aegnimacaris cornigerum specimens have been uncovered, many of these shrimp appear to have fed on small prey present in and around algal growths.



While the original genus of Aenigmacaris lacked any presence of clubbed claws, the fictional restoration Aenigmacaris tromeronychus has features prominent with Holocene Mantis Shrimps, the only living ancestors that have the closest relations to these shrimp. For the design of this species, A. tromeronychus should have the base body plan of Aeschronectida crustaceans, such as Cragopsis socialis with features like the shield carapace over the thorax, its limb count, feeding appendages and telson:


For a colour pallet, the texture of the Aegnimacaris should vary amongst individuals, with some  having bright patterns similar to a Peacock Mantis Shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus)



The Purple Spot Mantis Shrimp or Gonodactylus smithii


And others might have more bland or camouflage-based colour pallets designed to blend in with the oceanic floor:


Squilla Empussa

While having characteristics present with the original Aenigmacaris, the fictional species should have smasher-type or “clubbed” dactyl appendages to differentiate it from other mantis shrimp species, but would play as an evolutionary and advantageous adaptation for this crustacean’s survival in the harsh biosphere/ecosystem centred around Ark Survival Evolved. The tailfin and telson should contain a reinforced exoskeleton and plating in correlation with its abilities and defensive purpose.



- Aenigmacaris can boil surrounding seawater through the use of their forelimbs, purposefully superheating and vaporising water with the spring of its club-like appendages. This behaviour present in mantis shrimps demonstrates how the intense velocity and momentum created from their claws can result in the production of cavitation bubbles and enough force to result in sonoluminescence. Creating a flash of light (which has a 10% of stunning prey - Stunning Ability) with temperatures warmer than 4000℃. Aenigmacaris can provide heat absorption and warmness insulation effects within a given designation around the crustacean towards nearby survivors, when in combat or spring-loading its claws (which can also boil, burn or deal thermal damage to enemies that are struck by its claws).

- Aenigmacaris tromeronychus have a melee attack known as “Shockwave (Shochwaved when dealted to opponents)''. When the pressure in a cavitation bubble collapses due to a shift in said pressure and force from potential energy that increases in a surrounding water body, from the use of their raptorial claws. Modern day mantis shrimp can create “shockwaves' ' that can stun or kill prey. This physical ability could be implemented into this fictional species of Aegnimacaris.

- Similar to the 450 different species of Earth mantis shrimp, the compound eyes of Aenigmacaris can detect the multiple wavelengths of the light spectrum, similar to humans, but can detect ultraviolet and polarised light. Allowing these crustaceans to detect and differentiate prey from the blue reflections and background of the continuous ocean depths. Granting the Aenigmacaris a visual enhancing ability that allows the crustacean to detect the slightest movement signals and disturbances in its surrounding environment.

- Peacock Mantis Shrimp and other “Smasher-based or non-sparring appendage” Stomatopoda are known for their ability to break through glass and structures with the momentum of a 22. Calibre bullet, capable of easily devastating aquariums. If this was applied to a gigantic species, the potential energy released would be more impactful. Aenigmacaris have an applied buff known as “Splintered”. The longer a charged snap is held, the damage increases and can dent or immediately destroy or decrease the fortitude of foundations, structures and building materials depending on the set or material.

- Aenigmacaris have a quick turning radius, though it requires a lot of stamina.

- Based on the characteristics present in Aenigmacaris and other Aeschronectida, the carapace protects the thorax and the body parts connected to the head. Providing further safeguarding for vulnerable organs and weak points that can potentially be advantageous for predators. This exoskeleton plating or “shell” blocks about 80% of oncoming melee and range damage dealt to the head.

- When in combat, both wild and tamed Aenigmacaris can fold their body’s inwards (in a foetal position) with their telson, tail plates and tailfin bending towards the body. Being able to absorb and deflect incoming melee damage with resistant and relatively thick armour plated or calcified cuticles along the tail that naturally protect mantis shrimp and Aenigmacaris during territorial telson sparring sessions.

- Aenigmacaris will naturally hunt trilobites, ammonites, Eurypterid sea scorptions and small fish. While they don’t have a gathering or material collection boost, these crustaceans receive an experience point boost, similar to imprinting, though it applies to specific species of aquatic organisms. There is also a small chance (5%) of a buff known as “Triturate '', where the shells of marine arthropods decrease in defence and health recovery or natural regeneration when struck by a Aenigmacaris snap, breaking opposing shells in the process.

- Knockout taming these organisms is a dangerous process. High-level wild Aenigmacaris can one shot survivors given the time and chance, which is why elasmosaurus and Dunkleosteus placoderms are recommended in distracting or degrading the armour and health of the Aenigmacaris to about 15%. Allowing the player to feed the mantis shrimp chitin or kibble (higher efficiency) every 5 to 10 minutes, with its health very slowly regenerating. This process will continue until the animal is tamed.

- Present in most mantis shrimp species, both males and females are monogamous and will only have one specific mate throughout their entire lifespan. This creates trust bonds, and coordination/cooperation between the pair that can influence the stats of offspring Aenigmacaris and the imprinting process of larvae.




- To balance out the abilities of the Aengimacaris, these crustaceans have a slower movement speed and swimming capabilities. Instead, adapted for a territorial, ambush-based and melee implemented niches/roles.

- Aenigmacaris are weak to large or specialised oceanic predators, including Elasmosaurus (are able to manoeuvre and outpace the attacks of Aenigmacaris), Mosasaurs, Baryonyx (stun attack), Spinosaurus, Dunkleosteus (are able to break through the exoskeleton of Aenigmacaris and are not affected by about 75% of the defensive buffs and boosts applied by the Aenigmacaris) and Sarcosuchus (death roll and agility).

- Mantis Shrimp and numerous different species of aquatic crustaceans can survive out of water for a given time, though Aenigmacaris have a unique metre that monitors their moisture levels from surrounding influences. Temperature, climate, humidity and weather can affect stress levels and the conditions that allow these crustaceans to survive outside of water. 

- Based on studies on Peacock Mantis Shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) The snapping of the dactyl clubs on the forearms of a mantis shrimp decreases their overall force, momentum and velocity when outside of a water source. Punching at an estimated half variable/percentage approximately speed-wise when in the presence of air, when compared to water. This applies to Aenigmacaris where melee damage is debuffed by a percentage of 50% or (½) outside of saltwater.

- Aenigmacaris larvae are very feeble and infirm, being a potential prey source to numerous predatory organisms including cnidaria, electrophorus, megalodons, mantas and megapiranhas. Increasing the requirements/demands essential to raising and breeding these crustaceans.



Any suggestions and comments please reply below. This is still a work in process.

These are my team's suggestions, so all credit and reference goes to them for the idea (s).


- MonstersHunters

















Edited by MonstersHunters
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Hello MalarOpossum867, thank you for your comment and suggestion.

These are approximate stats for Aenigmacaris tromeronychus based on Ark's current attribute listing details between creatures. Any suggestions on stat details, I will fix immediately.

For reasons involving gameplay, the Aenigmacaris has a moisture metre that affects how long the crustacean can be out of water. This does not mean it correlates with oxygen levels, rather an Aenigmacaris can be standing in a lake, pond or a tidepool and have a full moisture meter (kind of similar to a hydration metre) while its oxygen metre depletes. Marine crustaceans such as shrimp, barnacles and their prehistoric relatives could/can stay out of water for limited periods of time, before having to go back into the water to filter oxygen molecules through the use of internal gills, however this is a stat that is upgradable to allow the Aenigmacaris to thrive longer outside with more developed oxygen and moisture levels (rather than being able to simply travel on land without any natural conflicting repercussions).  



- Level Increase

















- (Applies only when outside a water body)





















Melee Damage






Movement Speed








class = "gray"



The fictional species of Aenigmacaris has a higher torpidity, hunger and melee damage percentage than a majority of Ark's midgame creatures, though in health, oxygen and stamina, is weaker in stat increase than the Karkinos (allows the Karkinos to have advantages over the Aenigmacaris and be more distinct).


While Aenigmacaris would be more map specific or would spawn in water bodies present in Ark Survival Evolved 2, my team and I have suggested some current locations that this shrimp could thrive in on the following maps. If you want a more detailed map of spawn locations then reply below and I will get to it:

The Island:
Dead Island (Northeast - Rare), Southeastern Shores (Southeast - Very Rare), Southern Islets (Southeast - Very Rare), South Haven (Bottom Left Corner of the Southeast - Uncommon), Cragg’s Island (Bottom Left Corner of the Southwest - Uncommon)

Luminous Marshlands (Very Rare - Bioluminescent Aberrant Version)

Crystal Isles:
The Tropics (Uncommon - Southwest), The White Shoals (Uncommon - Southwest)

Midgard - Ocean around Balheimer (Very Rare - Around Southeastern continent/landmass)



All modern species of mantis shrimp live in and around Earth’s equator line in lush, warm, subtropical and tropical climates in saltwater habitats, ranging from Oceania to India, Madagascar, Brazil, Massachusetts and California across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans, the Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea, Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Once having lived in the damp waterways of the Carboniferous Period of Montana (which was located around the equator on the supercontinent of Pangaea) and being related to Holocene mantis shrimp genera, Aenigmacaris would live in warmer climates, ranging from reefs and “abrasion coasts”, to tropical coastlines and estuaries.

My team and I decided that for current maps, the Aenigmacaris should have a "rarer" presence in a majority of Ark's ocean's, with most being found in warmer climates and others hidden in and around the seafloor. There should be a balance between both abilities, stats and spawning locations across all creatures introduced or suggested for Ark Survival Evolved in order to avoid imbalance and potential community dislike, which has been seen in current Ark creatures like the Astrodelphis, Managarmr and Velonasaur.


Thank you for your suggestion.
Most of these gameplay details mentioned are my team's ideas, so reference goes to them.


- MonstersHunters


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