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Chasmfiend Hunt by Randy Vargas.jpg
Type Animal family
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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Greatshells are a group of large crustaceans native to Roshar. The family includes numerous species, among them chasmfiends, Tai-na and the extinct lanceryns.[1][2][3]

Appearance and Anatomy[edit]

Greatshells refers to a variety of creatures both aquatic and land-bound. They do, however, share a number of physical characteristics. They are uniformly massive, vastly larger than a human; the largest creatures on the planet, both on land and in the water, are greatshells.[3] They possess an exoskeleton, and multiple legs.[4] They have no tongue, and a complex set of jaws;[5] though it's unclear if they're all carnivorous, it is unlikely. Their blood is violet, and has a musty, moldy smell.[6]

Greatshells breed slowly, and for most species, their populations are generally small. They all reproduce the same way: an adult greatshell transforms (pupates) into a chrysalis, which eventually produces a number of young.[7] They do not seem to have a singular biome they thrive in; they can be found as far east as the Shattered Plains, as far west as Aimia, and as far north as the Reshi Isles.[3][1] Their sheer size makes domesticating most species unfeasible, although there are stories of greatshell riders in places like Kadrix.[1] If the chulls are considered greatshells -- which is unclear -- it would make them the only case of widely-spread domestication of greatshells.

Spren bonds[edit]

The greatshells maintain their enormous size by bonding with mandras, a type of spren.[8] Mandras decrease their weight, allowing them to exist and move their bulk in defiance of square-cube law.[9] Aquatic greatshells may not need a bond.[10] Perhaps to facilitate this bond, greatshells possess gemhearts, massive gemstones, within their bodies.[11] For this reason, they're often hunted; some species, like the lanceryn and chasmfiends, have been hunted down to extinction or near-extinction over their gemhearts.[1]

Known greatshell species[edit]


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