A strange larva, &, is a type of monster that appears in dNetHack and notdNetHack. It is a tiny and slithy demonic larva with no hands or limbs, and eventually grows into a full-fledged demon or other creature, depending on the being that created it. Strange larvae possess enhanced regeneration and infravision.
Strange larvae are not randomly generated, and are always created hostile.
Various types of monsters can generate strange larvae, which also determine what type of monsters they can grow up into:
- At 25 insight, carcosan stings and the insight-exclusive sting attacks of byakhee can infect armor with larvae: these larvae bite and sting the monster wearing the armor while they are inside it, and eventually emerge as strange larvae that will grow into more byakhee.
- The breath attacks of an ancient of vitality infest organic items with "biting larvae", and items that are totally destroyed this way generate strange larvae that grow into ancient nupperibos.
- The melee sting attacks of akkabish tannin each implant an egg into the target that will eventually hatch into a strange larva, which quickly grow into another akkabish tannin.
- Each turn, a shalosh tannah has a 1⁄9 chance of producing 1-3 strange larvae on adjacent squares - these larvae will quickly grow into either vrocks, hezrou, nalfeshnees, or mariliths, complete with appropriate organic equipment.
A statue of a strange larva accompanies a hellish seal guarded by a tannin or tannah monster - animating these statues with stone to flesh will turn them into strange larvae that can become akkabish tannin.
Individually, strange larvae are not especially dangerous on their own. The true peril lies in their methods of generation, which often comes at the expense of your armor and other items and may cause combat situations to spiral out of control - this is especially in the specific case of akkabish tannin, which have six sting attacks and can easily create several more akkabish tannin if they or the larvae are not quickly dealt with.