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In the novel, Liet Kynes tells Leto and Paul that the worms defend the spice. From this, Paul infers a likely relationship which turns out to be correct. The worms make it. But why do they do so? Is it part of their reproductive cycle? Do other desert creatures feed on it?

Why do the worms produce spice, and what role does it play in the ecology of Arrakis?

As an aside, it seems odd how little curiosity there is in universe about this extremely valuable limited resource. One would think there would be teams of planetary ecologists trying to find out everything they could!

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    Have you read the first appendix at the end of the novel, titled "The ecology of Dune"? Apr 5, 2022 at 23:36
  • A very long time ago.
    – Batperson
    Apr 5, 2022 at 23:55

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They do not merely "create" the spice, they are the spice. Consider the water of life, which is very distilled in its impact to the Kwisatz Haderach, and is 100% comprised of sandtworm larvae and water.

Leto became a hybrid, integrating his human metabolism with their non-human one. Given the extension of life by ~3400 years, the metabolic relationship was not parasitic, like leeches, so less mouth-to-excrete connection and more blood-to-blood.

https://dune.fandom.com/wiki/Sandtrout
https://dune.fandom.com/wiki/Spice_Melange
https://dune.fandom.com/wiki/Leto_Atreides_II

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    This is a bit like saying that chickens are made of eggs.
    – Valorum
    Jun 14, 2022 at 18:00
  • More like chicken blood comes from chickens. Jun 14, 2022 at 21:44
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    Spice is a rather complex chemical mixture. While it may be poetic (at best) to say worms=spice in reality (albeit fictional) the trout excretions need to grow a fungus and react with sunlight and air. dune.fandom.com/wiki/Pre-spice_mass Jun 14, 2022 at 23:25
  • worms != spice. +1 to Valorum's comment. Also - better than links to fan wiki would be quotes from the book proving your idea
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 15, 2022 at 0:25
  • @lucasbachmann - Was Leto a 3-way symbiosis between sandtrout, human, and fungus? How could the spice-content of the water of death/life give paul a prescient breakthrough and make him kwisatz haderach if it had no spice? Its a weaker evidence, but not entirely without merit to ask how the Tleilax could hope to exfiltrate sandworms from Arrakis to break the spice monopoly without the fungus? Another weak evidence: fungus doesn't do well in high heat and bright light, but tends to need dark, cool, and moist to grow. Jun 15, 2022 at 1:42

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