The Ass Blaster, as it was nicknamed by Jodi Chang, is the third and final stage in the Graboid life cycle. Ass Blasters, also referred to as "Flying Shriekers", Blast-Offers or Butt Launchers, lay the eggs that later hatch and turn into Dirt Dragons, thus starting the cycle anew. Ass Blasters are the primary antagonists of Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, which is also their origin. Ass Blasters have continued to appear in later installments, such as Tremors: The Series, Tremors 5: Bloodlines, and Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell.
Ass Blasters have the unique ability among Graboids to both fly and see heat signals, which makes them arguably a greater threat than Shriekers. Burt Gummer is one of the notable individuals to believe that Ass Blasters are the most dangerous Graboid evolution, due in part to their gliding abilities and heightened heat-seeking capability. Burt claimed that fighting Ass Blasters is "twice as dangerous" as fighting Shriekers. Shriekers molt into Ass-Blasters over the course of twelve hours, which resemble their original Shrieker, shedding their skin as they grow and change. They are capable of gliding with the use of red/pink-colored sail-like structures at the sides of their bodies, consisting of a semi-translucent skin supported by rigid stems and a third dorsal sail that extends from the spine down the back and tail. In order to take flight, they shake and quiver their tails and backsides and seem to be mixing two liquids which produce an explosion of flames from their rear end, similar to a Bombardier beetle's blast of acid, hence their name.
American Ass Blaster
The Ass Blaster is the term for the third and final morph/stage of the Graboid's life cycle, the imago stage. Much like butterfly is the term for the imago stage of a caterpillar. A Shrieker having achieved maturity, enters the third known phase of the Graboid life cycle: the Ass Blaster. The Ass Blaster differs from the Shrieker in three significant ways: It possesses wings; it has a rocket-like ability to launch itself into the air; and it has the ability to lay eggs. It is considered by some (including Burt Gummer), to be an even larger threat than Shriekers and Graboids due to their heat seeking abilities and ability to glide after blasting off. This ability to fly is the result off the Ass Blaster's most unique trait in which the Ass Blaster works two chemicals into its tail section. They come from two separate organs in the body with these in turn go to two separate sacs that inflate with the chemicals so that they can mix them in the air and blast off. Once these two chemicals mix, they become volatile and react violently when exposed to the air, creating a lifting explosion. Much like the Bombardier Beetle. Their African Counterpart operates on a slimier principle. According to Burt Gummer in the TV Series, Ass Blaster launch residue smells like "rotten eggs marinated in bad beer".
The Ass Blaster's appearance is slightly different from its previous Shrieker form and that the body is longer but more slightly built with fin like wings used for controlled gliding. The skull is far thinner than the last two forms and is a glossy black contrasting with the Ass Blaster's mostly reddish orange body and tan wings. It does not seem to have ears or at least ear holes, yet they have some hearing capability similar to the earlier Graboid morph. They are just over six feet long, tip to tail, about three feet high, and have head and jaw about two feet long. The heat sensing organ is far more compact being like two slits for eyes as the creature visibly looked left, right and down when looking for the movie protagonists. When the Ass Blaster premiered, in Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, it resulted from the Shrieker reaching their molting period of 12 hours though there have not been subsequent examples of this. They molt out of the skin of the Shrieker leaving it and an orangeish liquid material left behind. As a result, in their first appearance, they were even referred to as "Flying Shriekers". The flame resulting from the Ass Blaster's take off is exceedingly hot, a fact of acknowledged when one of them started to use it to melt the door to Burt's safe room open. This heat also works in their favor if someone tries to tranquilize it, as the sheer heat in the posterior region of an Ass Blaster will neutralize the effects of any tranquilizers to strike its rear end.
Ass Blasters' Reproductive Role
To recap: An egg hatches a Graboid. The Graboid worm matures and dies to birth several Shrieker offspring. The Shriekers feed and produce additional Shriekers (which, as noted elsewhere, appear to be pre-developed siblings). The Shriekers then metamorphose into Ass Blasters, each of which lays at least one egg to produce more Graboids. The reproductive cycle of genus Caederus is, to say the least, unique among all known higher life-forms.
At some unknown point the Ass Blaster's life it will lay one or possibly more eggs, thereby perpetuating the species; this assumption is based on a look at the creatures inside's with only one egg being visible at that time. It is also unknown if they will die or lay another egg after a period of time. It is possible given the pack behavior seen in Tremors 3: Back to Perfection that the creature will communally lay eggs in special geographic areas (most likely arid environments), similar to sea turtles. However another theory has Ass Blaster as a solitary egg layer as when Ass Blasters shriek they do not release the same amount of heat as a shrieker, because unlike Shriekers who are designed to alert each other when they find food, ass blasters are more solitary animals and do not need as much for them to signal each other about food sources.
Alternatively, It has been proposed by some researchers that the Ass Blaster is simply the female of the Graboid species. The evidence supporting this theory is scant, however. The conclusion of this research program is that the Shriekers and Ass blasters both appear to be gender-neutral and capable of parthenogenic (asexual) reproduction. Because Ass Blasters seem to be a genuine metamorphosed form of Shriekers, it is likely that a gestational version of the Graboid egg is present in each Shrieker. It is possible that the trigger for the metamorphosis of a Shrieker into an Ass blaster is connected to the development and fertilization of the Graboid egg.
It is still not understood whether an Ass blaster lays only the one Graboid egg that is inside its body at the time it is spawned, or if it is capable of creating multiple eggs over the course of its lifetime. If Ass blasters employ the same reproductive strategy as adult Graboids, they might be intended to serve as nourishment for the newly hatched Graboid. If, however, Graboid hatchlings are relatively self-sufficient, an Ass blaster might be capable of gestating multiple eggs over the course of its lifetime.
It is worth noting that no Ass Blaster eggs have been shown hatching on screen, as they have all been destroyed. The one Ass blaster known to have survived in captivity — Siegfried and Roy's "Messerschmitt" — has so far not gestated or laid any eggs. Whether this is a clue to a necessary fertilization step in the Graboid reproductive cycle, or evidence of a single-egg cycle, is unknown at this time.
Ass Blaster Biochemistry
Special attention should be paid to the Ass Blaster's spectacular rocket-propulsion ability. The closest natural analogy to this ability may be the volatile discharge produced by the bombardier beetle as a natural defense mechanism. The Ass Blaster, however, clearly generates a compound far more explosive than that of the bombardier beetle. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Ass Blaster's fuel is a highly combustible, methane-based binary compound.
This "ass-blasting" behavior almost certainly evolved as a by-product of the Graboid's digestive processes. Birds and reptiles have a continuous digestive tract that encompasses their reproductive organs. Consequently, whereas mammals have separate orifices and organs for sexual functions and excretion, birds have only a single orifice, known as the cloaca. It is unclear at this time whether the ass-blasting mechanism is a single organ or gland or multiple organs acting in concert; or whether it is segregated from or integrated into the Ass Blaster's digestive tract. For this report, however, we have agreed to refer to the Ass Blaster's rear orifice as the cloaca.
The Ass Blaster is believed to produce the chemicals it requires within its body, perhaps as a result of its complex metabolism. We speculate that the fuel for the ass-blasting ability is binary (i.e., composed of two substances that do not ignite until mixed) and that the Ass Blaster stores these substances in separate glands or bladders. The process of filling these "bladders" is probably continuous. Then, when an Ass Blaster needs to fly, it empties the correct amount of propellant from some of its storage bladders into the colon above the cloaca. The storage bladders immediately seal after discharge and begin accumulating more fuel.
In a coordinated release, the Ass Blaster then discharges its ignition bladder and releases its cloaca sphincter. If the propellant is a true binary compound, timing is critical: If the fluid ignites too early, the Ass Blaster will explode. If the sphincter opens too quickly, the propellant will disperse before it can be usefully ignited.
The cloaca, or the bodily chamber that holds the propellant, must be a remarkable organ. It must be tough enough to withstand an explosion strong enough to propel a creature weighing more than 100 pounds hundreds of yards through the air. Simple Newtonian physics would argue, in fact, that the Ass Blaster should explode from the magnitude of the blast. The fact that it does not implies that its cloaca must be not only strong but fireproof.
The cloaca presumably has some form of calcium lining, which is not without precedent in the species. The Graboid possesses the equivalent of an internal skeleton as well as outer shell segments. Furthermore, the Ass Blaster lays eggs with hard shells, so it must metabolize calcium. In birds, and probably in the Ass Blaster, the eggshell is generated within or just beyond the cloacal tract. It is therefore not unreasonable to posit that the Ass Blaster can secrete a calcium-based lining to reinforce its propellant chamber.
The calcium reinforcing the cloaca is probably not a single structure (which would be too brittle) but rather a complex of jointed segments that can bend or stretch to absorb shocks more effectively. This cloacal structure presumably is linked to the semi-rigid internal structure in order to evenly distribute impact forces throughout the Ass Blaster's body.
Hunting and intelligence
Ass Blasters hunt like birds of prey, scanning the ground for prey while gliding on hot air currents. Their heat sensors are much wider than Shriekers', allowing them to view large sections of land at the same time. Judging from shots in Tremors 3 depicting the Ass Blasters' point of view, the heat they sense is processed into an infrared-camera-like image, just like how Shriekers see the world. An Ass Blaster's heat vision is much more detailed than a Shrieker's, actually being able to distinguish faint evidence of facial expressions. Like the other creatures, Ass Blasters are also attracted to inedible heat sources such as fires. It is not known how they would transverse large distances, such a flock of ducks or geese would, the reason for this quandary is that the only flight formation seen is that of a circling vulture like pattern when hunting.
For reasons unexplained in the film, unlike their previous form, Shriekers, an Ass Blaster will slip into a coma after eating, instead of multiplying. They could possibly (though this theory is unsupported) be processing the meal into making more eggs. It is unknown how long it will take for one to actually lay an egg.
Although speculation, it is also possible that this "flaw" in their biology is actually a mechanism of preservation. In all three stages of their life, Graboids display characteristics of super predators, easily outclassing and devouring all other animals in the area and multiplying rapidly. This means that without any type of control, they could completely destroy the surrounding ecosystem in a very short time. By falling into a coma, the Ass Blasters become easy preys, allowing the other predators to feed on them and restoring the balance. By this time, some Ass Blasters may had already laid some eggs, which would remain dormant for several centuries; giving enough time to the ecosystem to recover and sustain another Graboid attack.
Like the other life cycle stages, Ass Blasters are intelligent, capable of learning from their mistakes. When several Ass Blasters were blown up by being shot with burning spears fired from a makeshift potato gun in Tremors 3, one Ass Blaster quickly learned to dodge these projectiles.
As it is the third and final form of the Graboid, Ass Blasters are shown to have left from the land to the sky to be a more suitable hunter of prey.
Strength and Combat: Ass Blaster proven to be strong enough to rip through steel car hood by shredding with its powerful jaws. It shows to be quite of fighter by mostly attacking with its jaws as proven to hold down a human.
Speed and Agility: Its speed to be stated in the series to be over 45mph as it glides through the air. As it for agility it can move pretty well in the sky to be agile enough to make quick turns. Though they prefer to stay in the air for speed but on the ground proven to be fast enough to chase humans.
Endurance and Stamina: Its endurance might not be as good as Sherikers or Graboids as it prefers to stay in the air mostly to be safe from harm as it will come down to attack prey though it was shown that the last Ass Blaster was able knock out from long period of time when hit by heavy weight of object as it was able to get back up easily to hunt once more. Ass Blaster stamina is very high as they can fly for an entire day in the sky as it possible can hunt as well at night.
Fire Power and Glyer: With unknown chemical in their body to use to make the fore with the combination of gas can cause 10ft long of a stream of fire that is powerful enough to send the Ass Blaster to the sky in high altitudes.
Heat Sensor: Just like Shriekers, they have the ability to see body heat of prey and anything else that is over heating as they more useful of the air to be as exclusive predator.
Intelligence: Though they shown to learn previously mistakes from other Ass Blasters as they were killed by potato gun bomb as it can easily doge it and Messerschmitt also shown that no longer wanted to hunt on the land as it figured to be unsafe for traps as Burt was trying to use himself as bait at night knowing to learn it mistakes from eating food to cause coma as it will hunt only in the air.
Tranquilizer Burner: It was proven by Messerschmitt that shot from tranquilize wouldn't affect an Ass-Blaster munch as it will take nearly under minute for the Ass-blaster to be waken to continue to get back in the air.
Hunting: They have shown to hunt like birds of prey as they will search in the sky to swoop down to attack their prey. Though they can hunt on foot as well with great speed possible to worn out the prey. It's shows in Tremors 3, they can work as pack as they hunt nearly together but they can hunt solitary successfully. Though if like Messerschmitt learning large mistake on the ground of eating hot food that was cook, will prefer to hunt in the mid air since it was proven for itself from man that was Hand Gliding in the air.
Reproduction and safety
Approximately 24 to 72 hours after being spawned, depending on numerous variables, Shriekers metamorphose into winged creatures known as "Ass Blasters". Ass Blasters are so named because they launch themselves into flight by igniting an explosive mixture of liquids produced in their bodies; they blast off like rockets, then glide for up to several miles. They cannot fly like birds.
Like Shriekers, Ass Blasters hunt via infrared radiation and are voracious. Also like Shriekers, Ass Blasters are considered extremely dangerous and are not protected by law. They should be killed on sight. An Ass Blaster is "born" with a single Graboid egg in its abdomen. It is thought that an Ass Blaster's evolutionary goal is to carry its egg as far as possible, to ensure the spread of the species. This, however, is only a theory.
Very little else is known about Ass Blasters or Shriekers. One Ass Blaster currently lives in captivity in Las Vegas, the property of Siegfried and Roy, who are underwriting research on the creature. It was sold to them by Nancy Sterngood and her teen-age daughter, Mindy, who captured it.
If an Ass Blaster is encountered in the wild, it is possible to conceal oneself by masking one's body heat (see the safety tip regarding Shriekers). Another important note is that, unlike Shriekers, Ass Blasters do not multiply. If they eat to excess, they will enter a state that survival expert Burt Gummer calls "food coma." If you are unable to mask your body heat from an Ass Blaster, attempt instead to sate its hunger with high-calorie foodstuffs until such time as it becomes dormant. Though Burt have learn from the series, a Ass-Blaster named Messerschmitt that they can learn their mistakes from the ground as they will eat heated food that they will upchuck it as they will learn to hunt in the air for now on.