Sentient: Ancient Pools
The oldest surviving pools on the planet, they have absorbed a copy of nearly every pattern for a new species that exists. They can (and do) create plants, plant eaters, and predators, and each one is it's own self-contained ecosystem. Far from simply harvesting the earth and sun, or harvesting the plants of others, or harvesting the herbivores, their systems are designed to work together – the plants pump nutrients to the pool, and they produce excess for the herbivores, which feed the complex predators, adept at ambushing other pools. Most important, they can manufacture sentient servants – creatures tailor made to do their bidding, and attack other pools, but who can think for themselves. This is a vital trait, as the pools lack any real senses of their own, and have no inherent mobility. Predators made by simpler pools, upon reaching a pool-creature that retreated through it's root system, would have to return to their home pool, be absorbed, and the pool would have to manufacture a new creature with new directives. Sentient predators can do much more; and can personally track the retreat path of the other pool, find it's new location, and devour it. These creatures are absolutely loyal. Although sentient, they are created for a reason, and cannot even comprehend not acting upon it. They are carefully made this way, after disasters with pools who did not control this aspect of their servants. These complex creatures can also build complex tools with materials the pools themselves cannot use.