Much like those found on the West Coast, Appalachian floaters are flatworms mutated as an offshoot of the West TekFEV experiments. They are a unique mutant, unseen elsewhere on the East Coast as of 2277.
Floaters are known to be friendly toward super mutants and behave almost as companions, similar to the role of mutant hounds. Some floaters that encountered super mutants in the wilderness even began to follow the roving gangs. As the floaters showed no hostility, the super mutants kept them around as attack animals and companions.
Similar to floaters cultivated on the West Coast, Appalachian floaters are large, soft-bodied invertebrate, named after the flotation sacs that allow it to hover in the air. Noxious, flammable gases are generated by the creature and stored in the large flotation bladders atop their heads, giving the creature its distinctive appearance and ability to hover.
Appalachian floaters have a single mouth consisting of an upper jaw and two large mandibles, each lined with sharp teeth. A remarkably long tongue is kept folded in the mouth. When attacking, the tongue unfurls and shows that its length is roughly the same as the rest of floater's body. Unlike West Coast floaters, the creature's mouth lies on the front of the body rather than horizontally on the head.
Above the mouth is a large, singular eye with eyelids capable of blinking and squinting. Multiple smaller eyes are dotted around the head, although only two others are capable of independent rotation. Each floater variant has a different eye color and pupil shape. Gnashers have bright green eyes with cross-shaped pupils, flamers have yellow eyes with vertical rectangular pupils, and freezers have bright blue eyes with thin, horizontal rectangular pupils.
The main body is conical, with a thick torso tapering into multiple tentacles that wrap around the central tentacle. Two squid-like tentacle "arms" extend from the sides of torso and reach down roughly half the body length. A single tentacle, denoted the tail, protrudes from the back of the main body. The torso and limbs are covered with groups of pulsating growths called pus sacs that are used to store volatile chemicals used in combat.
The head consists of a single balloon-shaped flotation sac mounted above the eyes. A central ridge of hard material runs along the top of the head. The sac continually pulsates, expanding and contracting as the floater hovers. Similar to the growths seen on the body, the vein-covered head emits a glowing radiance easily seen in the dark.
When killed, floaters bring their arms to their head and emit a loud shriek as the flotation sac violently expands. Upon rupturing, the explosion spreads volatile entrails in a circular radius, leaving a lingering pool of pus for a short duration.
Floaters primarily hunt using ambush tactics, burrowing beneath the ground and lying in wait for prey. They leave their long tongues sticking out of the dirt and emit a bright, colorful mist to attract curious prey. When provoked, the floater leaps out from under the ground with its mouth gaping open in an attempt to intimidate and startle the prey.
Unlike their West Coast brethren, Appalachian floaters have developed elemental abilities. Floaters have either acidic-based, incendiary-based, or cryogenic-based capabilities, primarily stored in the pus sacs covering the body and limbs. This pus can be harvested and turned into volatile grenades, which, when thrown, emulate the dying explosion of a critically wounded floater.
Gnasher floaters are green in color and use acid-based attacks, releasing highly corrosive pus with every bite. Unlike other floater variants, gnashers cannot utilize ranged attacks and instead opt for melee combat. Flamer floaters are orange in color and are capable of long range fire-based attacks. Freezer floaters are bright blue in color and specialize in cryogenic attacks. Freezer pus is kept at low temperatures and can be sprayed at will in a large radius, causing damage to any technological parts it comes into contact with, including fusion cores.