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Omnivore - the first book in what grew to be the "Manta" trilogy by Piers Anthony. For a decent plot summary, I once again rely on P. Schuyler Miller, and use excerpts from a review in Analog (October 1969):
"…It may take several readings and a better background in symbolism and psychoanalysis than I have to prize out its full intent and meaning. On the surface, it is the story of three scientists, a physical giant, a sick cripple and a woman, who are studying a strange and hostile planet. Their talents and their personalities complement each other; they are in a degree living emblems - archetypes - of three physical and psychic types: the herbivore the carnivore and the omnivore. Who wears each symbol and what this signifies, you must discover for yourself.
We meet and study the three as a secret agent, Subble, tracks them down and questions them about what happened on Nacre, the fungus-world with its frightful monsters. We learn with Subble that they have brought back one of the higher creatures from Nacre, tagged "mantas" for the fish they resemble, and that these mantas are breeding on Earth and may be a menace to mankind. So Subble hunts the mantas…
…I can say that the mantas are one of the strangest and most believable alien breeds we have had in a long time." [P. Schuyler Miller]
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