Only the infusion of new information from outside the system can explain these bursts of biological creativity.
Just as vertebrates differ greatly in intelligence and sentience, invertebrates may differ greatly too.
For thousands of years, the design of life was acknowledged by scientists and non-scientists, philosophers and physicians, religious and non-religious.
Darwin was not at all unsure about the value of his orchid book. He viewed it as presenting the most convincing case for natural selection that he could make.
Nature rights apply to individual animals. And, one would assume, to be consistent, to individual plants, insects, water, and (what the hell) germs too.