DEPARTMENTS

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Aerofauna of Terra Secundus - Part One

The Aerial lifeforms of Terra Secundus are nearly as diverse as those that occur in more terrestrial habitats. Aerofauna are, by definition, creatures who spend most of or their entire life cycle at altitude. What makes aerofauna different from the likes of birds or similar creatures is that they do not simply take to the air as a part of their terrestrial existence but instead make a life for themselves devoid of terrestrial contact. Many of them live at altitudes that exceed the range of birds and in some cases that of man-made flying contraptions. The purpose of this series of articles is to explore the many varied forms of life in the skies of our home of Terra Secundus.

Let us begin with Haler's Kraken. This creature is known for its large bulbous body which tapers into a neck-like extension at the front of the creature. Like many forms of aerofauna, Haler's Kraken is equipped with a trailing, non-prehensile tentacle which is uses as a sort of rudder and wind sensor. The Haler's Kraken is armed with four long, muscular tentacles that extend from it's "head" and normally trail behind and underneath it when not in use.

The kraken is a is a voracious predator and can be found following pods of smaller creatures across the skies. It is not adverse to attacking larger prey up to its own size and can even be found predating its own kind. Due to the brazen nature of this predator, it is also a threat to aerial vessels as these can often be mistaken for prey species and fall victim to its crushing tentacles.

Haler's Kraken is recognizable for its banded gray and black coloring which is broken up by mottling of white speckles. It's head and tentacles as well as its dorsal flange are a bright red, marking it for both mating and threat purposes. The Haler's Kraken sports a number of biol-luminescent spots along both of its sides.

Next we take a look at, the Yellow Bow. Filling a niche analogous to terrestrial dolphins or smaller whales, the Yellow Bow, named so for the yellow spot on the front of its body, is a relatively harmless creature. Sporting the common trailing tail tendril it utilizes a pectoral flange to propel itself at great speeds.

Yellow Bows are not predators but instead strain off massive amounts of cloud-borne algae common in the upper reaches of the sky. When threatened or during mating season, they can become quite agitated and dangerous, attacking anything they perceive as a threat natural or man-made alike.

In addition to its characteristic yellow front spot, the Yellow Bow is distinguished by its sky blue color with grey and white banding along their sides. Each of their three bands is marked by three bio-luminescent spots which it uses for communication.

The last aerofauna we shall discuss today is known as the Silky Sky Marshal. A rather graceful name for an equally graceful creature, the "Silky" as it is more commonly referred to, is a passive aerial opportunity feeder that easily blends int other surrounding clouds. From this position of concealment it will reach out and snare passing creatures with one of its many tentacles, moving them to its central mass where they will be stored in one of its expandable storage sacks for slow digestion.

Silkies are most commonly encountered by humans by accident as they seem to show no appetite for man flesh. Aerial vessels have become snared in their tentacles or outright collided with them, not having seen them as they floated hidden among the clouds. Silkies are sometimes found in the company of other aerial browsers as these creatures often blunder too close and become meals. Though too massive to fall prey to the likes of Haler's Kraken, Silkies do have predators in the form of flocks of Sky Darts or even the feared Shark Bats.

Silkies are identified by their melon, shaped bodies under which hangs a silky mass of filaments and sacks as well as defensive stinging pods. They have the ability to change their colors to blend in with the ambient colors of whatever cloud cover they are in and have even been seen flashing light across their bodies to simulate lightning. This last notable trait has often caused the unnecessary diversion of aerial conveyances who thought themselves in danger of colliding with an oncoming storm.

I do hope you have enjoyed this little adventure into the wondrous world of aerofauna.

Sincerely,

Dr. Herman Zolta
Zangief Insistute of Science

5 comments:

  1. Excellent work, Eli!

    I wonder what happened to Mister Haler, that the kraken is named for him?

    You've really used your gourd (groan - a terrible pun, I know) to explain these interesting creatures. I give it top marks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Perhaps I'll speak on that point later. I have always liked having good psuedo-scientific backgrounds for creatures I design. This may be a bit contrary to the style of VSF/Pulp sometimes, but it helps me get int othe creation.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think pseudo-scientific backgrounds is absolutely in keeping with VSF and pulp! I prefer it, actually.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I guess I was concerned that my analysis might come across as too hard science and not enough pulp science.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just finished the flying sperm - I hope you enjoy the write up and link to your Blog

    Tony

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...