National Bird: The Raven Eagle
National Tree: The Godswood Tree
Raven Eagle: The Raven Eagle is one of the largest birds in the region. With a wingspan averaging 8ft and being 6ft in length it is a site to behold in the skies above Dothrakia. The King Eagle is known for its "crown" of feathers on top of its head. It uses its massive 6in talons capable of applying 1200psi to prey on just about any small mammal in Dothrakia. The King Eagle also dives at its prey at speeds of up to 70mph.
Bohemian Hawk: The Bohemian Hawk is a medium sized raptor located throughout Dothrakia.
King Bear: The King Bear is one of the largest carnivores in Dothrakia and one of the largest bears to have ever lived. King Bears routinely weigh 2500 lbs and stand 6ft at the shoulder. When on their hind legs these behemoths can stand up to 13ft tall. However, there have been supposed sitings and catchings of King Bears weighing 4000lbs. These large brown bears are what gives Bear Island its name. They are most common in the Mandalore and Kashkur regions, but have been known to venture further South.
"Have you ever seen a Warthog? A Warhtog is not a graceful or elegant creature. Its an angry f#cking pig that roots around in sh%t all day and gores lesser animals to death with its giant goddamn awkward tusks"
The Dothraki Boar (also known as the Giant Warthog) is one of the largest Boar species in the Isles. It is mostly located in the northern areas of Dothrakia Mandalore, however small populations do exist in the forests of Bohemia.
The structure of the head is well suited for digging, and the boar usually has small tusks to help them root through the ground. The animal can run at a maximum speed of 40 km/h and jump at a height of 140–150 cm (55–59 in). Males average 110–130 kg (240–290 lb) in weight, 95 cm (37 in) in shoulder height and 160 cm (63 in) in body length, while females weigh 95 kg (209 lb), reach 85–90 cm (33–35 in) in shoulder height and 145 cm (57 in) in body length, however, some have been recorded to weigh 300–350 kg (660–770 lb) and measure 125 cm (49 in) in shoulder height, although this is not as common due to hunting, monstrous boars are still seen around roaming the Dothraki forests. Males are also known for having a mane running down the length of their body on their back.
The head acts as a plough, while the powerful neck muscles allow the animal to upturn considerable amounts of soil. It is capable of digging 8–10 cm (3.1–3.9 in) into frozen ground and can upturn rocks weighing 40–50 kg (88–110 lb). This helps it forage for food in the nations forests. Its diet usually consists of, nuts, berries, seeds, twigs, bark, roots, tubers, bulbs, earthworms, insects, eggs, and carrion. It is mainly preyed on by King Bears, and Dothraki Wolves, but larger boars are often to large, even for these predators.
With a permit, citizens are allowed to hunt a certain number of boar each year due to their rapid reproduction (4-14 piglets a year). However, as a sign of respect many hunters will not kill the giant boars if they are seen.
Iron Age Pig
Iron Age Pigs are a hybrid of domestic pigs and wild Dothraki Boar. They are called Iron Age Pigs because they resemble prehistoric art work of boars.
The Island Elk is a subspecies of elk. Elk cows average (496 to 531 lb), stand 4.3 ft at the wither, and are 6.9 ft from nose to tail. Bulls are some 40% larger than cows at maturity, weighing an average of 320 to 331 kg (705 to 730 lb), standing 1.5 m (4.9 ft) at the wither and averaging 2.45 m (8.0 ft) in length while large males reach 5.6 ft tall at wither and 9.8 ft in length. Typically, male Island elk weigh around 661 to 1,199 lbs, while females weigh 573 to 628 lbs, but the largest are known to get up to 1,300 lbs. Their natural predators are usually packs of wolves, however King Bears have been known to prey on them when possible.
In the summer, elk can consume 20lbs of food a day. Their diet consists of grass, bark, and sprouts.
Notable Marine Life
Spot Bellied Seal: (Factbook: Athara Magarat
Mechi Sea - Water body connected to Argean Sea in north and Gatadpatigan Sea in south. The nations of Agadar, Alteran Republics, Athara Magarat, Carcinova, Michigonia and the International District territory surround this sea.
Gatadpatigan Sea - Water body connected to Mechi Sea in north and Waragatan Sea in southeast. The nations of Athara Magarat, Torom, San Montagna and the International District territory surround this sea.
Listed below in this dispatch are only some species. If you want to learn about other species; proceed to the following links.
The Basking Turtle (Eretmochelys Natans) is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. The species has almost an Isles-wide distribution.
The basking turtle's appearance is similar to that of other marine turtles. In general, it has a flattened body shape, a protective carapace, and flipper-like limbs, adapted for swimming in seas. It is easily distinguished from other sea turtles by its sharp, curving beak with prominent tomium, and the saw-like appearance of its shell margins. Basking turtle shells slightly change colors, depending on water temperature. While this turtle lives part of its life in sea, it spends more time in shallow lagoons and coral reefs. The World Conservation Union, primarily as a result of human fishing practices, classifies E. natans as critically endangered. Basking turtle shells were the primary source of tortoiseshell material used for decorative purposes in various Isles nations and cultures in the past. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species outlaws the capture and trade of basking turtles and products derived from them.
Anatomy and morphology
Adult basking turtles typically grow to 1 m (3 ft) in length, weighing around 80 kg (180 lb) on average. The heaviest basking turtle ever captured weighed 127 kg (280 lb). The turtle's shell, or carapace, has an amber background patterned with an irregular combination of light and dark streaks, with predominantly black and mottled-brown colors radiating to the sides.
Several characteristics of the basking turtle distinguish it from other sea turtle species. Its elongated, tapered head ends in a beak-like mouth (from which its common name is derived), and its beak is more sharply pronounced and hooked than others. The basking turtle's forelimbs have two visible claws on each flipper.
One of the basking turtle's more easily distinguished characteristics is the pattern of thick scutes that make up its carapace. While its carapace has five central scutes and four pairs of lateral scutes like several members of its family, E. natans' posterior scutes overlap in such a way as to give the rear margin of its carapace a serrated look, similar to the edge of a saw or a steak knife. The turtle's carapace has been known to reach almost 1 m (3 ft) in length. The basking turtle appears to frequently employ its sturdy shell to insert its body into tight spaces in reefs.
Crawling with an alternating gait, basking turtle tracks left in the sand are asymmetrical in contrast to other sea turtles that have a more symmetrical gait.
Due to its consumption of venomous cnidarians, basking turtle flesh can become toxic.
The basking turtle has been shown to be biofluorescent. It is unknown if this is derived from the turtle's diet, which includes biofluorescent hard coral organisms. Males have more intense pigmentation than females, and a behavioral role of these differences is speculated.
Basking turtles have a wide range around the Isles, but are found more predominantly in tropical reefs.
Adult basking turtles are primarily found in tropical coral reefs. They are usually seen resting in caves and ledges in and around these reefs throughout the day. As a highly migratory species, they inhabit a wide range of habitats, from the seas to lagoons and even mangrove swamps in estuaries. Little is known about the habitat preferences of early life-stage E. natans. Like other young sea turtles, they are assumed to be completely pelagic; remaining at sea until they mature.
While they are omnivorous, sea sponges are their principal food; they constitute 70–95% of the turtles' diets. However, like many spongivores, they feed only on select species, ignoring many others. Aside from sponges, basking turtles feed on algae, cnidarians, comb jellies and other jellyfish, and sea anemones. They feed on the dangerous Karnali wasps by closing their unprotected eyes when they feed on these jellyfish. The Karnali wasp's stinging cells cannot penetrate the turtles' armored heads.
Basking turtles are highly resilient and resistant to their prey. Some of the sponges they eat are highly (often lethally) toxic to other organisms. In addition, basking turtles choose sponge species with significant numbers of siliceous spicules.
Not much is known about the life history of basking turtles. Their life history can be divided into three phases, namely the pelagic phase from hatching to about 20 cm, the benthic phase when the immature turtles recruit to foraging areas and the reproductive phase when they reach sexual maturity. The pelagic phase possibly lasts until the turtles reach around 20 cm in length in 1–3 years, reaching sexual maturity at around 40 cm (2–4 years). Basking turtles show a degree of fidelity after recruiting to the benthic phase, however movement to other similar habitats is possible.
Basking turtles mate biannually in secluded lagoons off their nesting beaches in remote islands throughout their range. The most significant nesting beaches are in the southern coastline and some northern coasts of Dragao do Mar. Mating season for basking turtles usually spans April to November. Populations in eastern seas of the Isles, such as the Gatadpatigan Sea population, mate from September to February. After mating, females drag their heavy bodies high onto the beach during the night. They clear an area of debris and dig a nesting hole using their rear flippers, then lay clutches of eggs and cover them with sand. Nests of E. natans normally contain around 140 eggs. After the hours-long process, the female returns to the sea. Their nests can be found throughout beaches in about 60 countries.
The baby turtles, usually weighing less than 24 g (0.85 oz) hatch at night after around two months. These newly emergent hatchlings are dark-colored, with heart-shaped carapaces measuring around 2.5 cm (0.98 in) long. They instinctively crawl into the sea, attracted by the reflection of the moon on the water (possibly disrupted by light sources such as street lamps and lights). While they emerge under the cover of darkness, baby turtles that do not reach the water by daybreak are preyed upon by shorebirds, shore crabs, and other predators.
Basking turtles evidently reach maturity after 20 years. Their lifespan is unknown. Like other sea turtles, E. natans are solitary for most of their lives; they meet only to mate. They are highly migratory. Because of their tough carapaces, adults' only predators are sharks, estuarine crocodiles, octopuses, and some species of pelagic fish.
A series of biotic and abiotic cues, such as individual genetics, foraging quantity and quality, or population density, may trigger the maturation of the reproductive organs and the production of gametes and thus determine sexual maturity. Like many reptiles, all marine turtles of a same aggregation are highly unlikely to reach sexual maturity at the same size and thus age. Age at maturity has been estimated to occur between 10 and 25 years of age for basking turtles in western seas of the Isles. Turtles nesting in the eastern seas of the Isles may reach maturity at a minimum of 30 to 35 years.
Within the sea turtles, E. natans has several unique anatomical and ecological traits. It is a primarily spongivorous reptile. Because of this, its evolutionary position is somewhat unclear. Molecular analyses support placement of this species alongside carnivorous sea turtles, rather than with the herbivorous ones. The basking turtle probably evolved from carnivorous ancestors.
Exploitation by humans
Throughout the Isles, basking turtles are taken by humans, though it is illegal to hunt them in many countries. In some parts of the Isles, basking turtles are eaten as a delicacy.
Many cultures also use turtles' shells for decoration. These turtles have been harvested for their beautiful shell since ancient times, and the material known as tortoiseshell in the Isles is normally from the basking turtle.
TBD by nations
The Karnali Wasp (Chironex Kemorii) is a species of extremely venomous box jellyfish found in coastal waters of all Karnali Sea nations: Almorea, Athara Magarat, Dragao do Mar, Keipan, Keomora, San Montagna and Storalia.
Notorious for its sting, C. kemorii has tentacles up to 3 m (10 ft) long covered with millions of cnidocytes which, on contact, release microscopic darts delivering an extremely powerful venom. Being stung commonly results in excruciating pain, and if the sting area is significant, an untreated victim may die in two to five minutes. The amount of venom in one animal is said to be enough to kill 60 adult humans, although most stings are mild and do not require hospitalization.
Chironex kemorii is one of the largest cubozoans (collectively called box jellyfish), many of which may carry similarly toxic venom. Its bell grows to about the size of a basketball. From each of the four corners of the bell trails a cluster of 15 tentacles. The pale blue bell has faint markings; viewed from certain angles, it bears a somewhat eerie resemblance to a human head or skull. Since it is virtually transparent, the creature is nearly impossible to see in its habitat, posing particular danger to swimmers.
When the jellyfish are swimming, the tentacles contract so they are about 15 cm long and about 5 mm in diameter; when they are hunting, the tentacles are thinner and extend to about 3 m long. The tentacles are covered with a high concentration of stinging cells called cnidocytes, which are activated by pressure and a chemical trigger; they react to proteinous chemicals. Karnali wasps are day hunters; at night they are seen resting on the ocean floor.
In common with other box jellyfish, C. kemorii has four eye-clusters with 24 eyes. Some of these eyes seem capable of forming images, but whether they exhibit any object recognition or object tracking is debated; it is also unknown how they process information from their sense of touch and eye-like light-detecting structures due to their lack of a central nervous system. During a series of tests by Athara Magarati marine biologists including Sushila Raymajhi, a single Karnali wasp was put in a tank. Then, two white poles were lowered into the tank. The creature appeared unable to see them and swam straight into them, thus knocking them over. Then, similar black poles were placed into the tank. This time, the jellyfish seemed aware of them, and swam around them in a figure-eight. Finally, to see if the specimen could see color, a single red pole was stood in the tank. When the jellyfish apparently became aware of the object in its tank, it was seemingly repelled by it and remained at the far edge of the tank. Following these experiments, the researchers put forward the idea of red safety nets for beaches (these nets are usually used to keep the jellyfish away, but many still get through its mesh). The test was repeated, with similar results, on Maran's jellyfish, another toxic species of box jellyfish.
Chironex kemorii lives on a diet of prawns and small fish, and are prey to basking turtles, whose thick skin is impenetrable to the cnidocytes of the jellyfish.
Distribution and habitat
The medusa is pelagic and has been documented from coastal waters of all Karnali Sea nations. This species has also been reported in other nations but its distribution outside the Karnali Sea has not been confirmed as of yet. Breeding occurs in lower levels of rivers and mangrove channels.
Chironex kemorii is best known for its extremely powerful and occasionally fatal "sting". The sting can produce an excruciating pain accompanied by an intense burning sensation, like being branded with a red hot iron. Fatalities are most often caused by the larger specimens of C. kemorii.
C. kemorii has caused at least 40 deaths in all Karnali Sea nations since the first report in 1956, but most encounters appear to result only in mild envenomation. Among more than 200 analyzed C. kemorii stings in all Karnali Sea nations from 1991 to 2004, only 8% required hospital admission, 5% received antivenom and there was a single fatality (a 3-year-old Keomoran child). 26% experienced severe pain, while it was moderate to none in the remaining. Most deaths in recent decades have been children, as their smaller body mass puts them at a higher risk of fatal envenomation. When people do die, it is usually caused by a cardiac arrest occurring within minutes of the sting.
Researchers at Sinja University have found that the venom causes cells to become porous enough to allow potassium leakage, causing hyperkalemia which can lead to cardiovascular collapse and death as quickly as within two to five minutes with an LD50 of 0.04 mg/kg (to laboratory mice). It was postulated that a zinc compound may be developed as an antidote. Occasionally, swimmers who get stung will undergo cardiac arrest or drown before they can even get back to the shore or boat.
Chironex kemorii and other jellyfish, are abundant in the waters of Karnali Sea during the summer months. They are believed to drift into the aforementioned estuaries to breed. Signs are erected along the coast to warn people of Karnali wasps and few people swim during this period. However, some people still do and put themselves at great risk. At popular swimming spots, net enclosures are placed out in the water wherein people can swim but jellyfish cannot get in, keeping swimmers safe.
History of sting treatment
Until 2005, treatment involved using pressure immobilization bandages, with the aim of preventing distribution of the venom through the lymph and blood circulatory systems. This treatment is no longer recommended by health authorities, due to research which showed that using bandages to achieve tissue compression provoked nematocyst discharge.
The application of vinegar is recommended treatment because vinegar (4–6% acetic acid) permanently deactivates undischarged nematocysts, preventing them from opening and releasing venom. A 2014 study demonstrated in vitro that while vinegar deactivates unfired nematocysts, there was also an increase in venom concentration in the solution, possibly by causing already-fired nematocysts (which still contain some venom) to release what remained. However, this study has been criticized on several methodological grounds, including that the experiment was done using a model membrane that is much different from (and more simple than) human skin. Also, the researchers did not determine whether the increase in venom concentration was caused by already-discharged nematocysts releasing more venom, or if the venom that was released initially had simply leaked back out through the membrane, thus confounding the concentration measurement. Despite these concerns, dilute acetic acid is still the recommended treatment.
The Maran's Jellyfish (Carukia Toromii) is a small and extremely venomous jellyfish found in the Gatadpatigan Sea.
A mature C. toromii's bell is only 12 by 30 millimeters (0.47 by 1.18 in) in height. It has four contractile tentacles, one extending from each bottom "corner" of its bell, ranging in length from 5 to 50 centimeters (2.0 to 19.7 in).
The species was discovered by Dr Bena Maran of Torom. The jellyfish was later named after him.
Carukia toromii is a soft-bodied marine organism. This species falls within the Medusozoa subphylum and the Cubozoa class. It is a type of "Box Jellyfish" that is known for producing potent venom.
Threat to Humans: Victims of Maran's jellyfish stings reported severe symptoms of muscle aches, back pain, nausea, headaches, chest and abdominal pains, sweating, high blood pressure and difficulty breathing. Intravenous administration of pethidine is used to treat the victims.
Most reported incidents have been localized to Torom with very few cases from Athara Magarat and San Montagna during the warm summer season. Due to the small size of C. toromii (approximately 20 mm in diameter and 25 mm in depth of the bell), they often go undetected in the open water.
The structure of C. toromii follows that of a Box Jellyfish. It has a square-shaped bell structure and long tentacles that extend out of its base. The tentacles house the nematocysts which are stinging cells. Type I nematocysts (homotrichous microbasic rhopaloids) and Type II (homotrichous haplonemes) nematocysts are both found on the tentacles and bells of the species. These cells are also capable of producing venom that changes composition as C. toromii matures to adulthood. Studies with SDS gel electrophoresis have found that the protein composition of the venom increased as these jellyfish altered their prey from invertebrates (zooplankton and crustaceans) to vertebrates.
C. toromii feeds by stinging its prey through nematocysts and injecting venom. Once the prey is paralyzed and in captivity, muscle cells in the tentacles will aid the jellyfish to bring food closer to its mouth. At the mouth, the food can enter a gastric cavity and be digested.
C. toromii, like other cubozoans, follows a life cycle that alternates between young benthic sessile polyps and adult motile pelagic medusae. The cycle begins with a planula larvae. This planula will continue to swim until it finds a substrate that it can use as support. Once the planula attaches to a substrate like a coral reef or rock, the organism will morph into a polyp. This polyp can remain asexual for extended periods of time. Eventually, the polyp will begin to clone and form a polyp colony. As it continues to acquire nutrients, the colony will develop into a mature medusae adult.
The Sea Cat (Lontra Aquafelis) is a rare and poorly known Central Argean mammal of the weasel family (Mustelidae). The sea cat only lives in saltwater, coastal environments and rarely ventures into freshwater or estuarine habitats.
The sea cat is one of the smallest otters, measuring 87 to 115 cm (34 to 45 in) from the nose to the tip of the tail and weighs 3 to 5 kg (6.6 to 11.0 lb). The tail measures 30 to 36 cm (12 to 14 in). Its fur is coarse, with guard hairs measuring up to 2 cm (0.79 in) in length covering dense, insulating underfur. The sea cat is dark brown above and on the sides, and fawn on the throat and underside.
The sea cat has webbed paws and strong claws. The ventral side (underside) of the paws are partially covered in fur. It has 36 teeth which are developed for slicing instead of crushing. The sea cat does not display sexual dimorphism.
Distribution and habitat
Sea cats are found in littoral areas of southeastern Athara Magarat, close to shore in the International District, along the entire northeastern coast of San Montagna and the northern coastline of Torom. Occasional vagrant sightings still occur as far afield as southeastern Keipan.
The sea cats mainly inhabits rocky shorelines with abundant seaweed and kelp, and infrequently visits estuaries and freshwater rivers. It appears to select habitats with surprisingly high exposure to strong swells and winds, unlike many other otters, which prefer calmer waters. Caves and crevices in the rocky shorelines may provide them with the cover they need, and often a holt will have no land access at high tide. Sea cats avoid sandy beaches.
Little is known about the diet of sea cats, but their primary prey is believed to be crab, shrimp, mollusks, and fish.They also eat many types of crustaceans.
Behavior and reproduction
Sea cats are most often seen individually or in small groups of up to three. They are difficult to spot, swimming low in the water, exposing only their heads and backs. It is not known whether they are territorial, as males are occasionally seen fighting, yet fights have also been observed even between mating pairs. Fighting takes place on prominent rocks above the waterline, which are also used for resting, feeding, and grooming. Sea cats have also been observed feeding cooperatively on large fish, but it is not known how common the practice is.
The sea cats are diurnal.
Sea cats may be monogamous or polygamous, and breeding occurs in December or January. Litters of two to five pups are born in January, February or March after a gestation period of 60 to 70 days. The pups remain with their mother for about 10 months of parental care, and can sometimes be seen on the mother's belly as she swims on her back. Parents bring food to the pups and teach them to hunt.
Sea cats are rare and are protected under Athara Magarati, San Montagnan and Toroman law. In the past, they were extensively hunted both for their fur and due to perceived competition with fisheries. Large-scale hunting extirpated them from their previous habitats in what is now the Central Canal Authority territory. Poaching is still a problem, but one of unknown magnitude. It is unknown how many sea cats exist in the wild or what habitats should be preserved to encourage their recovery.
The Spot-Bellied Seal (Pagophilus Tantum) is a species of earless seal, or true seal, native to the Argean Sea and northern parts of North Mesder Sea, Karnali Sea, Mechi Sea and Eterna Sea.
The mature spot-bellied seal has pure black eyes. It has a silver-gray fur covering its body, with black markings in dorsal and ventral regions. Adult spot-bellied seals grow to be 1.7 to 2.0 m (5 ft 7 in to 6 ft 7 in) long and weigh from 115 to 140 kg (254 to 309 lb). The spot-bellied seal pup often has a yellow-white coat at birth due to staining from amniotic fluid, but after one to three days, the coat whitens and remains white for 2–3 weeks, until the first molt. Adolescent spot-bellied seals have a silver-gray coat spotted with black.
Spot-bellied seals are considered sexually dimorphic, as the males are slightly larger, and more decorated. Males weigh an average of 135 kg (298 lb), and reach a length up to 1.9 m (6.2 ft), while females weigh an average of 120 kg (260 lb) and reach up to 1.8 meters (5.9 ft). Males generally have a more defined dorsal harp marking and a darker head, while some females never develop the marking and remain spotted.
Compared to other phocid seals, the harp seal dives from shallow to moderately deep depths. Dive depth varies with season, time of day and location. In the Argean Sea sub-population, the average dive rate is around 8.3 dives per hour and dives range from a depth of less than 20 to over 500 m. Dive duration ranges from less than 2 minutes to just over 20 minutes. During the spring and summer when seals forage along the pack ice in the Argean Sea, most dives are less than 50 m. In the late fall and winter, dive depth has been found to increase, particularly in the Mechi Sea, where the mean dive depth was found to be 141 m.
Lactating female spot-bellied seals spend about 80% of the time in the water and 20% of the time on the fast-ice weaning or in close proximity to their pups. However, almost half of the time spent in the water is at the surface, which is well beyond what is expected to recover from their dives. This behavior allows the mother spot-bellied seal to conserve energy and avoid the harsh conditions of the fast-ice while remaining in close proximity to its pup. As with most phocids, the mother spot-bellied seal requires vast amounts of energy to ensure sufficient mass transfer to the growing, weaning pup, however they still remain within their aerobic dive limit for 99% of dives.
Spot-bellied seals combine anatomical and behavioral approaches to managing their body temperatures, instead of elevating their metabolic rate and energy requirements. Their lower critical temperature is believed to be under −10 degrees Celsius in air. Blubber insulates the spot-bellied seals core but not the flippers as much, instead the flippers rely on having circulatory adaptations to help prevent heat loss through their flippers. A thick coat of blubber insulates its body and provides energy when food is scarce or during fasting. Blubber also streamlines its body for more efficient swimming. Brown fat warms blood as it returns from the body surface as well as providing energy, most importantly for newly-weaned pups.
Flippers act as heat exchangers, warming or cooling the seal as needed. On ice, the seal can press its fore-flippers to its body and its hind-flippers together to reduce heat loss. They can also redirect blood flow from the periphery to minimize heat loss.
The spot-bellied seals' eyes are large for its body size and contain a large spherical lens, which improves its focusing ability. Its pupil is mobile to help it adapt to the intense glare of ice. Its retina is rod-dominated and backed by a cat-like and reflective tapetum lucidum, enhancing its low light sensitivity. Its cones are most sensitive to blue-green spectra, while its rods help sense light intensity and may provide some color discrimination. Its cornea is lubricated by lacrimal glands, to protect the eye from sea water damage. The lack of tear glands to drain secretions to the nasal passages contribute to the harp seals "eye rings" on land. This can be an indication of the hydration level of the seal.
On ice, the mother identifies her offspring by smell. This sense may also warn of an approaching predator such as the Noronnican Red Shark. Underwater, the seal closes its nostrils and smells nothing.
Its whiskers, called vibrissae, lie in horizontal rows on either side of its snout. They provide a touch sense with labeled line coding, and underwater, also respond to low-frequency vibrations, such as movement.
Similar to most pinnipeds, the spot-bellied seal exhibits a carnivorous diet. They have a diverse diet which includes several dozen species of fish and invertebrates. The North Mesder, Karnali, Mechi and Eterna populations all migrate northward in the summer to forage extensively in the Argean Sea, where common prey items include krill, capelin, herring, flat fish and gladiform fish. Spot-bellied seals are known to exhibit some preference for prey, though the driving force behind the composition of their diet is prey abundance. Some individuals from the Argean Sea sub-population have been recorded to forage in their territorial waters alongside migrating seals from North Mesder, Karnali, Mechi and Eterna Seas during the late summer and fall.
Spot-bellied seals spend relatively little time on land compared with time at sea. These are social animals and can be quite vocal in groups. They form large colonies, within which, smaller groups with their own hierarchy are believed to form. Groups of several thousand form during pupping and mating season. Spot-bellied seals are able to live over 30 years in the wild.
On the ice, pups call their mothers by "yelling," and "mumble" while playing with others. Adults "growl" and "warble" to warn off conspecifics and predators. Underwater, adults have been recorded using more than 19 types of vocalization during courting and mating.
Reproduction and Development
The spot-bellied seal is a fast ice breeder and is believed to have a promiscuous mating system. Breeding occurs between mid-February and April. Courtship peaks during mid-March and involves males performing underwater displays, using bubbles, vocalizations, and paw movements to court females. Females, who remain on the ice, will resist copulation on unless underwater.
Females mature sexually between ages five to six. Annually thereafter, they may bear one pup, usually in late February. The gestation period lasts about 11.5 months, with a fetal development phase of 8 months. There have been reported cases of twin births, but singletons are vastly more common. The fertilized egg grows into an embryo which remains suspended in the womb for up to three months before implantation, to delay birth until sufficient pack ice is available.
Spot-bellied seal births are rapid, with recorded lengths as short as 15 seconds in duration. In order to cope with the shock of a rapid change in environmental temperature and undeveloped blubber layers, the pup relies on solar heating, and behavioral responses such as shivering or seeking warmth in the shade or even water.
Newborn pups weigh 11 kilograms (24 lb) on average and are 80–85 cm (31–33 in) long. After birth, the mother feeds only her own pup. During the approximately 12-day long nursing period, the mother does not hunt, and loses up to 3 kilograms (6.6 lb) per day. Spot-bellied seal milk initially contains 25% fat (this number increases to 40% by weaning as the mother fasts) and pups gain over 2.2 kilograms (4.9 lb) per day while nursing, quickly thickening their blubber layer. During this time, the juvenile's "greycoat" grows in beneath the white neonatal coat, and the pup increases its weight to 36 kg (79 lb). Weaning is abrupt; the mother turns from nursing to promiscuous mating, leaving the pup behind on the ice. While courtship starts on the ice, mating usually takes place in the water.
After abandonment, in the post-weaning phase, the pup becomes sedentary to conserve body fat. Within a few days, it sheds its white coat, reaching the "beater" stage. This name comes from the sound a beater's tail makes as the seal learns to swim. Pups begin to feed on at 4 weeks of age, but still draw on internal sources, relying first on stored energy in the body core rather than blubber. During this time the ice begins to melt leaving them vulnerable to predators like Noronnican red sharks. This fast can reduce their weight up to 50%. As many as 30% of pups die during their first year, due in part to their early immobility on land.
Around 13–14 months old, the pup molts again, becoming a "bedlamer". Juveniles molt several times, before the adults' spotted pelt fully emerges after several years (or not at all in females).
Seals congregate annually on the ice to molt, pup and breed before migrating to summer feeding grounds. Their lifespan can be over 30 years.
The current spot-bellied seal population estimates total around 1.5 to 2 million individuals. The largest population in the Argean Sea is estimated to produce 150,000–200,000 young annually. Due to their dependence on pack ice for breeding, spot-bellied seals from North Mesder, Karnali, Mechi and Eterna Seas migrate to Argean Sea during the breeding season.
Migration and vagrancy
Spot-bellied seals are strongly migratory. Their navigational accuracy is high, with good eyesight an important factor. They are occasionally found as vagrants, south of their normal range in the Gatadpatigan Sea and other areas. In Torom, a total of 30 vagrants were recorded between 1800 and 1990.
Spot-bellied seals can strand on coasts, often in warmer months, due to dehydration and parasite load. Spot-bellied seals often consume snow to stay hydrated, but in mild winters may not have enough available. Several centers in Ainslie, Alteran Republics, Athara Magarat, Dothrakia, Keipan, Keomora, Noronica, Norstham (where they are even present on the national flag), Northern Islands of Polar Svalbard, San Montagna and TBD are active in seal rescue and rehabilitation. Spot-bellied seals are protected by the law in almost all nations in its range.
In Flandrian, the migration of spot-bellied seals marks new year in the native calendar. Traditionally in some native groups, status is given based on the amount of seals killed. While it's illegal to kill them a person has the right cultural background, most Flandrians are fine with this tradition. In fact, through some legal loopholes, a seasonal trend of seal soup has sprung up in most northern areas of Flandrian.
Hunting has had a significant impact on the population size of spot-bellied seals. Its estimated there was 5 million spot-bellied seals 150 years ago, and now about 2 million remain. Hunting restrictions are now in place for these animals. The North Mesder Sea population was found to have decreased by at least 50 percent form the time period 1950-1970. Populations have also been changing with respect to distribution and have been found to have invaded new areas such as the Gatadpatigan Sea. The spot-bellied seal invasions have been harming the area's fisheries.
The Isles Spiny Oyster (Spondylus Ipachensis) is a species of bivalve mollusc. It can be found along the coast of almost every Isles nation.
The Isles spiny oyster can grow up to 10 centimeters (3.9 in) in diameter. The valves of the shell are roughly circular and the upper one is decorated with many spiny protuberances up to 5 centimeters (2.0 in) long. When growing in a crevice, the shape of the shell adapts itself to the available space. The color varies but is usually white or cream with orange or purplish areas making it well camouflaged to hide from its predators. The lower valve is flat and is attached to the substrate. When the living animal is lying on the seabed it is usually not visible because of the algae, marine animals and sediment that cover the shell. The flat tree oyster and Lister's tree oyster are often among these epibionts. A diver swimming past may just observe a slight movement on the seabed as the oyster snaps its valves shut. Young animals are much less spiny than adults and resemble jewelbox clams.
Distribution and habitat
The Isles spiny oyster occurs in the coasts of almost every nation in the Isles and is generally found at depths between 9 and 45 meters (30 and 148 ft). It occurs on deep water reefs especially in areas with high sedimentation. It is often lodged in a crevice or concealed under an overhang. It is also a member of the fouling community, being found on sea walls, man made structures and wrecks especially off the northern coast of Dragao do Mar.
The Isles spiny oyster is a filter feeder sifting out plankton and other organic material from the water that passes over its gills. Little is known of its breeding habits but the larvae are planktonic, seeking out suitable locations on which to settle. Areas with suitable calcareous matter for building the shell are favored. The adults are sedentary and normally occupy the same position for the rest of their lives unless shifted by storms.
The Central Argean Crab (Uca Toromii) is a species of fiddler crab that lives on north-western shores of the Gatadpatigan Sea.
Uca toromii is the most common species of fiddler crab on the east coast of Athara Magarat, San Montagna and Torom. Its natural range extends from northwestern divisions of Torom throughout San Montagna to most of the southern mainland Magarati hangates. In 2014, Magarati biologists stated that its northern limit now extended to Western Tamsaling Hangate and even Hangate of Arun Valley as a result of a range expansion possibly due to climate change.
Central Argean crabs were accidentally introduced to Dragao do Mar during Nine Gyarong Gun's invasion of the Tabajaran Empire; but they now thrive in mostly in southern Marian coastline and a few northern coasts.
There is noticeable sexual dimorphism in Uca toromii. Although both males and females are olive-brown in color, males have a carapace width of 15–23 mm (0.59–0.91 in), and a patch of royal blue on the carapace, while females lack the blue patch and are only 13–18 mm (0.51–0.71 in) across the carapace. In both sexes, the pereiopods (walking legs) have dark bands, and the eyestalks are narrow. The most conspicuous difference is the form of the chelipeds (claw-bearing legs); in females, they are similar, while in males, one is greatly enlarged and colored yellow.
The males use circular movements of their large cheliped to attract a mate. Mating occurs up to every two weeks, typically 4–5 days after the spring tides, over a period lasting from June to September. It takes place in a burrow, after which the female will brood her eggs for 12–15 days before releasing the hatchling larvae on the high spring tides. The larvae pass through five planktonic zoea and one megalopa stages before settling to the sea floor to molt into the adult form. This process takes around 28 days. After one year, the crab reaches sexual maturity, and adult life span is typically 12–18 months.
Uca toromii was first described by Nayan Man Pachyu, a renowned biologist and explorer from Second Tamuwan Hangate, in 1869.
The Gatadpatigan Seadragon (Phycodurus Toromii) is a marine fish in the family Syngnathidae, which includes seadragons, pipefish, and seahorses.
It is found along the southeastern coast of Athara Magarat and northeastern coasts of San Montagna and Torom. Its famous long leaf-like protrusions coming from all over the body are not used for propulsion; they serve only as camouflage. The Gatadpatigan seadragon propels itself by means of a pectoral fin on the ridge of its neck and a dorsal fin on its back closer to the tail end. These small fins are almost completely transparent and difficult to see as they undulate minutely to move the creature sedately through the water, completing the illusion of floating seaweed.
Much like the seahorse, the Gatadpatigan seadragon's name is derived from its resemblance to another creature (in this case, the mythical dragon). While not large, they are slightly larger than most seahorses, growing to about 20–24 cm (8–9.5 in). They feed on plankton and small crustaceans.
The lobes of skin that grow on the Gatadpatigan seadragon provide camouflage, giving it the appearance of seaweed. It is able to maintain the illusion when swimming, appearing to move through the water like a piece of floating seaweed. It can also change color to blend in, but this ability depends on the seadragon's diet, age, location, and stress level.
The Gatadpatigan seadragon is related to the pipefish and belongs to the family Syngnathidae, along with the seahorse. It differs from the seahorse in appearance, form of locomotion, and its inability to coil or grasp things with its tail. Another unique feature are the small, circular gill openings covering tufted gills, very unlike the crescent-shaped gill openings and ridged gills of most fish species.
Habitat and distribution
The Gatadpatigan seadragon is found only in southeastern coast of Athara Magarat and northeastern San Montagnan and Toroman waters. Individuals were once thought to have very restricted ranges; but further research has discovered that seadragons actually travel several hundred meters from their habitual locations, returning to the same spot using a strong sense of direction. They are mostly found over sand patches in waters up to 50 m (160 ft) deep, around kelp-covered rocks and clumps of sea grass. They are commonly sighted by scuba divers near eastern coastal cities of these three Central Argean nations.
Gatadpatigan seadragons usually live a solitary lifestyle. When the time comes, males court the females, they then pair up to breed. From the moment they hatch, Gatadpatigan seadragons are completely independent. By the age of two, they are typically full grown and ready to breed.
The species feeds by sucking up small crustaceans, such as amphipods and mysid shrimp, plankton, and larval fish through its long, pipe-like snout.
As with seahorses, the male Gatadpatigan seadragon cares for the eggs. The female produces up to 250 bright pink eggs, then deposits them onto the male's tail with her ovipositor, a long tube. The eggs then attach themselves to a brood patch, which supplies them with oxygen. After 9 weeks, the eggs begin to hatch, depending on water conditions. The eggs turn a ripe purple or orange over this period, after which the male pumps his tail until the young emerge, a process which takes place over 24–48 hours. The male aids in the eggs hatching by shaking his tail, and rubbing it against seaweed and rocks. Once born, the young seadragon is completely independent, eating small zooplankton until large enough to hunt mysids. Only about 5% of the eggs survive.
The Gatadpatigan seadragon uses the fins along the side of its head to allow it to steer and turn. However, its outer skin is fairly rigid, limiting mobility. Individual Gatadpatigan seadragons have been observed remaining in one location for extended periods of time (up to 68 hours), but will sometimes move for lengthy periods. The tracking of one individual indicated it moved at up to 150 m (490 ft) per hour.
Gatadpatigan seadragons are subject to many threats, both natural and man-made. They are caught by collectors, and used in alternative medicine. They are vulnerable when first born, and are slow swimmers, reducing their chance of escaping from a predator. Seadragons are often washed ashore after storms, as unlike their relative the seahorse, seadragons cannot curl their tails and hold onto seagrasses to stay safe.
The species has become endangered through pollution and industrial runoff, as well as collection for the aquarium trade. In response to these dangers, the species has been totally protected in Torom and Athara Magarat since at least 1980s, and San Montagna since 1995 after it gained Hangate of Jaring's territories as part of Terra-Nuova after the 30th Parallel War.
Due to being protected by law of all three Central Argean nations they occur, obtaining Gatadpatigan seadragons is often an expensive and difficult process as they must be from captive bred stock, and exporters must prove their broodstock were caught before collecting restrictions went into effect, or that they had a license to collect them. Seadragons are difficult to maintain in aquaria. Success in keeping them has been largely confined to the public aquarium sector, due to funding and knowledge that would not be available to the average enthusiast. Attempts to breed the Gatadpatigan seadragon in captivity have so far been unsuccessful. Aside from the legalities, Gatadpatigan seadragons cost between $10,000 and $15,000 a piece, prohibitive to most collectors.
TBD by nations
TBD by nations
The Hacopare Firefish (Pterois Corindii) is a species of ray-finned fish native to the Isles. The generic name pteron is Greek for "wing" while the specific name refers to Corindia; where the species was first described by biologist Binita Shakya from Hangate of Sinja while on vacation in the Carajo Reef area there. This incident happened a year before she published the book Fauna of Karnali, Mechi and Gatadpatigan Seas. She was the youngest daughter of Saniya Jellari, renowned naturalist and author of On the Flora and the Fauna of the Isles.
The Hacopare firefish grows up to 35 cm (14 in) in length. The dorsal fin has 13 long, strong spines and 9-11 soft rays, and the anal fin has three long spines and six or seven soft rays. The dorsal fin appears feathery and the pectoral fins are wing-like with separate broad, smooth rays. These fish vary in color from reddish to tan or grey and have numerous thin, dark, vertical bars on their heads and bodies.
The Hacopare firefish is mainly nocturnal and may hide in crevices during the daytime. It feeds on fish and small crustaceans. It has few predators, probably because of its venomous spines. Groupers have been shown to feed on it.
Distribution and habitat
P. corindii was initially thought to be native only to the eastern seas of the Isles, from Nova Sea and Kavju Sea through Eterna Sea and Southern Sea to Gatadpatigan Sea and Lotus Sea. It was later on reported to be present in Mechi Sea, Amber Sea and South Mesder Sea as well. It is now also present even in North Mesder Sea and Karnali Sea; where is regarded as an invasive species.
P. corindii is usually found in areas with crevices or lagoons, often on the outer slopes of coral reefs. Moray eels have recently been identified as natural predators of P. corindii in its native habitat in the Southern Sea.
The fin spines are highly venomous and have caused death to humans.
The Ipachi Star (Asterias Ipachensis) is the most common and familiar starfish in the Isles. Belonging to the family Asteriidae, it has five arms and usually grows to between 10–30 cm across, although larger specimens (up to 52 cm across) are known. The Ipachi star is usually orange or brown, and sometimes violet; deep-water specimens are pale. The Ipachi star is to be found on rocky and gravelly substrates where it feeds on molluscs and other benthic invertebrates.
The Ipachi star normally has five arms, broad at their base and gradually tapering to a point at their tips, which are often turned up slightly. There is a line of short white spines running along the center of the aboral (upper) surface of the arms with low, soft mounds called papulae on either side. The oral (lower) surfaces of the arms have rows of small tube feet, used in locomotion and feeding. The starfish is usually orange or brick red on the aboral surface and paler on the oral surface but can also be purple or pale brown. Individuals from deep water are usually paler. It grows to a maximum diameter of about 52 centimeters (20 in) but a more normal size is 10 to 30 cm (4 to 12 in).
The Ipachi star's range extends to the coasts of almost all Isles nations. It is capable of surviving in brackish water.
The Ipachi star feeds on a variety of benthic organisms. These include bivalve molluscs, polychaete worms, barnacles, gastropod molluscs, other echinoderms and carrion. When feeding on a mollusc such as a mussel, it attaches its tube feet to each shell valve and exerts force to separate them slightly. Even a gap of only 1 millimeter (0.039 in) is sufficient for the starfish to insert a fold of its stomach, secrete enzymes and start digesting the mollusc body. When the contents is sufficiently liquid, it brings its stomach back to its rightful position with the food inside. The common starfish has a well-developed sense of smell and can detect the odor of prey species such as the common mussel (Mytilus edulis) and crawl towards it. It can also detect the odor of the predatory common sunstar (Crossaster papposus), which eats other starfish, and take evasive action.
The Ipachi star is dioecious, which means that each individual is either male or female. In the spring, the females release their eggs into the sea. A moderate sized starfish is estimated to be able to produce 2.5 million eggs. The males shed their sperm and fertilization takes place in the water column. The larvae are planktonic and drift for about 87 days before settling on the seabed and undergoing metamorphosis into juveniles. Ipachi star are believed to live for about seven to eight years. When well fed, the juveniles can increase their radius at the rate of slightly more than 10 mm (0.4 in) per month during the summer and autumn and slightly less than 5 millimeters (0.20 in) per month in the winter. An adult Ipachi star can survive starvation for several months although it loses weight in the process. One specimen shrank from a radius of 6 centimeters (2.4 in) to a radius of 3.8 centimeters (1.5 in) after starvation for five months.
The ciliate protozoan Orchitophrya stellarum is sometimes a parasite of the Ipachi star. It normally lives on the outer surface of the starfish feeding on sloughed-off epidermal tissue. It appears to become parasitic when the host starfish has ripe gonads and is a male. It enters the starfish through the gonopores, the orifices where gametes are released. There may be a pheromone that alerts it to the fact that the testes are ripe and causes it to change its behavior. When inside the gonad, it phagocytoses the sperm thus rendering the starfish infertile. Researchers have found a change in the sex ratios of affected populations with fewer males than females being present with the males being consistently smaller than the females.
The Ipachi star produces a saponin-like substance designed to repel predators, which causes a reaction in the common whelk (Buccinum undatum), a common prey species. At dilute concentrations it caused the whelk to take evasive action and at higher concentrations it produced a series of convulsions.
TBD by nations
Due to technical problems, only some species were allowed in this dispatch. If you want to learn about other species; proceed to the following links.
The Godswood tree is a deciduous tree with white bark and blood red, five pointed leaves and sap. They are known for being very long living, and even after dying taking an extremely long time to decay. It is said that something made out of Godswood is as good as being made out of stone. The godswood tree has a large role in the Mand'o religion, as Godswood Trees with a face carved into them were called heart trees, and often acted in place of temples.