More Unique Fauna Contest
You read that right. We’re coming back for round two. This time we’re asking specifically for Insects, Arachnids, and Fish. (Sea creatures are also welcome.)
To see some examples or get some inspiration check out the first Unique Fauna Contest.
- What is the creature's name?
- What does it look like?
- Where can it be found?
- Any other information you can think of! (Example: What it eats, if there are any legends about it, is it used for crafting/hunting/food?)
You will be allowed 3 entries max and will earn 1,500 gold per entry.
Winners will get 10,000 gold for winning entries. And of course, we will make a wiki page so that we can add it into our lore mix.
Hmails must be submitted to Meri, Valrae, Khitti & Kanna by September 22nd at 11:59 PM.
With 7 Votes
With 6 Votes
With 5 Votes
Corsair Crab - Ernest
Corsair crabs are a close relative of the hermit crab. These enormous crustaceans use sunken ships for protection much like normal hermit crabs use discarded seashells, wearing the entire thing like a second exoskeleton. Their limbs can jut out from holes smashed in the ship's hull, or be tucked inside for additional safety. Their long antennae are flexible enough to operate any surviving machinery, and somehow the crab is able to intuit their usage simply from feeling them. For most of their lives, corsair crabs lurk in deep waters, their shells often forming mobile reefs that provide traveling homes to various small fish and other sea life. The crab enjoys devouring the larger creatures that come to prey upon the reef-dwellers, and the reef creatures feast upon the crab's scraps and enjoy its protection (for the most part). They can live for thousands of years, if left to their own devices, and grow to astonishing sizes.
This long lifespan is what drives the crab into occasional bursts of incredible violence. They never stop growing, and as such will occasionally find themselves having to abandon their old hulks and go in search of new ones. If a sunken ship cannot be found, however, the crab will surface and begin swimming towards the shore. Should it encounter a vessel of a suitable size on its way, it attacks with unmatched fury, utilizing its claws as well as any ship-to-ship weaponry that remains in an attempt to sink it so that it can move in. If it makes it all the way to the coast, the crab will seek out humanoid settlements along the coast and search for harbors and shipyards before emerging from the water, extending its limbs, and crawling along the beach towards the brand-new ships just waiting to be converted into a shell, firing its weaponry and generally acting like the coast-raiding pirates it gets its name from. Once it has acquired a new ship to turn into a shell, it immediately retreats back out to sea with its prize.
One corsair crab might attack a settlement in search of a ship twice in a century if left undisturbed, though if its hull is severely damaged in a fight--either with another crab, or with an equally large predator like a kraken--it may immediately seek out a replacement. Thus far, scholars have been unable to determine whether they follow any set spawning patterns, and nobody has observed their mating rituals. Some large enough fishing villages have made a habit of sacrificing a ship to the crab in order to prevent it from coming to take one by force, in order to benefit from the increase in quality fishing its presence brings the area.
An interesting quirk about its chosen home--which is often exploited by merfolk and other seaborn which might have a feud with certain land-dwellers--is that the ship's rudder tends to drag along the ground when it walks on land. Should someone strong enough wish to redirect the crab's rampage, they could attempt to grab the wheel of the ship and, through pure herculean effort, steer the crab in whichever direction they wish. This offers no true control over the crab's actions, but it does at least offer some measure of determining its available targets. In addition, the crab cares nothing for any valuables that may happen to be within the hull of the ship, as its prey comes from outside the vessel--meaning it may still contain those treasures if they're secured well enough.
Butterfly Spider - Ernest
The butterfly spider is a tiny, extremely elusive creature first discovered in a meadow by a pair of itinerant taxonomist avians, long ago. The first evidence they discovered of it was a sticky trap it had left behind inside of a hole it had dug. "Clearly, this must be some kind of burrowing spider," said the first taxonomist. "Let's watch it and see what comes out."
What came out eventually unfurled a pair of beautiful pearl-pink wings and fluttered away. "I think you may have been mistaken," said the second taxonomist. "Clearly, this is a butterfly that has taken to using silk to line a burrow. Let's follow it."
Before they could, however, they caught sight of it again, already returning to its burrow with a freshly-caught meal. "Look, it's predatory," said the first taxonomist. "It has to be an arachnid of some kind. It must be using some other insect's wings for flight! Extraordinary!"
"Don't be daft," said the second, haughtily. "That just means it's the first-ever discovered carnivorous butterfly."
They decided that they had to catch the creature and see for themselves, but when they tried to trap it in its burrow, it was already gone and they got no further sightings that day. When they returned, each one produced a paper explaining their position to their academic institutions. Both would set off on subsequent expeditions, and neither could ever get conclusive proof of which kind of creature it was, but each one dug deeper into his camp. By the end of their careers, what had started as a partnership had devolved into a bitter feud between rivals and their students. For generations, the avians struggled to research this rare beauty. They learned that it had the ability to burrow effortlessly through loose soil. They learned that it could teleport short distances. They learned that it pollinated flowers, and could adapt the traps it made based on the creatures it had available to eat. They learned its wings had small scales, and that its silk was incredibly durable. At no point, however, could they ever actually get close enough to examine it, which is why the name "butterfly spider" is the one that stuck with it through the years. Clearly, it had to be one or the other, right? That's how taxonomy works. Perhaps it was a spider-like butterfly, or a butterfly-like spider. At least they had it narrowed down to some kind of arthropod.
And then the day came when someone actually did manage to trap one. With a double-layered jar etched with arcane seals, crafted from sturdy crystal and lined with adhesive and prey creatures, he finally, finally was able to closely observe the tiny creature. And, to his abject shock and mounting cosmic horror, they learned that it was actually a FISH. A miniscule relative of the lungfish, by the look of it, which explained its terrestrial nature and ability to burrow into the dirt. Its pectoral fins had been massively enlarged into wings, and its body naturally secreted a fibrous substance that accounted for the webbing.
The fallout from this discovery was immediate and catastrophic. Both sides of the intellectual debate descended upon the poor researcher who had discovered the truth. To this day, nobody has found his body. His research has been sealed in the deepest vaults of the publishing house. Those who were closest to the discovery seem to have renounced their faiths, declaring that this is the final proof that whatever gods created this world must be utterly insane. Others have devoted their lives to finding and exterminating the butterfly spider from existence, declaring that it must have done this to them on purpose, but its natural ability to escape capture makes this difficult. Despite continuing to feud, the taxonomists have agreed that the knowledge of the butterfly spider's true nature must not be known by the general public, lest they become a laughingstock. At least five students looking into the matter have vanished off the face of the world, never to be seen again.
The butterfly spider, of course, knows none of this, and wouldn't care even if it did. It's just a fish, man.
Not to be confused with the spider-fish, an aquatic species of butterfly.
Jesteria Moth - Lita
Similar to their ocean-dwelling counterparts, the clownfish, Jesteria Moths are all born male. Small familial groups consist of a dominant breeding pair and when the dominant female dies, the dominant male will change sex to become female, a change which is irreversible. Jesteria Moths are nocturnal, with an average lifespan of four lunar cycles. These moths are often mistaken for butterflies, as they sport a variety of colors from dark blues and purples, with their wings featuring a gradient of hues from one to the next. These color variations help them to remain camouflaged amidst a plethora of flora and fauna in the darkness. Males of the species have feathered antennae and bodies that often leave them being described as cute by those who are able to capture the critters. While they don't as of yet possess any medicinal properties, they are certainly beautiful to look at and are often considered a treasured gift amongst those of high society.
Female Jesteria Moths lack the fuzzy antennae of their male partners, instead having two simple, long strand antennaes. It is said that the pregnant females use these longer antennaes to seek out and locate the rare flora, Lunar Lanium. This flower is rare, blooming only during the full moon, and the female will lay its eggs amongst the flower's petals. Researchers have suggested that eating the flower's teal petals could be a contributing factor to the moth's color development. Females are highly protected by the males of the species and as such they have been difficult to locate, capture and study. Either way, you can consider yourself lucky to have seen one of these spectacular little creatures in the wild. It is often considered good luck to have one cross your path, and there is even lore to suggest that they might lead the lost through darkness if they shown to be of a good or noble heart.
Redmoss - Lefty
Despite its plant-like appearance, and moniker, redmoss is actually a species of freshwater anemone floating near the surface of lakes, ponds, and occasionally when necessary, rivers.
A typical redmoss colony constitutes of fifty or so microscopic polyps. Nourishment comes from a relatively symbiotic relationship with the local fauna, typically bass, frogs, gar, and the various sentient aquatic life, but it can quickly become parasitic or predatory if the redmoss reproduces too quickly.
Redmoss breed asexually, by breaking in half or into smaller pieces which regenerate into polyps. Food availability and the hostility of the native environment both have a positive correlation with the rate of breeding. More food, more hardship, more redmoss.
Appearance: As the name suggests, redmoss looks like red moss on the surface of the water. As the colony grows it has been lichened (pun intended) to a shag carpet ranging in hues from a dark carrot to a glorious burgundy.
Location: A small colony has been discovered near to the source of the Vibrance. The colony is quite small and seems like it won’t spread any time soon. Phytopaths that have been consulted suggest leaving it be to be the most beneficial, since the current environment will result in a happy redmoss and cleaner river.
Additional notes: The phytopaths have noticed a curious ancestral memory within the redmoss colony. They redmoss has, for lack of a better term, a bloodbond with a certain tribe of light fae, commonly thought to be dark fae, but most probably grey fae. Then again, the classification of fae probably doesn’t matter for this entry. What is important is that this tribe, whoever they may be, might know a secret to unlocking a supernatural capability from the redmoss, but since the researchers were not from this tribe, they could not unlock the mystery.
Cumulorachnus - Lefty
Far above the concerns of terrestrial ground-walking life, the webs of the cumulorachnus (or cloud spiders) float gently among the clouds, often mistaken for clouds themselves. The spiders live their entire lives in these floating biomes, never once touching the ground or seeing a single flightless creature. The smallest species are ambush hunters, while the two largest species each have been noted to have venom sacs.
Appearance: While the term cumulorachnus is an overarching term for the entire genus, the common cloud spider has long feather-like legs that allow it to walk among the clouds. Ranging in size from small enough to hide inside water molecules to the colossal that threaten to outgrow their cloudwebs, the size of each spider depends on species, their food source, and the availability of the latter. Colors tend to be in the range of white to grey, but some of the most aggressive (and largest) species have dipped into the dark browns and reds.
Location: Look up and guess which cloud isn’t a cloud. . .if it’s white, grey, or black, then maybe? If it’s dark red or brown and coming towards you, almost definitely. In the latter case, I pray for your soul.
Additional notes: Some experimental crafters have speculated on the utility of the feathery leg fibers in the weaving of near-weightless baskets, easing on transportation of heavy or valuable items. Similar thoughts have been had for the spidersilk, though in the areas of clothing. Imagine being able to fly without wings!! It’s a sound theory, but as of yet, untested. Other, more adventurous (or suicidal) adventurers have attempted to obtain the venom from the larger species for medicinal (or assassination) endeavors. Again, these ideas are speculative, and have not been tested.
The Majis Bee - Lefty
"Where flits the graceful Majis Bee?
Flutter-by, flitter-by, flutter by me.
Did you search the forest bell?
Flitter-by, Majis elsewhere dwells.
Is the Majis up a tree?
Flutter-by, not that I can see.
Will kind Majis be my guest?
Flitter-by, Majis acquiesced.
What of the Majis when I find my repose?
Flutter-by Majis will fight your foes!
And where flies the Majis, come the dawn?
Flitter-by, flutter-by, flitter-by gone.
If you see the Majis with gold glistening.
You'll be flutter-by safe from everything."
~excerpt from “The Majis Bee”, a lullaby from Sage
Appearance: It can be quite problematic to discern the Majis bee from other, less friendly variations of nectar-collectors. At first glance, there seems to be no difference, but on closer inspection the Majis bee in the wild will not exhibit a stinger. The lack of any apparent stinger poses no problem, since the Majis appears to have no natural predators. Only upon being captured will the Majis bee reveal a stinger, which lacks any barb.
Location: In a bush, usually. Not sure which one. They tend to switch bushes, which makes finding them tricky.
Additional notes: The lack of a barbed stinger allows the Majis bee to sting multiple times. Coupled with the Majis' potent venom, the stinger is enough to fight off most enemies.
Unlike most bees, Majis bees live solitary lives, never returning to a hive or communal dwelling. They pollinate and feed all on their lonesome, with a couple exceptions. The first is finding a mate, for propagation purposes. At least we expect so, since we’ve never witnessed the phenomena. The second, and most interesting exception is exhibited with "ephemeral bonding". The ephemeral bond is quite simple. If they are captured, the contact with their captor’s flesh forms a chemical contract of sorts. For a full day after the bond, the Majis will protect and help the captor, much like a hivemate, after which the chemical fades and the Majis flits away to resume normal bee things.
There is rumor of a Queen Majis with golden wings. This bee is said to form a more lasting, lifelong bond with the captor. But since researchers have seen no evidence of such, they chalk such rumors up to hearsay and urban legends.
Tardigrades - Clovelia
Known as Moss Pigglets, Water Bears.
Primarily water based but found both on land and sea, this segmented micro creature is about as big as a period to a sentence. Their chubbiness can be seen by the naked eye, however they are easily missed as they are mostly transparent. The round face they wear feature an even more circular mouth with hidden stylets. These spears are used to puncture plant, animal, and bacteria cells for consumption.
Extremely resistant to Frostmaw's frozen temperatures and the Nameless Desert's hottest sun, this insect can go without food or water for over 30 years despite it's lifespan of a couple years. During extreme drought, the dried husk is paused in time. When re-hydrated, the lifespan resumes. More impressively, they can even survive high amounts of radiation and can live in the vacuum of space. Take that cockroaches!
Marodsem - Daisy
Six legged red beetle the size of a pea. The shell is dull and opens up to reveal pink, translucent wings. They burrow inside loaves of bread from the bottom, consuming them from the inside so you are unaware there is an infestation until you are in need of a sandwich.
Moonshadow Spiders - Quintessa
Deep in the heart of the darkness, in the forever night, and all the other shadowy places in the world, tales tell of a mystical arachnid that spins webs of pure silver, powerful enough to trap the light of the moons themselves, able to bend it to their will and bind it to their very silk. Black as midnight, with long, terrible fangs and skinny, spindly legs, building magical webs that sparkle in the sheer darkness of their home, waiting for prey, with paralyzing venom that kills you just slowly enough to watch as they begin to eat you.
Wizards and scholars alike will tell you that these stories are not just folk tales, they are indeed fact, and the mythical arachnid associated to these stories has been dubbed the “Moonshadow Spider” for their uncanny ability to utilize the light of Vaalane and Arh’Nuk, and its eerie, dark appearance. Small in comparison to other magical spiders residing across Lithyrdel, Moonshadow Spiders are roughly the size of a human fist, oily-looking and gangly, and although their silk isn’t made of silver like the legends say, researchers and merchants alike have sought after their silk as a highly prized commodity due to its light-storing properties.
Regional variances in behavior have been noted in Moonshadow Spiders. In Vailkrin and the Dark Lands, these spiders thrive in the ever-present night, sometimes forming massive colonies that twinkle like a million stars in the sky, luring the unsuspecting prey- and sometimes curious explorers, into a death of a thousand bites. In Trist’oth and the rest of the subterranean tunnels surrounding it, Moonshadow Spiders routinely head to the surface to collect light, spinning giant balls of webbing on their backs before taking it back underground where they use it to spin intercrate, glowing nests and traps that last for weeks before they need to return to the surface again. In other places throughout Lithyrdel, the Moonshadow Spider is strictly nocturnal, using their dark coloration to blend seamlessly into the night while hiding during the day. Their bright webs attract moths and other nocturnal insects attracted to the light, though sometimes these webs impress or unnerve the common folk that encounter them occasionally, further feeding into the mythos that surrounds these relatively simple arachnids.
Stone-Eater Bugs - Quintessa
Eroded stone buildings, hollowed bricks, polished blocks that were ready to be shipped reduced to dust in hours- these are all signs of a specific infestation, and few pests are as hated and feared by builders, stonemasons, and miners alike as our culprit. The Stone-Eater Bug, as locals have named it, resembles a massive millipede, the size of a human arm, thick, and segmented with rocky plates that help them blend into the very stone they consume. They’re appetites are voracious, and once an adult lays their eggs they can reduce a functional mine to dust within weeks. When one such colony has been established it can be incredibly difficult to eradicate.
Craving their namesake, Stone-Eater Bugs burrow into the core of stone structures, releasing a corrosive enzyme that rapidly breaks down this stone into a crumbling, powdery residue. This unchecked destructive feeding behavior can often lead to structural instability and the collapse of buildings and monuments. It is for this reason that lords and merchants alike have spent tremendous amounts of resources looking for ways to counteract these dreadful pests, employing alchemists that produce deadly poisons or mages to bind wards of protection to keep the Stone-Eaters at bay.
Though it is a relatively simple creature, there are some who view the Stone-Eater Bug’s very presence as a sign of misfortune and imminent ruin. Some even tell stories of the insects’ creation by some long forgotten god of destruction who created the Stone-Eaters as punishment to prideful mortals who sought to shape the earth to their own whims. The mortals crafted towers and castles so tall they reached the heavens, rivaling the gods in their majesty, so it was promised that their doom would come from below. Always looking up to build even higher, the prideful mortals did not notice the Stone-Eater Bugs eroding the foundations of their towers. So thus this lowly insect reduced their grand empires to dust for daring to claim they were equal to the gods, proving once and for all that they were far closer to the Stone-Eaters than to the deities that resided above them.
Swiggle Squirt - Emilia
Found along the salty shores of Rynvale and Cenril these little worm-like creatures can be found among the seaweed.
They start as little brown eggs attached to the seaweed and other underwater plant life in the ocean slowly leeching the nutrients from the plant. After a full cycle of the moon the worms are ready to burst free into the ocean as little wispy thread like clear worms. Free in the water many cling to the nearby sea plants where they latch on with tiny mouths full of rows of tiny sharp teeth. The swiggles live off sucking the nutrients from plant life. The more the worms ingest the bigger they grow in both length and width. The older a Swiggle Squirt the darker green their wrinkly skin becomes. Eventually their bodies become so round that they can no longer latch on with their mouths and they are detached into the ocean.These little Swiggles eventually wash to shore with the waves where they squirm around on the sand looking for a mate. The male latches onto the female where he then slowly ingests her. This causes the male swiggle to turn into what is known as a egg pod as it dries out on shore. Eventually it becomes a dried out husk that will burst open releasing the little brown eggs back into the ocean where they will take hold onto the underwater plants.
The worms get their name because on shore they move in such a way that it is a mix of a squirm and a wiggle. The other portion of their name stems from the fact that when stepped on or squeezed they squirt out an inky black substance.
This inky goo has a foul smell like something rotten. It is a sticky mess that is hard to get off and even harder to get the smell to go away. Children like to collect these worms to use as pranks on other children and adults. Throwing them to be stepped on or sometimes sat on forcing the swiggle to squirt its foul goo.
Swiggle Squirt Goo is surprisingly good at treating burns. Due to the smell it is usually a last option for the most serious of wounds. Nothing works too well for masking the lingering stink but some claim that mixing it with crushed tobacco makes it bearable.
Death’s Fog Moth - Fiadh
Also known as devouring flies, carrion flutters, or the more scholarly devorartera.
Appearance: From afar, the Death’s Fog Moth might be mistaken for a very small butterfly or moth. They have two velvety wings that dip in toward the center. The female's wings are typically a greenish white in color, with darker patterns that strangely resemble two jaw bones filled with many sharp teeth. The males, which are notably smaller, tend to be pure white with the same unsettling pattern. Upon closer inspection, their eyes are large and bulbous, resembling a common flies, and they have no fuzzy antenna. Their mouths are designed for piercing flesh and drawing out blood from whatever host they happen to land upon, be it man or animal. They have two sections, the head and body. They have six short legs, though they do not possess any true joints.
Behavior & Preferred Habitat: The Death’s Fog Moth can be found throughout Lithrydel.
While beautiful, Death’s Fog Moths are well known to be pests to most, particularly in dense forests where carrion can be easily found. They have been known to swarm unwary wounded travelers who stray too near unfortunate decaying creatures and can be particularly persistent when given the opportunity for fresh blood. They prefer to travel in groups in search of food and breeding grounds, and while they might be found in civilizations where cleanliness is not prioritized, this is often only in extreme cases as Death’s Fog Moths do not feed or lay eggs in anything other than open flesh wounds, decaying or freshly made.
Perhaps the most disturbing location they can be found, however, is often in war torn areas and large battlefields where the dead have not yet been collected or are otherwise left to rot. This is the origin of their name, for it has been said that in the war ravaged eras past they covered the fallen like a fluttering blanket of fog as they feasted.
Classification: Commonly mistaken for small moths or butterflies, thus the incorrect but commonly accepted name, this species is actually part of the Diptera, or “true flies” classification of insects. While they possess only a single pair of wings, their shape is similar to that of moths and butterflies which often leads to the confusion of their classification.
Life Cycle: The females will place hatched or hatching small blue larvae called kalopsia on carrion where they will feast on the decaying flesh until it is ready to settle into a soft cocoon. Soon a Death’s Fog Moth will emerge. There are two days from hatching and on to the kalopsia stage, with another two in which the kalopsia cocoons and begins to transform, followed by three days in their adult stage of life - totalling in at short seven days for their life cycle.
Seaglow Algae - Fiadh
Also known as shimmerfin or the more scholarly lunaelumen.
Appearance: Adult Seaglow Algae are clearly visible and in the cooler months and often mistaken for common sea algae until they begin to move. Larvae Seaglow Algae cannot be seen with the naked eye and glow blue-green when agitated by motion.
Behavior & Preferred Habitat: During the cool seasons, Seaglow Algae can be found drifting in schools that tend to follow the natural course of the tides in the channel between Cenril and Rynvale Island. While experienced fisherman, sailors, and pirates might be able to identify them from a distance as a school of Seaglow Algae, they would simply look like a massive clump of algae drifting over the rolling waves of the ocean to the untrained eye. They spend this time mating, laying eggs upon driftwood that tends to collect in their clusters, and consuming microorganisms and small insects that buzz over the water. During the warmer seasons that bring storms and more treacherous waters, these Seaglow Algae will be found closer to the shores, their eggs hatching larvae that are impossible to see with average eyesight. The tides push these invisible larvae Seaglow Algae toward the shores.
The most unique aspect of these larvae Seaglow Algae is their bioluminescence. Emitting an ethereal blue-green glow when agitated or otherwise disturbed by motion, this light flashes and shimmers along the edge of a wave as it rolls into shore or against a night swimmer’s skin as they move through the salty waters. They provide a magical light show for tourists and natives alike to witness as they enjoy summer nights on sandy beaches.
Classification: Early scholars, mistaking the Seaglow Algae larvae as a type of zooplankton entirely unrelated to the fully matured fish, are to blame for the misleading name of this agnatha (jawless) fish.
Life Cycle: The Seaglow Algae have an extraordinarily long egg phase that can last anywhere between two to three moon cycles. The larvae phase is also notably drawn out, and most scholars believe they will not begin the transition into a relatively short fig stage until the return of cooler weather that seems to trigger this next stage of life. Juvenile and adult Seaglow Algae seem to be able to survive for many years in their clustered schools.