|Average Size|| Females: 14 to 16 ft long|
500 to 600 lbs
Males: 10 to 12 ft long
300 to 400 lbs
The Murkdwellers are intelligent ocean hunters, filling a role equivalent to sharks on the planet Vuunega.
- Domain: Eukaryota (Complex Organisms)
- Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
- Phylum: Chordata (Animals with Notochords)
- Subphylum: Vertebrata (Vertebrates)
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata (Jawed Vertebrates)
- Superclass: Osteichthyes (Bony Fish)
- Class: Sarcopterygii (Lobe-Finned Fish)
- Order: Pleurourus "Side Tail" (Side Tails)
- Family: Camptostegus "Flexible Roof" (Armored Side Tails)
- Genus: Dibrachioidae "Two Arms" (Dual-Armed Armored Side Tails)
- Species: Tyrannovenator "Tyrant Hunter" (Murkdweller)
- Binominal Name: Dibrachioidae tyrannovenator
- Homeplanet: Vuunega
- Areas Found In: Ocean shallows/koryl reefs, mid-ocean depths
- Locomotive Capabilities: Six flipper-fins, lobed tail
- Average Lifespan: ~80 Vuunegan years
- Species Type: Warm-blooded Marine Vertebrate
- Lifestyle: Solitary carnivore
- Hunt/Forage Success Rate: 80% hunt (60% success rate)
- Armor: Backside is covered in somewhat-flexible, super thick armor plates
- Defenses: Able to bury itself in the silt of the sea floor when resting and digesting a meal. Despite its weak caudal fin, it has powerful muscles in its tail as well as six flipper-fins that help propel it along at surprising speeds, although it normally travels at a fairly leisurely pace.
- Weapons: Acidic phlegm housed in a mucous membrane to avoid dillusion in the water. Strong stomach acids to digest live prey.
- Tools: Extendable mouth, two front flippers adapted into feeding arms
- Method of Eating: Chases down weaker creatures and catches them in its mouth. Afterwards, it dives under the silt of the sea floor to hide while it digests its meal. Also allows would-be predators to attack it if they are unable to pierce its armor, and lures them to their death, sometimes using its acidic phlegm to injure the opponent first.
- Reproductive Rate: Sexual maturity is reached after 6 years. Can reproduce only during the summer months.
- Gestation: 3 months then lays eggs -- eggs laid in camouflaged nest hidden in sea fern groves in the mother's territory until they hatch.
- Offspring Incubation: 13 weeks until egg hatches after being laid.
- Number of Offspring: 20
- Offspring Survival Rate (before age of maturity): 80% -- they are kept within a special pocket area within their mother's mouth, where they are able to nibble at food she consumes. Deaths in young may occur if the prey puts up a relatively vicious attempt at survival.
- Plural / Singular: Murkdweller / Murkdwellers
The Murkdwellers are a non-sapient species of ichthyoid, found residing in the tropical waters of their homeworld Vuunega's oceans. Although non-sapient, they are very intelligent, and use their cunning to catch even some of the most vicious prey which would otherwise act as predators to the Murkdweller. On Vuunega, they are some of the top predators to be found within the oceanic waters.
Although they appear to be a creature related to the ancient sea scorpion, they in fact have more in common with Earth's sarcopterygii, or "lobe-finned fish", making them superficially more closely related to the coelocanth and lungfish.
Below in this next section, you will find information on the Murkdweller's physical appearance, and explanations of things including, but not limited to, their skeletal structure and their senses.
The Murkdwellers possess a fairly strong skeletal structure, capable of withstanding great blows of force without fracturing. This is also partially due to the bones being somewhat more flexible than you or me would be used to.
The skull is a huge bone and is quite thick, to help prevent injury to their intelligent brains. This skull possesses 8 eye sockets (in correlation with their four primary and four secondary eyes), which all have tiny holes in the back in order to link the nerves attached to each eye straight into the brain behind them. The skull also possesses a well-built jawbone full of razor-sharp teeth which interlock, allowing for a cage effect, helping to prevent prey from escaping. You may notice a bone that is actually attached to the extendable portion of the mouth rather than the skull. This is a ring which normally fits perfectly into the rest of the jaw bone, but helps give the extended mouth structure as it shoots out to obtain prey. The dual feeding arms are also attached to the front of the skull, directly flanking either side of the mouth.
From here, the first four fins are also attached to the body. Of these fins, the middle set is the strongest. The third and final set, however, is attached just prior to the point in the spine that is considered to be the tail bone.
The caudal fin is attached to the very end of the tail bone, and lays sideways as opposed to an Earth fish's caudal fin. Although it is small, it is supported by many strong but thin bones and very powerful tail muscles, allowing the Murkdweller to swim more like a dolphin or a whale as opposed to a fish.
Murkdwellers are incredibly muscle-bound, with over half the muscles in the body located in the tail region. This is due to the curious evolution of a tiny, almost insignificant caudal fin - as to why this design took place, no one knows for certain. However, despite its weak appearance, the incredible amount of muscles within the tail section allow for very powerful tail movements, which ultimately allow for a decent amount of speed when necessary. Murkdwellers tend to only use their full speed when fleeing from a "predator" so that they can eat them, as well as fleeing from real threats.
Brain & Nerve CenterEdit
Murkdwellers possess very large brains, and although they are not quite sapient, they are indeed incredibly intelligent, a necessary adaptation to aid in their highly specialized feeding style. Although they are known for eating smaller creatures, namely crustaceanoids, cephalopoids, and spinocephalopods, much of their diet actually consists of prey as large as themselves, and many times involves fooling their natural predators into attempting to eat them. This requires a lot of intelligence to pull off properly. Murkdwellers are believed to be at least as intelligent as Earth's dolphins, although due to the vast distance between Earth and Vuunega (approximately 1500 light years), it would be hard to do a real side-by-side comparison of the two entities.
The digestive system of a Murkdweller is incredibly powerful, with the stomach acids consisting of the same substance that makes up their acidic phlegm, which thereby allows them to digest anything their acid could dissolve. Many might make the connection that the acidic phlegm stems directly from the stomach; this statement is false. The Murkdwellers in fact possess an organ similar to the stomach, only it functions specifically for the production of the acids, which are then coated in mucous and stored until the Murkdweller chooses to release it. However, anytime the Murkdweller needs a "fast reload" on their acidic phlegm, or more stomach acids to continue digestion (mainly in the cases of accidental vomiting), they can exchange the acids from the stomach to the phlegm organ, or vice versa.
Although old rumors stated Murkdwellers having four stomachs and 5 intestines, this just isn't true. These rumors were started by folks who had never even witnessed a Murkdweller, let alone a learned scientist. In truth, Murkdwellers possess two stomachs (so that they can fit food into their first stomach to begin digestion again to make time use of wasted time) and 2 intestines. Both stomachs possess the same amount of acids, and the intestines both are filled with a vast array of microorganisms to help break down the food into nutrient particles.
To breathe, the Murkdwellers possess a strange organ called an aqualung. This organ is built similarly to terrestrial lungs, but in place of bronchial trees it is lined with feathery gill structures. This intake system allows it the maximum amount of oxygen removed from each gulp of water, and prevents their gills from being easily damaged by outside sources.
The Murkdweller will open its mouth to let in a large gulp of water, which will pass quickly through its trachea, where it is diverted from the stomach to fill its aqualungs, expanding them many times their collapsed size. Water is held within these structures for upwards of a minute before the aqualungs are compressed through muscle contractions of another organ called "Zomm's Fist", which then squeezes the water back out through a set of tubes that lead to the outer wall of their body. These "lung siphons" as they're called are hidden underneath scales to protect them from damage by outside sources, although certain species of internal parasites are adapted to finding and exploiting them.
Despite their intelligence, Murkdwellers lead surprisingly lonely lives. They have no social structure whatsoever, and tend to avoid another's territory as much as possible so they don't have to come in contact with another of their kind. The only times they are known to encroach on each other's territory is either during the mating months or during times of starvation in the encroacher.
During these encroachments, if the two Murkdwellers spot one another, they swim up to each other, sizing each other up. Typically, the larger male wins these size-up matches, and the other moves on. However, if both are the same size and both are male, and neither decide to back down, a battle tends to ensue. This is always ritualistic, and rarely ends in death; those that do end in death are always by accident, or by exploitation of the act by a predator - in extremely rare cases, they may also be killed by a natural disaster occurring in the area during the battle.
The first part of this ritual is to "lock" feeding arms, and test each other's strength. If neither loses, then they begin a short race, where the winner being the faster of the two. However, if they still have not determined a winner, it goes on to ritual ramming, where they swim a certain distance from each other and swim towards each other, smacking their thick skulls together. Usually, if no winner is determined after this, both take a short rest to regain all of their strength (ramming takes a bit out of them), before beginning a true battle, where anything goes; including acidic phlegm. Neither Murkdweller wants to die, and one will usually back down after enough damage is caused.