Schgluffers are alien life forms native to a Europa-like moon orbiting a rogue gas giant. They're named after the "schgluf!" sound they make, which is greatly intensified by the thin, nearly nonexistent atmosphere to create a ghostly song which has inspired the imagination of colonists for many years.
Schgluffers are the only terrestrial fauna on Newropa; but they are only the first stage of a far stranger life cycle, of which the two later stages are aquatic.
Schgluffers begin their lives as a roughly 40 centimeters long creatures with five pairs of short legs arranged in centipede-like fashion. They are invertebrate molluskoids, but covered in such a dense white fur coat as to look like a Maltese dog with a tusked octopus face. The four tusks on the head are actually mobile structures similar to an insect's mandibles, used to dig the snow while foraging for all sorts of nutrients and microorganisms.
Being a rogue world, Newropa has no plant life and therefore no oxygen; so the schgluffer has a tremendously slow metabolism. Instead, evolution has granted it with the ability to absorb the high energy radiation coming from the stars and somehow use it in a way to produce energy with no harm to its body tissues. You could call it anaerobic photosynthesis in the gama ray spectrum. This therefore makes the Schgluffer a very interesting model for scientific research. Schgluffers spend almost 100% of the time foraging for food; and their intelligence is limited. Since they have no natural predators whatsoever, they show no fear or aggressiveness and could have been quite popular in the pet market; if not for their preference for frigid environments and the fact that they’re killed by any respectable concentration of oxygen
Sea Dragon stageEdit
The Schgluffer life cycle includes alternation of generations. Once every four Earth months, the Schgluffer will head to one of the access entries to the underground water ocean and lay there the eggs that will give rise to small planktonic larvae. Those few larvae who manage to survive actually grow to become the apex predators of Newropan oceans: a 12 meters long insectoid sea serpent which hunts for food in the deep seas.
Though fearsome, it represents nearly no harm to the human settlers, as it hardly ever comes to the surface. It is however a heck of a problem for undersea expeditions due to its bad habit of mistaking submarines for meal. Unlike the Earth sea turtles, the Newropan Sea Dragons will travel great lengths away from their home area in order to give birth. It crawls awkwardly into land and lays a number of round eggs. In time, each of these eggs will hatch into a new generation of harmless schgluffers; so harmless that no one would ever be able to guess how frightening their parents were; and their offspring will be...