|Classification||Females Herbivore/Grazers, Males Carnivores/Killers|
|Terrain||Females plains/hills Males jungle/forest|
|Size||Large 4m long Females, 3m long Males|
|Speed||Females Slow, Males Fast|
|Social Structure||Herds of Females, Solitary Male hunters|
|Weapons||Females +1-3 Thrashers (depends on number of javelins present) Males as Spear +3, w/ possible Ranged Attack|
|Armor||Female Battle Dress -1, Males Cloth +1|
|Homeworld||Gareesh Ra (Dagudashaag Kuriishe)|
|Reference||Ronald B. Kline, Jr.|
Native to Gareesh Ra (world) this non-intelligent species demonstrates several interesting traits.
Physiology & Ecology
A species of large homoeothermic, heterotrophic consumers native to Gareesh Ra (world), which demonstrate some significant sexual dimorphism. The males function as 200kg carnivorous killers who use their piercing right arms to impale and kill various prey species. Males arms have a 2m reach. Their bodies are 3m long and form a tapered cylinder 1.5m is diameter at its widest point. The females are 400kg, slow moving herbivorous grazers who have a thick armored shell protecting their carapaced hind quarters. Females have 1m long appendages. Their bodies are 4m long and 2.5m in diameter at the widest point. Their hindquarters are tapered cone shape. During early surveys it was difficult to ascertain that these dissimilar creatures were members of the same species. The matter was further confused by their use of obligate symbiotic javelin worms, which are evolutionarily derived from smaller parasitic species.
Their main senses are tactile, olfactory and gustatory. They have excellent hearing tuned to high frequency sounds mostly above the human range. Their vision is nearly non-existent. They have a very rudimentary photosensory patches on their dorsal surfaces at the base of their anterior arms. These were discovered to be yet another species of symbiotic microbes which chemically signal the host when light is present. These chemical signals vary with the duration and intensity of light received. Males only leave the cover and camouflage of the jungle to venture into the open plains after sun set. They are entirely dependent on this time keeping species to trigger their breeding events which are timed to the seasonally variable periods of day and night brought about by the planet's axial tilt.
To support their mass, thick tubular columns of calcium carbonate provide an interior lattice below the exoskeletal integument. The hardened minerals are deposited into a polysaccharide polymer matrix. The appendages are segmented and the species employs a closed circulatory loop to feed its high density muscle bundles. They breathe oxygen to support cellular respiration. They have membranes at the base of their walking legs and numerous muscle lined bladders along their ventral surface for gas exchange. The huffing sound as they move, particularly when the females "run" gives them a characteristic sound. This can also stir up dust. They maintain a low consistent body temperature for most of the day. Feeding behaviors, mating and fight or flight encounters provoke higher than normal levels of metabolic activity. They use excess water and liquid lipids with high heat capacities to store extra heat reserves to maintain homeostatic temperatures. They lack the capacity for true fat storage.
Life Cycle & Reproduction
In the males, the left arm is a reproductive symbiote launcher. A long mutualistic, segmented worm species has co-evolved with this species. They are now symbiotic, in that the reproductive cells of the male are carried over to the receptive female by this other species. The javelin worms grow in the bodies of infected males until they reach full size. These javelin worms derive their nourishment from their host’s circulatory fluids. When the worms grow to full size they move to the left arm of their hosts and trigger mating and throwing behaviors. The left anterior arm functions like a catapult and has biomechanical properties in common with an atlatl. When thrown the body of the 2m long, 10cm diameter worm is rigid. The 3kg body is streamlined and has hardened vanes on its barbed anterior and posterior segments. As males grow they can throw these worms farther. Full grown specimens have been observed to launch these projectiles 70m and they can penetrate several cm of steel.
During mating seasons, twice per year during the equinoxes, male spear casters fling their reproductive javelins into the thickly matted, backs of the receptive females. Less than one hundred eggs are laid on the winter solstice, and hatch 10g young on the following summer solstice. The thick armored shell of the female is a truncated conical section. The bottom is flattened and it tapers to a point at the posterior end. A thick matrix of porous, fibrous mesh is grown on its surface. A network of vascular bundles feeds this layer of tissue. The javelin worms easily pierce this outer layer. Once the anterior segments of the javelin worm are embedded in the shell casing of the females, the male reproductive cells are transferred. Once in the females’ circulatory system they are transported to her reproductive vesicles for fertilization and cellular development. The embedded javelin worms’ posterior bladed segments flagellate when stimulated. The females emit olfactory chemical lures to elicit javelin throwing behavior. Successful females have numerous javelins embedded on their dorsal and posterior surfaces of their exo-skeletal fiber shell. When attacked by predators these spines thrash about to wound and possibly kill aggressive attackers. The posterior end of the worm excrete metabolic waste products laden with harmful micro-organisms when tactile/vibration senses warn of attack. These alert guardians protect their gravid hosts. The eggs are laid with the embryos of the javelin worms already inside. The eventual death and destruction of these symbiotic, mutualistic protectors triggers the next cycle of reproduction in their hosts.
Hatchlings emerge from their egg masses in an undifferentiated form. Typically 90% of the eggs are female and 10% are males. The tiny young are intermittent herbivores. The male genes trigger a metamorphisis that results in the emergence of male features and feeding behaviors. The male eggs are also those infected with the reproductive javelin worm cells. These don't develop until the males achieve a mass of at least 50kg which takes several local years. These worms grow larger as the males mature. Longer worms are found in older males. The thrashing behavior of the worms is actually triggered to dislodge the worms of competing males. The broad target back shell of the larger, more massive females co-evolved to permit her to have the cells of several males. Larger, older females have more fertility success and lay more fertilized eggs. More javelins also increased her survival as she was then better protected from predators. The eggs laid can be fertilized by the cells of different males once inside her body. This variable parentage can be seen in the vivid coloration and camouflage schemes the offspring display. Siblings can vary in coloration as a result.
Diet & Trophics
Females are herbivorous grazers. They mass 400kg, they move slowly on four segmented walking legs. The appendages have thick exo-skeletal armor of calcium carbonate rings. The anterior pair of arms are used to ingest photosynthetic plant matter. They are sharp enough to pierce the coverings of native plants, inject digestive enzymes and use negative pressure to suck up the nutrient materials they need. The native plant life has adapted to this routine of feeding behavior. Certain species of native plants retain excess nutrient fluids (sap) below their protective coverings to ensure that feeding behaviors don’t kill them and they use the grazers to transport their reproductive cells to other plants. The females rely on airborne pheromones to signal males. Their anterior feeding arms have olfactory, tactile and gustatory sensors. Their shells are thick and insensitive. They depend on the seasonal javelin worms to detect predators and provide thrashing protection.
In males the right anterior arm is a sharp killing and feeding probe. The needle like ends are hardened with calcium carbonate mineral deposits in a polysaccharide matrix. These arms are very strong and generate enormous penetration forces which enable them to pierce the integument of prey items, inject digestive enzymes and use negative pressure gradients to suck out nutrients needed to survive. They are aggressive hunters as the liquivore diet necessitates frequent feeding attempts to sustain energy levels. Full grown males mass 200kg and function as carnivorous killers ecologically in the native food-webs. They travel quickly on four walking legs. Their shells are reduced in thickness and demonstrate less mineral deposition. This preserves their lower mass and allows quicker movement, at the expense of protection.
Male members of this species are routinely found with swarms of small (1 gram) flying reducers who decompose the desiccated husks, this species leave in their wake.
History & Background (Dossier)
Early colonists made an attempt to domesticate the females of this species. They are edible with careful preparation. In captivity they tended to lack the barbed thrashing spines which farmers removed. There was evidence of sterile twice annual egg laying behavior persisting in captivity. They did not fully realize the complexities of the reproductive cycle. Only after several outlying farms were repeatedly attacked by aggressively sinister blood sucking, javelin throwers from the forest, was the full cycle worked out after great lost of life and livestock. The males will eagerly attack any sophonts and their domesticated species as nutrient sources.
Travellers' Aid Society Advisory
The Travellers' Aid Society (TAS) classifies Gaarian Javelineer as dangerous to most sophonts and advises great caution when in the presence of this organism. Females, if left alone pose little threat and are not aggressive. Males, particularly during the two annual breeding cycles, are very aggressive and will throw their javelins. Individual hunting specimens will attack animals of any size in an attempt to feed. Locals learned to notice the humming noise of the swarms of flying reducers, as a tell-tale warning of the aggressive males in the thick jungles.