|Social Structure||Small group|
|Homeworld||Maijarra (Reaver's Deep 0320)|
|Reference||Author: Ronald B. Kline, Jr.|
- 1 Physiology & Ecology
- 2 Life Cycle & Reproduction
- 3 Diet & Trophics
- 4 History & Background (Dossier)
- 5 Travellers' Aid Society Advisory
- 6 References & Contributors (Sources)
Physiology & Ecology
Full grown adults of this species mass up to 800kg and may measure many meters in length. Manticores have a significant thermal signature due to the heat of digestive processes within their bodies.
Manticores have several layers of differentiated tissues, but few vital areas. Their organ systems are simple and diffuse through most of their bulky bodies.
Armor: Jack equivalent skin, hard internal structures.
Subspecies nest among rocky crags, cliffs, and caves in mountainous areas. Others nest underwater. Some partially bury themselves in various soil substrates.
It is quite unusual for organisms of this mass, on a large planet, with a thin atmosphere to be able to achieve the feat of flight. Admittedly the "flight" is limited but shocking to observers none the less.
Their unusual biochemistry involves higher temperature biochemical waste products from the anerobic portion of their colonial metabolism.
The central core of the organism is a very strong matrix of long chain polysaccharides imbedded with nitrogen and metals like aluminum for surprising structural strength per kg of mass. The anerobes cover the integument and the photosynthesizers provide the deep green color.
The ventral surface has four sets of appendages which help them walk, climb and swim. On the ground they are not particularly fast, about the speed of a human.
They have two complete sets of complimentary wing structures. The anterior set are larger and facilitate gliding, soaring and are vascular enough to act as thermoregulatory radiators as needed. The posterior set of wings are smaller and more heavily muscled and provide thrust and lift. They are motile enough to help grip when climbing and perching and are used to facilitate mating. The wings assist with swimming while submerged as well. Taking off from the water's surface can be difficult because of their size. They maybe required to sun themselves to allow the hydrogen compounds to accumulate to facilitate lift off.
The dorsal surface between the wings toward the anterior end has four pairs of appendages that are specialized as "claws". These are used for self defense and to kill competitive species.
Life Cycle & Reproduction
The amphibian manticores are homeothermic and have two genders. Nests of 2-4 young, per mated pair is typical.
Given enough time they can heal dramatic injuries and as a result are difficult to kill. They grow slowly and don't seem to die of old age. Their cell division is not affected by senescence.
One becomes reproductive when metabolic energy levels permit, during lean times they don't reproduce. A small number of embryonic clones with identical "genetic" coding are grown internally. During copulation these are transferred to the other gender which provides no genetic contribution. The host gender's internal conditions and metabolic responses to current climate conditions determine if the clones emerge as cloners or host genders. The hosts feed voraciously for several local cycles and then "nest".
The cloner gender then hunts for carrion and builds up energy reserves. Periodically it returns to its host/mate and feeds it a nutrient fluid its body produces for this function. Pheromones from the host trigger the production of this nutrient which doesn't get made otherwise.
The growing embryos eventually consume the host gender from within and emerge when more fully developed. The integumentary husk and the harder internal structures of the host provide protective shelter for the newly emerged young. Chemicals released by the host's body may continue to promote feeding behaviors. The other parent may continue to feed the "dead" host which the young take advantage of. They must wait and photosynthesize long enough to be able to fly off and establish their own territory. All of the emerging young are of one gender or the other and all are "genetically" similar.
Diet & Trophics
Their trophic classification is that of a scavenger/intimidator, but also display autotrophic (photosynthetic) capabilties. They have an opportunistic digestive system. Their body is a mutualistic host to a variety of discrete symbiotic microbial species. These include aerobic and anerobic species, which allows the host to absorb chemical energy and nutrients from the metabolic byproducts of their microbial colonies.
Autotroph & Scavenger
The base organism and its colonial symbiotes can remain dormant for long periods of time. They can rest in a photosynthetic mode as long as needed.
Only the occasional need to mate and the need to ingest carrion to periodically restock the internal growth medium for their microbes causes them to stir. When stimulated and olfactorially triggered by the scent of offal or carrion they burst into action, unfurling their massive wings and slashing around with eight sharp claws, they were quite alarming to the surprised Yslai colonists.
The anterior "mouth" is surrounded by feeding palps and tactile, olfactory and thermal sensor stalks. There are several internal grinding surfaces for pulverizing body parts. They don't however "bite". They use the feeding palps to tear the carrion into small enough pieces to ingest. Corrosive digestive enzymes are secreted to depolymerize the meal.
Feeding Actions & Intimidation Behavior
Once they arrive in the location of the carrion they swoop in to intimidate the other gathered species. Their deadly claws slash all in their path. Their size and the foul secretions of digestive chemicals serve to intimidate. They spray these chemicals on the kill to claim it, the spray is toxic to most other species and renders the carrion flesh poisonous to other organisms. As a result, the odor they emit constitutes an "intimidation pheromone" for several local species and in turn produces a "fear" motor-sensory reflex.
The harder to digest portions (the local equivalents of exoskeletons, claws, teeth, shells and bones) of the carrion ingested are ground up internally and used as a growth nutrient medium for the rich microbiotic fauna and flora. These include photo and chemosynthetic autotrophs.
They climb to high perches after meals for a long digestive process that is very efficient and complete.
Digestion, Respiration & Byproducts
They have vast colonies of symbiotic obligate anerobic species which are native to their bodies as their only known habitat. These produce hydrogen-rich compounds which in turn provide buoyancy. The sacs inflate as they sun themselves. These gases are the only major metabolic by-product and help them float. They are flexible in terms of the acquisition of gases and can filter out what they need from the atmosphere or the hydrosphere with equal efficiency.
History & Background (Dossier)
Despite the huge population of Yslai on that planet small pockets of breeding populations of this endangered species persist.
Native Yslai use the significant thermal signature of the Maijarran Manticore to detect and avoid them. They also discovered early on during planetary colonization that they are extremely flammable.
Travellers' Aid Society Advisory
References & Contributors (Sources)
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis), Captain, and Lead Naval Architect Ronald B. Kline, Jr. of the Imperial Navy
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science