We’ve now covered the Earth Domains a bit. Over the years, the Earth Domains’ population has become more diverse, accommodating new species. However, the Earth Domains are predominantly a human creation and humans still comprise a majority of the population.
The counterpart to the Earth Domains is the Aquian Habitat. As the Earth Domains are the primary political unit of the human species, the Aquian Habitat is the primary political unit of the aquian species.
Early in the expansion of humanity into interstellar space, the second species to be encountered was the aquians (the scarabs were the first).
Relative to Earth biology, aquians are most similar to mollusks; having no bones and being highly muscular. Aquians have a central body bulb that ranges from egg to potato shaped and can be anywhere from half a meter to 2 meters long. On the rear and narrow end of the bulb are four small anchoring legs with three claws each. On the front of the bulb is a head with four eyes and a mouth. A short distance below the head are four tentacles that are normally as long as the body bulb. Aquians have a pseudo-radial symmetry, with a body arranged into seemingly identical quarters. The exception to this symmetry is their beak, which is usually hidden and looks much like the beak of a parrot or octopus. Within the beak is a flexible toothed-tongue, known as a radula, used to tear food apart.
The aquians’ ancestors were strictly sea-dwellers who migrated to coastal forests similar to the mangroves of Earth. In these forests, some proto-aquians mutated and gained dry-air lungs and a tough exterior skin that allowed them to live outside the water without becoming quickly dehydrated. Aquians are now thoroughly amphibious, capable of living on dry land or briny marine environments. Aquians vary greatly in size, even in the same family group. This might have given their communities additional versatility in finding food from multiple sources.
Not only do aquians come in many sizes, but an individual can actually change its musculature significantly to suit its environment. Aquians have learned how to fasten their tentacles to artificial mechanical levers that act as exoskeletons. The muscles will become stronger and adept at the range of motion allowed by the skeleton. While this reduces the range of motion, it greatly increases strength and leverage for specialized tasks such as walking and lifting on dry land.
Aquians are carnivorous, feeding primarily on marine animals, but also on terrestrial and avian species. Aquians capture food one of two ways: they can chase their prey or ambush it. Being great swimmers, aquians travel as fast as 35 km/h* through the water and can hunt in packs to capture marine animals. Additionally, they can anchor themselves to a tree above water or to the seabed and wait until something swims by. Their front tentacles are very quick and can whip or grasp prey before it has a chance to realize the aquian is there.
Aquians are extremely long lived and may reach the age of 150 years in a natural lifetime. They can regenerate their limbs, but not their body bulb or head. Their tongue, beak, and vocal cords can produce a large range of sounds, including human language.
Aquians are highly intelligent, with problem solving and memory skills that match humans. Aquians are social, and have followed a social evolution remarkably similar to that of humans. Pre-agricultural aquians worked together in clan-pods of several dozen members, usually from the same family. Modern aquians are less bound by family group and each individual will associate with multiple with task based organizations that strive for common goals (economic, academic, political, recreational).
Aquians reproduce sexually, but have limited sexual dimorphisym – the difference in appearance between females and males is not readily obvious to non-aquians. Females and males court and choose mate, but will not always form child-rearing partnerships. After internal fertilization, the female will lay one to three eggs within 30 days. After this point, the social group will tend to the eggs together. Another 30 days after that, a polyp will emerge from the egg and attach itself to one of the adults in the social group. The young are raised communally. At first, the young will be attached to others where they are kept safe and fed. Later, at about two years of age, the polyps grow into a juvenile form and detach from their adult. Juveniles will stay with the social group until they are fully mature, growing and learning until they are around 14 years old. At this point they may stay with the group, join another, or start their own.
I’ll go into the social and political context of the aquians and the Aquian Habitat in an upcoming blog entry 😉.
Thanks for reading!!
*Not going to throw knots or nautical miles at you – that’s crap and no one knows what that means. Pet peeve, I digress.