From Sagan 4 Beta Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

When the ancestors of the crushajaws first came to the continent of Fermi, they found an environment free of almost any competition and abounding in a rich variety of flora. While the siltsifters were not traditionally herbivorous, the sheer lack of almost any other herbivores present - outside of the diminutive plentscrapers - and the sheer plentifulness of various foliages made the transition in diet a favorable one. This change, combined with their relative isolation from the mainland population of siltsifters, allowed for the evolutionary process to go just a bit wild.

Growing large and prodigious in size, at least for a neosiluro, this split off the siltsifters has come to call the woodlands and waters of Fermi its home. And just as they have increased in regards to their overall proportions, so too have their appetites, leaving few species of vegetation safe upon Fermi. To aid them in this, they have developed thicker, more powerful tentajaws adorned in specialized teeth for grinding and crushing flora into a pulp suitable for ingestion. This alone, however, is not always sufficient to break down food, so crushajaws will also swallow small stones that help to further breakdown food. These gastroliths can be readily recognized by their smooth, almost spherical structure - the result of constant tumbling in the stomach - and can be commonly found doting the shores of Otter River. This is due to the fact that once their stomachs have become too overladen with stones, the crushajaws will perform a partial gastric eversion in order to clear them.

Compared to its other neosiluro cousins, the crushajaws have returned somewhat to the water, having further adapted to an amphibious existence instead of a terrestrial one. While adults cannot truly swim as their exoskeletons weigh them down, they can plod their way along the bottoms of ponds and rivers, relying on the large lung sacs that extend from their backs to allow them to remain underwater for nearly an hour at a time. Juveniles and larvae, however, possess underdeveloped lungs, and must instead rely upon their gills to extract oxygen from the water, though the former can make brief trips upon the shorelines in order to feed.

Males and females look remarkably similar to one another, though some differences do exist. Males, for example, possess larger clubs on the tips of their tentajaws, as well as red spots on their faces which are more vibrant the healthier the individual is. Females lack these, but are instead larger and more heavily built in order to aid them in egg production.

Mating occurs year round, though fights may break out amongst males from time to time, typically over the best grazing spots and availability of females. To aid them in these courtship fights, they utilize their club-like upper pair of tentacles to bash one another into submission, with the victor being able to establish a territory as well as gaining access to whichever females his displays of strength may have impressed. When ready to mate, both partners will return to the water, whereupon the male will fertilize the eggs of the female and then head off. The females, meanwhile, will typically remain near the water's edge until, after a week or two has passed, they return to the water in order to lay large clusters of jelly-covered eggs. These clusters can contain as many as two hundred individual eggs, and will eventually hatch into free-swimming larvae that feeds on bits of decaying plant matter and other bits of nutrition to be found in their aquatic homes. With time, they will grow larger and eventually settle upon the river bottom, becoming juveniles whose lungs are just beginning to properly develop. It is only after several months will their lungs and forelegs be fully developed, and thus they will be able to leave the water for longer periods of time without fear of desiccation.