Inkblot Notback

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As a population of golden notbacks moved southward, they eventually colonized the rainforest and adjacent savanna. These notbacks in particular speciated from their ancestors, driving their evolutionarily older siblings back to their native range. And thus, the inkblot notback was born.

Appearance-wise, the inkblot notback looks very similar to their ancestor, including their golden coloration. However, one thing that sets them apart from their ancestors is what gives them their name; a large, ink blot-like marking on their upper two face tentacles. This marking is darkly colored due to a concentration of melanin in this area, and no two inkblot notbacks have the same marking. However, this marking is typically only present in the males, with the females having patterns similar to freckles on their faces instead. Another thing to note is the odd placement of the legs. Under normal circumstances, if the legs were placed there in a golden notback, the heavy weight of the head and lighter weight of the tail would cause the animal to fall over. However, the bones on the tail get noticeably denser further down the tail, counterbalancing the head and keeping inkblot notbacks from falling over.

One interesting behavior that they display is presenting potential mates with gifts of flesh. This typically involves two males trying to outdo one another with gifts, which they each present to a single potential mate. Some males will even go so far as to hunt mudsliders, dragging them out of the water if it's not already on land and kicking it to death, or, on rare occasions, rushing onto the mudslider's back while it's in water and wait for it to drown. This daring behavior tends to claim the lives of many an inkblot notback. The female selects the mate based on the quality and size of the gift of meat presented to her, with the unchosen male leaving. Outside of breeding season, mudsliders are either avoided or ignored.