The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Salamander of the Sand.

Sanphibian (Humupiscis serpentor)

Description: Sanphibians derive their name from the fact that they swim through the sand in the less rocky regions of the Sunspot Desert. They are between 1 and 2 meters in length and mass about fifty kilograms. They look much like salamanders and newts of Earth, though the appearance is superficial.

Head: Sanphibians have a strange head. At the very top of their head, upon small mounds, are a pair of eyes that only look directly above them. These eyes stick out of the sand and are sensitive to motion, though poor in resolution. They have very wide mouths, more than twice the width of the rest of their bodies. These mouths are tipped with equally long scent-receptors, capable of detecting scents at least ten times better than a vulture. Their mouths are lined with sharp teeth for grasping prey. Once caught, the powerful jaws crushes the life out of the prey before it is swallowed whole.

Body: Their bodies are a tan to red color, blending in with the sands where they are native. They are built much like a fish or an amphibian, best adapted to ‘swimming’ through the loose sand. Their backs are lined with poisonous spines, an evolved defensive mechanism. They do not work against their own species, and many smaller sanphibians can fall prey to cannibals.

Limbs: Limbs are stout and strong, used to propel the animal through the sand. They are also strong enough to support the animal on rockier lands, for when the sanphibian lays eggs.

Internal Structure: Sanphibian lungs are proportionally larger than most desert animals, suggesting they tend to burrow deep enough to require oxygen reserves.

Diet: Anything they can catch that will fit in their mouths. They are ambush predators, waiting for more active desert animals to stumble across their path. All their water is acquired from their prey.

Lifecycle: For the first Earth year after hatching, sanphibians stay in their rocky nurseries. While this small, they are easy prey for pretty much anything. While in the protected areas, the young feed on small desert bugs, either ambushing them, or burrowing after the subterranean arthropods. Once large enough to risk life in the open sands, they abandon their nursery, but do not head into the deep sands. They will continue to hover around rocky areas for the next two years, growing larger and stronger. If they survive these years, then they will head into the deeper sands. Sanphibians live for upwards to twenty years.

Reproduction: Though they might look like newts, they do not spawn. Mating takes place out of the sand in more rocky areas. Here, the eggs are laid in crevices to protect them from both sun and predation. The eggs are colored and textured the same as the rocks, and take two months to develop.

Sociability: They are neither friendly nor aggressive. Aside from instances of cannibalism, sanphibians are largely indifferent of their own kind. No truly social interactions have been observed.

Habitat: Loose, sandy areas of the Sunspot Desert, usually near rocky areas.

Communication: Communication is not understood. They do not communicate by sound, and being buried most of the time, not by sight. It is theorized they communicate by scent.

Enemies: The desert being extremely unforgiving, enemies of the sanphibian include anything large enough to eat them.

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