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The Kklakshen are a species of hypercarnivorous ophidiosk native to the coastal forests of Arrathen.

PhysiologyEdit

Kklakshen grow to 2 meters in length, although around half of this consists of the long and thin tail segment. Their wingspan is also about 2 meters.

Their head is topped with a conspicuous crest of indumentum. The color of this crest can vary among individuals. Males tend to have crests of red, orange, or yellow, while females tend to exhibit blue and green colors. Whatever the color, the crest is highly iridescent and acts as a display signal in both sexes.

Indumentum actually covers most parts of the body. Unlike those on the crest or wings, the indumentum on the body is able to fluoresce, also used for display functions.

A Kklakshen's mouth possesses two pairs of mandibles for grappling prey. Several smaller palpi also form a ring around the mouth. Inside the mouth, true salivary glands begin the digestion process. Many other ophidiosks do not have this feature.

Like other ophidiosks their eyes are formed of ommatidia. They exhibit trinocular vision and are believed to sense both ultraviolet and infrared light. The eyes are supported by eyestalks.

Kklakshen have large wings. A specialized type of indumentum acts like feathers, enabling true flight. There is also a second, vestigal pair of wings located behind the primary wings. This vestigal pair is bare of any indumentum but still has an important purpose for the animal (see Symbiotic relationship).

Kklakshen have four pairs of multi-segmented limbs. The first pair is assymetric: the left limb is hard and bony, while the right limb is scythe shaped. This allows the animal to attack widely different types of prey with efficiency. The next two pairs end in simple claws, while the final pair acts as legs for locomotion on the ground. This pair has enlarged tarsi and claws.

The tail segment also possesses a display of indumentum, which changes color throughout the seasons.

Symbiotic relationshipEdit

The underside of the vestigal pair of wings provides a dark, moist breeding ground for a specialized group of near-microscopic organisms. The evolutionary relationships of these organisms are uncertain. As these lifeforms live on the Kklakshen vestigial wings, they also life their entire life on the larger animals, and in fact eating away substances attached to the indumentum, cleaning their fur.

ReproductionEdit

Kklakshen grow to maturity remarkably quickly for such a large creature, in about 60 days or less. They then breed and the females lay an average of about six dozen eggs. At this time, the entire adult population perishes. The maximum lifespan of these creatures rarely exceeds 90 days. The eggs lay in the ground until immediately after the next flood of seasonal rains.

HabitatEdit

Kklakshen inhabit the coastal jungles of Arrathen.

DietEdit

BehaviorEdit

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