This false fish living in the floating weed forests of planet Ectora have very odd anatomy. They have five heads, each with a beak and two eyes. On the opposite side of the body are anal spines. All are used as feet to crawl through the seaweed. The top head is modified into a hook for grasping and climbing. Most species have defensive spines on this appendage. In most species, the hind "legs" are able to grasp objects between them. The five beaks sometimes specialize in different foods and have different shapes. The hook-arm beak usually only consumes liquids such as weed juices or animal blood. Other beaks might specialize in crushing, stripping, or chewing.
The sawtail fish of Ectora is heavily armored and slow-moving. It captures plankton in the hairs of its lower mouth. The upper mouth is much smaller and used only for respiration. Both are able to shut tight by closing armor plates over them. The false fish has a total of six spines on the body. The forward two have fins attached to them. The rear four are covered in barbs. All are rigid. Only the tail can swivel and this allows it to slice at the scary electric sharks that pursue it.
The InkDoodler blog will soon be no more. I am starting three new blogs to take its place.
FloraAndFaunaOfTheUniverse.com will feature all my speculative biology and drawings. I plan on writing a series describing life on various planets and the site is how I plan on promoting them. I also plan on featuring the worthy exobiology projects of others. If anyone has an event, project, resource, published book, or website related to extraterrestrial plants, animals, or microbes, please let me know using the contact form on the site. I would love to encourage others in this new and growing sub-genre of science fiction. Only my best drawings that I actually mean to put in the eventual book will be posted, rather than posting every doodle and any thought that happens to enter my mind as I did on InkDoodler. I will be reposting a lot of my creatures from planet Ectora, but once I am through those I will be posting all new material. Please visit!
WayOutLife.com is my personal blog that will link to every project I am involved in, including my published books of fiction and non-fiction. It is about my life. At heart, I am an explorer. This is why I write about exploring other planets and adventures of time travel paradoxes and ten-dimensional alien monsters. However, I would rather have a real adventure and I would rather take a walk in the woods surrounded my real animals than just write about imaginary ones. If I can afford it, I plan on taking a road trip and reporting my findings on the blog, along with photographs of what I see. Since life itself is an adventure, I will also post things I learn about life and love, products and people I discover, musings on physics and philosophy, and observations on ethics and spirituality. I know I don’t have all the answers, but I like to make people really think and question their assumptions. I will also be reposting all my poetry.
LocalTampaBay.com is a project of my father’s to support local pride and promote local businesses. I am the editor. When you buy locally, your money is invested back into the community instead of being sent off to some corporate headquarters in another state or country. We cover stores, businesses, services, products, parks, restaurants, museums, charities, public art and resources, history, and people of interest. Anyone can write and submit an article about a local treasure in the Tampa Bay area. Your post will be signed with your name and a link to a website of your choosing, such as your business or charity, blog, or Amazon author page.
There are regions on planet Ectora where seaweed gathers into thick, floating forests. With a few exceptions, the animals here are slow and rely on camoflauge to avoid being eaten - or to better sneak up on their meal. The Ectoran false fish above has four heads with three mouths between them. These mouths open so deeply that when the fish curls its jaws fully open the animal takes on a completely different shape. Being able to take on so many different shapes makes it less likely to be recognized by predators. Its mouths are also used to grip the seaweeds to avoid floating away.
Planet Halyjoa is populated by organisms without true cells, but the most successful phyla have pseudocells making up parts of their bodies. The brains, digestive systems, and genetic storehouses are located in the central nucleus of the whole animal. The pseudocells make up the limbs.
The animal above has four central nuclei and reproduces by binary division. It is a member of a family of over a hundred species. They range from 100 microns to 1 millimeter across, have anywhere from seven to twenty arms, and live as scavengers, detritivores, and decomposers. The ends of the arms dissolve and absorb food from the surroundings where it is passed to the nuclei to be absorbed into the body cavity.
The mask fish of Ectora get their name from the symbiotic behavior of only a small minority of the member species of the group. Being slow and clumsy swimmers, they grasp the heads of certain fast predator fish inbetween their two tailfins by turning sideways. They are then able to lead the predator fish to prey by squeezing on one side or the other. Predator fish have learned the value of the masks in seeking prey at long distances at night or in deep waters where light is scarce. Their huge eyes are better than most. Working together, the two fish catch more than they ever could alone and they share all meals. There is even one species of predator that has completely lost its sight and will starve if it cannot find a mask fish to partner with.
Mask fish begin their lives with the middle head being dominant and move by means of cilia. They eat plankton. By adulthood, the middle head atrophies into a useless nub while the top and bottom heads develop powerful suction, jaws, and teeth for tearing flesh from prey. They generally cannot pierce armor and need their partners for this. Most species have eight eyes.
One group of false fish that specialize in hunting especially fast and maneuverable prey in the open sea have the forward part of their body divided into distinct necks, each terminating in a toothy mouth. They are able to hold these necks together into a streamlined form and may even have fins attached to them. In the species above, smaller grasping nubs hold the five necks together. These hunters swim as close as they can to prey and then send their heads in all directions, hoping to catch the tricky prey fish no matter which way it flees. Even so, they are successful less than two percent of the time and must keep trying. The individual above has a small brain and two small eyes on each head, as well as a large master brain and two large eyes at the base of the necks where the nerve cords all connect.
Omnidirectional crabs (or omnicrabs) comprise a large family of species native to the reefs and abyssal plains of planet Ectora. They range in size from one millimeter across all the way up to three meters across. Most are scavengers or herbivores. Shown above on the right is an example of a common omnicrab. It has three true heads (green) and three false heads (red). The internal anatomy is visible in this drawing, including the mouths, throat pouches, esophaguses, stomachs, and anuses (terminating in false heads). The backbones of these creatures follow the same paths as the digestive tracts and are connected by a complex, interlocked rib cage. The crab has two legs per head and is capable of crawling in any direction. The false heads are believed to deter certain types of predators that only attack from the back.
Deep in the abyssal plains of the Ectoran sea, light is non-existent and the direction of attack matters little. Deep-sea omnicrabs have thicker shells than their reef-dwelling cousins. Among the thickest shells are found in the "turtle-crab" genera, the most extreme example being the greater scatter-horn turtle-crab shown on the left above. The upper shell overhangs the body and legs, allowing no direct path to the relatively soft underside.
I'm always thinking about issues of philosophy from all sorts of various perspectives. Sometimes I become convinced that others are just totally wrong. Other times, I know I don't know the answers, but I just want people to think through their own beliefs before jumping to conclusions. Other times, I simply find the alternative perspectives interesting and entertaining. Not all are to be taken completely seriously. Below are some of my observations and musings over the years. I've posted most of these in various venues before, including here, but I just thought I would compile together the most insightful and eloquent of the bunch together.
1: One does not need to be able to cite an example of a general pattern to be sure of the truth of its existence any more than one needs to be able to count the pickets on a picket fence to recognize that it is indeed a fence and not an elephant. Humans better remember broad rules or principles of the relationships between things than they remember every detail of every waking moment of their lives.
2: Too often a false choice is perceived between sheepish submission to the law and antagonistic confrontation with the lawgiver. Sometimes there is a third choice: leave the lawgiver alone and do whatever you were going to do anyway.
3: Some claim that it is within the proper role of the courts to settle disputes between the legislative and executive branches, but then who is it that settles disputes between the courts and another branch? Who is it that defines the proper role of the court?
4: Some claim it is within the proper role of the courts to decide the meaning of the constitution even when it applies to restrictions on government power, but what then restricts a part of that same government (the courts) from deciding the constitution to mean whatever it pleases, granting itself unlimited power?
5: Some claim that the courts interpret the laws for us because sometimes we cannot agree on the meaning of the laws, but if we cannot agree on the meaning of the law, how can we then agree on the meaning of the rulings by the court?
6: Optimists see within every failure an even greater success, while pessimists see within every success an even greater failure. They are both right; time goes on and the string of successes and failures never ends.
7: Saying I can’t have an opinion on abortion because I’m not female is like saying I can’t have an opinion on the holocaust because I’m not a member of the Nazi party.
8: Very few suggest that divorce should be illegal, but many recognize that a union carrying an expiration date from its inception is not a true marriage. Very few suggest that promiscuity among consenting adults should be illegal, but many recognize that a union of more than two individuals is not a true marriage either. Very few suggest that homosexual relationships should be illegal, but when it comes to whether homosexual unions are true marriages, we cannot seem to agree. It is one of the great debates of our time. Explaining the inherently heterosexual nature of romantic love to a homosexual is like explaining color to a blind man, except of course, that when claiming the existence of color, nobody ever accuses us of being blindophobic.
9: Lips are the primary organs used in kissing, an activity commonly associated with romantic entanglements, yet they are not considered sexual organs. Hands may caress, and eyes may gaze, but neither hands nor eyes are considered especially sexual either. In contrast, breasts – the primary purpose of which is to nourish the young – are considered “sexual” organs.
10: Let people walk all over you and even your admirers will lose respect. Stand up for yourself, and you will be accused of being argumentative, pushy, short-tempered, vengeful, and possibly even charged with threatening someone. There is no happy medium. There is only an overlap area wherein you will be walked all over AND perceived as threatening.
11: There is no amount of punishment possible to deter someone from killing or injuring another when they perceive it as self-defense. When under the threat of bodily harm, what the law or the community will think of one’s actions later is the last thing on one’s mind.
12: We don’t need more of Jesus or more of God’s power in our lives; we already have it all. We only need less of ourselves.
13: We should all know our purpose, yes. But for many of us, we will not know our whole life’s purpose until it is over. For now, living through to the next day is purpose enough. We would not expect a fetus to know of any greater purpose, why expect more of an adult?
14: I don’t think you’re wrong because I disagree with you, I disagree with you because you’re wrong.
Hello, my name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small. I like bacon. I like pizza. I like bacon pizza. I enjoy long walks on the beach, but prefer the mountains. I am a huge fan of Jesus. When I grow up, I want to be just like him and create my own universes.