Planet Twylo

Chapter Nine: Twylo's Zoology

Land Animals: Their Structure and Reproduction

The land animals on Twylo have evolved from creatures found in its oceans. Some have developed from shelled creatures living in water to shelled creatures living on land. Some still show traits common to their ancestors, while others have changed in such a drastic fashion that they no longer resemble their early relatives. Their reproductive capabilities are also somewhat evolved from their ancestors. No matter which group the current animals belong to, they may be placed in one of three basic categories for description:

Herbivores




The group of Herbivores includes by definition any animals which eat only plant matter. Many in this group have evolved from the shelled ocean dwellers, such as the Ostraca. They worked their way onto land, some shedding their shells for greater mobility. Animals in this group can be small or large in size, but all dine primarily on only one to two types of plants during their lifetime. Thus, they are quite accustomed to remaining in a rather small area, rarely venturing to spots where the climate might make their favorite foods scarce.

Two Herbivores which are present today on Twylo are the Riman and the Kwaina. The Riman is a smallish, four legged animal with a pointed, barbed tail. It lives in the colder regions of Twylo, and feeds on the Zinfy plant (a grass-like plant). It is quite agile, scurrying on the ground as it avoids its enemies (primarily Nefters) while in search of food. The Kwaina is larger, has both a prehensile tail and opposable thumbs. It has the capability to walk on its hind legs for short lengths of time, although it spends most of its time in the trees, feeding on Zycamore leaves. It lives in the warmer regions of Twylo, near the equator.



The reproductive similarities of the two are striking. Both give birth to live young after a gestation period of 4 months., as opposed to their ancestors use of egg laying to achieve parenthood. Both tend to their offspring for approximately one year, until they are ready to fend for themselves. However, they differ in one major respect. The Riman, once it has left the family, is now seen as a competitor for food and is viewed as an outsider. The Kwaina, on the other hand, is always part of the family, even into advanced age.

 

Carnivores

Carnivores are those animals which eat meat only. These animals evolved initially from a group of fishes. This evolutionary process brought about the development of many, many species, from bird-like to wolf-like, and greatly increased the number of land animals located on planet Twylo. The carnivore group consists mostly of large or very large animals. This size advantage is essential when hunting food which may quite mobile and/or able to resist being used as food.



Examples of Carnivores are the Kefra and the Polra. The Kefra is a four-legged, cat-like creature. It has long fangs for tearing flesh, and is quite swift, reaching speeds of 55 kilometers-per-hour for short bursts and climbing trees in order to catch one of its favorite foods, the Kwaina. It lives only in the warmer regions of Twylo. The Polra is extremely large and bear-like. It lives in the colder recesses of Twylo and requires extensive amounts of food. It eats many different types of animals, from the Nefter to the Riman and the Hirpod (fish). Polras can reach 3 meters in height, and weigh 600 Kgs. Both of these animals give birth to live young, and tend to them for at least three years before they are forced to fend for themselves. The gestation period for the Polra is 7 months., while that of the Kefra is 8 months.

Omnivores

The Omnivore group includes all animals which will eat both plants and animals. Being the largest of the three groups, it contains ground and tree dwellers and evolved from various sources. Some can trace their ancestors to shelled ocean creatures, while others are the descendants of fish.



Two of the Omnivores on Twylo are the Nefter and the Silma. The Nefter is a four-legged raccoon sized creature which eats ground covering (zinfy grass) and the Riman. It can grow to a height of 30 cm. and weigh about 20 kgs. It is usually dark in color. The Silma is a medium-sized bear-like creature which feeds on the Kwaina and leaves from various bushes and shrubs. They are approximately 50 cm. tall and weigh 45 kgs. when mature. Both of these animals have teeth which are adapted to the eating of both flesh and plant material. Reproductive cycles of these animals differ from most others on Twylo. The Nefter is a marsupial animal. That is, the young are born live, but then spend time in a pouch on the mother's stomach before being released to be on their own. This time period is about 15 months for the Nefter. The Silma, on the other hand, is born live to the mother, but is nursed to maturity by the father. It spends the first 6 months. of its life attached to the father's back, only venturing away when the father is feeding and or bathing itself. The Nefter lives in the cold weather regions, while the Silma lives in the tropics.


Chapter Ten: Twylo's Land Ecology

 

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