THE BAVEREYE BEETLE ("EYE OF BAVERAS")

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - MYTH/LORE

Claimed by some to be the sole creation of Baveras, Goddess of the Sea, the Bavereye Beetle is a queer beetle that is unlike any other. It was first discovered by Shendar explorers, who believed the Scattersand Shoals to be the territory of Baveras. There were no doubts when they saw small, yet abundant, lights of blue, green, and silver flitting about the shores. Upon closer inspection, they called the insect the "Eye of Baveras", or "Baveras' Eye", and thus its name is a portmanteau of the two words. As these beetles illuminated Baveras' land, some Shendar even believed them to be sacred. It is a relatively large insect, about half a palmspan in length. A beautiful and mysterious creature, the Bavereye is a sight of wonder to any who happen to see their lights upon the shores of the Shoals.

Picture description. Nightly activities on the Scattersand Island of Honduraia: the gracious dance of the Bavereye Beetle.  Seeker, movie by Artimidor.

Appearance. Though the Bavereye may have unique characteristics that distinctly seperate it from most other beetles, it has the same anatomy as any. It has a tough outer skeleton that is a a bluish-green, the same as the ocean that surrounds it. However, it is not known if this is the Bavereye's "true" colour, because it changes colours to camouflage with its surroundings. Thus, it can be seen to have many different colours. When in the sand, it is a tawny brown, when among reefs it may change to a deep coral. It is generally accepted, however, that it is of a light blue with a tint of green.

There is one thing about the Bavereye that remains the same, and that is a hard skeletal structure embedded in the center of its head and above the eyes, called a "gem". It is called such because it greatly resembles a crystalline rock, though it is mere a combination of skeleton and a few minerals that the Bavereye obtains through its diet. This gem can be either a deep blue, a dark green, or a bright silver. Even if a Bavereye changes colours, the gem in its head remains the same colour. It is not known what the significance of the gem's colour is, for other than its colour there is no difference in the beetles. Beetles with blue and green gems are common, while silver-gemmed Bavereyes are quite rare; only a few have ever been spotted.

The beetle itself is about half a palmspan in length, so by comparison it is no small insect. Like all beetles, it has hard forewings than spread out to reveal thin, translucent wings beneath, giving it a set of two wings when spread. These wings are set far forward on the thorax, and the hind wings are longer than the forewings. The beetle itself is slender and less rounded than most, and is shaped like a plump oval. It has large round grey eyes and hairy legs. Return to the top

Special Abilities. As aforementioned, the Bavereye has the ability to camouflage into its surroundings, and it has been reported that there is no limit to the spectrum that it can imitate. Stories have been told of Bavereyes who take on such vibrant colours as red, yelllow, purple, and even black. Followers of Baveras relate this to the way water can shift and change to any shape or form.

Painstaking studies revealed the Bavereye's adaptations to water. Its large round grey eyes are divided in half, and it is believed that this is so the beetle can see both above and below water at the same time while resting on the surface! Its legs have long rows of hairs that help it to swim, and like other water beetles it uses small hairs on the underside of its body to trap air in order to breathe below water. When swimming underwater, the Bavereye appears to be carrying a small silver bubble under its body. Scholars believe that this bubble is the air that it traps, but some believe that the beetle is carrying messages to Baveras.

The Bavereye's last ability it the one it is most famous for, and that is the luminous "gem" embedded in its head. The Bavereye can illuminate this gem so that it gives off a bright light the same as the gem's colour. Bavereyes with blue gems give off a blue light, green gems shine a bright vibrant green, and silver gems seem to shine a remarkable mix of blue, green, and white, though white light is predominant. It was once questioned if this was a way of warding off predators, but the light really only seems to draw predators, such as the flyer crab. Some scholars believe that the Bavereye is only capable of illuminating this gem during the dark hours at night, for never has a gem been seen to light up during the day. A belief about this is that the Bavereye is constantly watching for Baveras, and even at night nothing escapes her eye.
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Territory. The Bavereye Beetle lives exclusively on the Scattersand Shoals, and absolutely nowhere else. What's more, the Bavereye cannot even survive anywhere else. If these bugs are captured and taken elsewhere, they do not reproduce. Whether this is because they simply refuse not to or are incapable, it is not known. They are most common on the Shoals islands of Aiden, Sapphiria, Zandiria, and the southern beaches of Triam. On Zandiria they are a certain sight, especially at night, but it is said that on Sapphiria they are over-abundant, and here even silver-gemmed Bavereyes are no rarity. Sailors have mentioned how at night on Sapphiria these Bavereyes dance to the haunted tune of the windsong.
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Habitat/Behaviour. As mysterious as they are, the Bavereye Beetles are no uncommon sight upon the shores of the Scattersand Shoals. Most often they prefer to remain underwater, though occassionally when they would like a good sunbath they crawl up on shore. If there are any people around, they are very aware, and remain at a safe distance. Yet, they always seem to be somewhere nearby whenever there are other beings around. One sailor reported that each time he looked in the water he swore he saw one of them dive under quickly. They seem to be curious, but cautious.

Sometimes these beetles just sit on the surface of the water, and there are occassions where people may seem them rubbing their forelegs on the gem of another. This is a simple way to polish their gems, and they seem to take pride in them. It is a funny sight to see, but Bavereyes like to keep their gems shiny and clean. It is not known whether this is a necessity or just a vanity, but it is a habit of theirs nonetheless.

Bavereyes are much more active at night, though it is not known when they sleep or wake. Some believe that their colours actually determine such, as the green-gemmed beetles are more often spotted during the day, whereas blue beetles are a common sight at night. Regardless, they are still seldom seen during the daytime. Some scholars have stated that the beetles do not sleep at all, though this is not yet known. One thing is sure, though, no Bavereye Beetle has ever been seen "sleeping".

During the day, the beetles usually remain independent, though sometimes can be spotted in small groups of two or three. At night, however, they come together in large groups. If they are above water at night, they usually fly around alone, shining their light constantly. Underwater, they gather in groups of nearly 20 and shine their lights to create a magnificent mixture of colours. Some people sail to the Shoals solely for the purpose of seeing one of their dazzling night show of lights.

The Bavereye has but two natural predators, the flyer crab and Scattersand ray. Though there is a hard gem/egg embedded in its head, the Flyer Crab is able to pick out the gem and eat the insect, and the Scattersand ray will just swallow it whole. However, no animal is able to break open the gem, and thus when eaten the Bavereye's egg will simply hatch a few weeks later, and the same is true for when the gem has passed through the Scattersand ray's digestive system. Thus, one lost and another gained.
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Diet. The Bavereye has a simple diet consisting of seaweed and other various plants. Underwater, seaweed is their primary source of food, and a few have been seen clustered together on this plant. Sometimes, however, the Bavereye has a craving for coconut, and will raid a bombox plant as a group. It is not known if there is a more extensive part of their diet, as these are the only places where they can be seen feeding. It is possible that the beetles may eat more underwater, but they have proved elusive enough for no man to know. 
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Mating. The Bavereye process of reproduction is perhaps the primary reason why devouts believe them to be related to Baveras. They do not mate at all, and there is no indication of male or female gender. The "gem" in their forehead shows its usefulness here, as it is actually an egg. When it is young, the Bavereye has a hard piece of skeleton in the center of its head that hardens into the gem as it grows older. This gem is very hard, and not at all easy to break. Thus, the Bavereye usually keeps its gem for its entire life. If the gem is lost, the Bavereye dies.

The Bavereye only has a lifespan of about 7 years, and it is believed to know when it will die. It is also said that the Bavereye chooses when it will die, as it never shows signs of sickness or disease. However, it will crawl underwater, and its body will begin to shrivel up and grow thin until it eventually dies and turns to dust. The gem, however, will remain, and only weeks later the gem will begin to crack open, and a white larvae will emerge. It immediately burrows underground, where it is said that it visits Baveras and obtains its blessing. Regardless, within a few months it will emerge as a fully grown Bavereye.

This process is done at different times by each Bavereye. They do not die in groups, but only go underwater to die when their time comes; the cause of which no scholar has been able to figure out. This incredibly unique way of reproduction leads to belief that the Bavereye contains both an egg and fertilizer within its body, and sometime during its life it will fertilize the egg within the "gem", thus creating a new life form. Some view it almost as a form of reincarnation. Others see it as a way of ensuring survival, for the gem is very difficult to break or remove from the insect, and even if removed it can still produce a larvae. However, if it is removed and taken from the Scattersand Shoals, a larvae will never hatch. It is said that if one carries an unhatched Bavereye egg, they are blessed by Baveras. A few mages have accounted that the gem makes a good reagent for water magic.

There is a particular scholar who claims to have seen two larvae emerge from a single egg. This is scorned by most, but there could certainly be a possibility that a Bavereye could produce twins. No one else has witnessed such, however. If this is true, though, then it could certainly be assumed that a Bavereye could even produce more than two larvae, though observation tells us that a single larvae is the common quota.
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Myth/Lore. As stated already several times, the Bavereye is said to be the sole creation of Baveras, the Sea Goddess. This may be but a myth, and perhaps the reasons for this belief are but the exaggeration of the imagination. Sometimes Bavereyes wander far from the shores at night when there are ships in the distance. They tend to fly in front of these ships. It is common belief that they try to guide travellers to safety at night and save them from the treacherous reefs and waters. Though some would say that if Baveras is angry they will guide ships into the reefs, and their luminous gems are difficult not to follow, thus earning them another name, the "Siren Lights". There are indeed mysteries surrounding the Bavereye, but none so much that shroud it completely in the unknown.
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 Date of last edit 9th Rising Sun 1667 a.S.

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