THE GULLETCRAMP BUTTERFLY ("STOMACHFLY", "JIBBALIES", "BOWELMOTH")

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

This little butterfly brings a whole new literal meaning to someone saying "I've got the butterflies." They are immune to the effects of stomach acid and, for the first two months of its life, this insect lives quite comfortably in a person's belly. The Gulletcramp is a bad thing to have calling your stomach home. It rudely eats a large portion of anything that you may consume, yet leaves you feeling full despite that the majority of your meal is now gone due to the butterfly's hefty appetite. The Gulletcramp Butterfly is also known as "Stomachfly", "Jibbalies", "Bowelmoth", "Gutterfly", "Bellyfly", "Paunchfly" and "Gutwing".

Appearance. Considered large, once fully grown, for a parasite, it is certainly a tiny and very creepy butterfly. It usually only grows up to a maximum of three to four nailsbreadths in length, however larger ones are not unknown. Though, a bug that needs to climb out via its host's throat can only become so large if it's going to actually manage to get out. The wingspan of the Gulletcramp generally tends to be just below five nailsbreadths across and are not as hindered in size as the rest of the insect, due to its lack-there-of until after its outside of the body.

The head of this parasitic butterfly is a strange thing to behold. A soft triangle in shape, it is flat with one beady, black eye set in the middle of the top. Its mouth, readily equipt with many tiny sharp teeth, is on the underside of its head. And one frazzled-looking antennae protrudes from both of the points on either side of its broad forehead. The head is held out from its body by a skinny, stiff neck that doesn't move itself, but that the head swivels about on instead in pretty much any direction, the neck being connected at the middle of the underside of its forehead.

Its body looks like an old woman's gnarled pinky, with hunched bumpy shoulders and a thin, crooked rear. However, the body is flat when looked at from the side, except for its shoulders. An ugly, dark yellow in hue with brown speckles, it does well to remind one of bile. The uneven lumps across its upper-back and shoulders are where its wings are, beneath a thick leathery layer of flesh. Down the middle of that is what looks like a seam, where the flesh splits apart and curls back to reveal the wings. Though, this only happens after it has escaped from its host's belly.

The front two legs are longer than the usual butterfly's and are tipped with nasty looking hooks, which presumably help them cling to the side of the stomach and, ultimately, are vital for pulling itself up the windpipe and out of the mouth. Its other four legs are particularly fat near the top and are completely covered in tiny hooked hairs. Instead of being oriented to be held below the body, as to hold the body up; the legs are oriented to be held out away from the sides of the body, as to lay the belly of the butterfly against whatever it is standing on.

Once free from its host and the wings have been dried and inflated, one can see exactly why this parasite is considered a butterfly. The wings themselves are quite striking and even, I daresay, beautiful. The appendages are oblong in shape, the forewings being longer than the back, and end with gracefully pointed tips. They are a pristine white colour with light dustings of peach and rusty orange swirls, which become more vibrant or pale depending on the angle at which they are viewed. The wings have a sparkling sheen to them that causes them to shimmer in the light, thought to be due to the insect's nutrient-rich diet.
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Special Abilities. The Gulletcramp Butterfly is immune to the corrosive acids of the stomach, where it spends the majority of its life. As such, it is mostly safe to assume that this parasite is also resistant to other mild acids as well. The female butterfly is venomous, and can be poisonous should it be crushed. Its venom induces almost immediate vomiting and fever, which can be fatal. It is especially fatal, should the female become too lodged in the throat for the vomitting to help her escape.

Boiling the water you drink beforehand is a surefire way of never being plagued with this most unpleasant butterfly in the first place. Though, some believe that eating very sweet berries when one thinks that they may be infected with this gruesome butterfly will cure them, making their stomach an unsuitable place for the parasite to survive.

Only in extreme cases have healers been known to use lye tea as a remedy. However, due to the deadly effects of ingesting lye, the healer must be very skilled in order to brew the correct strength. Too weak, and the Gulletcramp will survive, and the patient will not only have to deal with the parasite, but lye poisoning as well. Too strong, and the patient will be subject to a very painful death at the hands of those who would save them.
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Territory. This insect's territory lies on the southern tip of Sarvonia, as it can only survive in warmer, and particularly wetter climates. The Gulletcramp can be found anywhere between Oka'Seri Swamps or Flood Plains and Bardavos, and as far northward as the Cloudforest or Varcopas. Whether they have spread to other areas beyond this region is possible, but unlikely due to its inability to survive the arid or cold climates.
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Habitat/Behaviour. Only two of these butterflies lives in a stomach at a time, being born in opposite gendered pairs. While someone may have more than one egg hatch inside of them, in the end there is only one. The twin egg that hatches first devours all of its unhatched kin. Their appetite is far too ravenous and space being too limited for there to be a number of these in one gut at a time.

Presumably, the female mates with and then devours the male. After growing and eating for two months, the Gulletcramp female will begin her painful climb up out of the stomach. Should the butterfly become stuck at any point along its way out of the stomach, it will excrete a highly potent venom. This excretion will cause the host to become feverish and begin vomiting, which will help her along her way. Once free of the stomach and throat, she will find a safe and dark place to dry her wings. Then, it is only a matter of time before she is off to find a body of water to lay her eggs in. Shortly after laying her eggs, the female will also perish.
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Diet. The food that the host animal, or person, devours is the only thing that this butterfly eats. Once it has exited the body, its only purpose is to find a place to lay its eggs, after which it dies.
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Mating. These creepy butterflies lay their eggs in whatever body of water that they can find, however must do so in within two to three days of emerging from its host. Upon discovering water, will lay anywhere from ten to twenty sets of eggs. Laying its eggs uses up the rest of the butterfly's energy, and it will fly off to die as far away from its eggs as it can fly.

The eggs hibernate until the conditions are right for it, and hatch the moment they touch bile. The larvae then viciously attack and eat each other until there are only two left. The male and female couple then latch onto the side of the stomach and pupate. After two days of absorbing nutrients, two parasitic butterflies are born. The female will mate with the male, and then devour him. Tiny at first, it takes anywhere from two to three months to grow to its full size. After which, it will pull climb its way out of its hosts stomach. Once free, it will spend a week laying large clusters of clear eggs in different bodies of water, however small or large.
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 Date of last edit 9th Frozen Rivers 1678 a.S.

Information provided by Val O'Neil View Profile