THE ANCYTHRIAN SPINNEEDLER

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

One would certainly be surprised to see a spinning dart making its way through the waters of the Ancythrian Sea, but this is nothing short of the Ancythrian Spinneedler. It measures between one or two palmspans in length, and has a sharp needle-like head that it uses to stun and kill prey. With the innate ability to spin constantly while swimming, it is quite the sight to see. Spinneedlers, known by some simply as 'Needlers', are the smallest predators of the Ancythrian Sea, and are not overly threatening as their numbers are smaller than most other fish.

Appearance. The most notable aspect of a Spinneedler is its oddly shaped head which tapers at the front to a surprisingly sharp point. This point is called the ‘needle’, and it is part of the fish’s bone which is also covered with a layer of very hard scales that make it durable and sharp. The fish’s ‘needle’ is darker than the rest of its body, and is the distinguishing feature of its kind. Its eyes are located just behind the needle, and its mouth is a small little hole under the eyes. The mouth, though tiny, is lined with two rows of sharp black teeth on the top and bottom.

The Spinneedler can be commonly seen as a small grey fish parading in large groups, often nearing the surface
waters of the Ancythrian Sea in search of prey. However, this common sight is of the female Spinneedlers. Females are rather small, and rarely pass the length of a palmspan. They are coloured with a bright grey; nearly silver; though the needle is a much darker grey. Males are not as common a sight. The adult males are usually around the length of two palmspans, although it is possible that even larger ones live deeper within the sea. Males have a sharper point than females, and the needle is longer as well. They are a dull shade of grey, in contrast to the female’s lighter grey, and the needle is quite a dark grey, almost being a shade of black.

Both genders have rather small tails. A female’s tail may only be a couple nailsbreadths in width, and the males’ around four or five, making the tails appear to be ineffective for swimming. The tail is also very soft and thin, and in some Spinneedlers can appear to be almost nonexistent. Both male and females have slender and smooth bodies which appear slightly as arches. The Spinneedler has two sidefins which taper to a point much like the head. These sidefins are oddly placed onto its body, as the left fin is slanted downwards, while the right has an upward slant.
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Special Abilities. The remarkable thing about the Spinneedler is not so much its needle head, but the way it uses the needle to its advantage. The Spinneedler has the innate ability to actually spin while swimming in water. As its small tail is not a sufficient supplement for its needed movement, the Spinneedler uses its sidefins primarily for its direction, but also for swimming. The sidefins, being slanted in opposing directions, enable the fish to easily spin while swimming. The Spinneedler can burst forward with sudden acceleration using its entire muscled body as a propeller. When it does this, it spins rapidly at a high speed, causing it to look like a spinning dart in the water. This allows the Spinneedler to attack prey with much force, and often kill the prey with a single strike of its needle. Also, Spinneedlers can store fat within their sidefins. When there is a lot of fat within their sidefins, the fins appear to be rather large and bulky. The purpose of this is for the Spinneedler to survive for extended periods of time without eating. Their bodies quickly process food and fat can be generated within hours! This enables them to eat quite a bit in a single day, and still have room left to store. When their fins are large and bulky, their spinning is slowed considerably, and so most fish tend to stay near their coral reef homes until the fins thin out a bit more; bulky fins make them easy targets for predators. Return to the top

Territory. The Spinneedler can only be found in the
waters of the Ancythrian Sea. Most of the population is located in the southernmost half of this inland sea, which is most likely due to the presence of the cáeh-fish within the northern half. Being small fish, it is likely that if any Spinneedlers had ever lived in any other body of water, they became underdogs to larger and more aggressive predators, as they seem to shy away from other predatory fish. However, the Ancythrian Sea seems to be kind to them, and they do well, although it is likely that Spinneedlers live in fear of the great Ancythrian shark. It is feasable to believe that the Spinneedler originated in the Ancythrian Sea, and would have no way of populating other bodies of water. Return to the top

Habitat/Behaviour. The Spinneedler is considered to be a pest by fishermen. It would be assumed that these fish are not very harmful because of their small size. Nevertheless, they are a threat even to larger fish. This is because Spinneedlers always travel together in hunting groups. They have the ability to survive for nearly a week without eating, and thus they can be commonly seen on a weekly basis, swimming in large groups near the surface of the water in search for food.

Females greatly outnumber the males, and so their hunting groups are generally much larger. Males travel in smaller groups, because they are faster, stronger, and have sharper needles. However, both use the same simple tactics when hunting. Spinneedlers rarely target very small fish, and instead hunt fish that are much larger than them, often twice their size or even larger! The leader of a hunting group is always the fish with the sharpest needle. If there is a problem choosing between leaders, the fish in question settle the problem by racing! The faster fish is the one chosen as the leader. This simple tradition of the Spinneedler proves that they have a small amount of intelligence.

When the leader of a hunting group has spotted a target, each one of them attacks the target with full force by bursting forward and piercing the target with their needles while spinning so as to maximize the damage. Because of this, targets of the Spinneedlers rarely escape, and the Spinneedlers usually enjoy their single meal each week. In a single day, Spinneedlers eat as much as possible, and store extra fat within their sidefins. Then, they will travel back to their typical coral reef living areas and stay until it is time to eat again. Non-sea creatures have never been targets for Spinneedlers, as the fish seem to be able to know the difference between fish and land-dwellers.

Spinneedlers take a liking to coral reefs. Being small fish, they find that reefs fit well to their size and most likely use the reefs as a hiding area from larger predators such as the Ancythrian shark. When not hunting, Spinneedlers do not stay together, and often roam the waters aimlessly. Males are less commonly seen, as their wanderings most often take them to deeper waters, if they wander at all. Both genders live in the same areas. When seen, they appear to be very playful with each other, which is quite contradictory to their aggressive behaviour during hunting times. They seem to enjoy chasing each other through the waters, which sometimes may lead to the spotting of two Spinneedlers darting about near the surface, although they prefer to stay near their homes. Nevertheless, the sight of two spinning fish never fails to amuse onlookers.
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Diet. The diet of the Spinneedlers includes fish of nearly any size. Because they hunt in groups, Spinneedlers generally attack much larger fish together, although occasionally a smaller fish may be targeted by one or two Spinneedlers.
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Mating. Spinneedlers have a mating season each year. During the mating season, they are not seen as often, as they take to the deeper waters. Not all females find a mate, for there are less males. Spinneedlers are hatched from eggs which each female lays about five hundred-or-so of. However, many do not survive, as Spinneedlers do not protect the eggs. During mating season, females seem to be much less active, while males have a tendency to be very lively and energetic. As males have sharper needles, the females are attracted to this. Knowing this, males swim about in a very lively state, darting about in random directions and spinning wildly. This is all for the purpose of showing off their needles, as the males with sharper and longer needles are the more ‘attractive’. Females then choose their mate, and then the mating proceeds. It is common for many females to go without a mate, but highly uncommon for males.

Males always do the hunting during mating season, and bring food back for the females much like people do! Males must find their own prey rather than hunting in groups so as to carry smaller fish back to the mate in their mouths. Spinneedlers can still be seen from time to time during mating season due to the amount of females that have no mate, and stay at their homes in the reefs.

One additional note is that the Spinneedler seems to have an idea of 'family'. Taking in consideration the hunting in groups, and the males' bringing food to the females during mating season, and their playful nature with each other insinuates that Spinneedlers 'care' about each other in a sense. It has never been observed of a Spinneedler to attack another of its kind; not even the males during mating season. It is a rare sight to see a Spinneedler alone, and at least two of them are almost always seen together. Overall, the Spinneedler is a seemingly family-oriented fish.
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 Date of last edit 16th Burning Heavens 1666 a.S.

Information provided by Zacheius Aquadel View Profile