Bottonfly

Commercial pestilence

In the East, their coins have wings. And they call them "bottonflies".
Kiana Kwadera, Shamonian tailor, 2719 AoR
B
ottonflies are massive insects that populate all forested and muddwood regions of Islegantuan. They play a central role in many eastern casterway societies because of their many uses in food, dyes, and poisons.

Basic Information

Anatomy

B
ottonflies are known for their rust-colored bodies. They are replete with long spikes covered in a powdery white substance. Like many of Excilior's insects, they have eight legs and four wings. Compared to other flying insects on the planet, their wings look as though they would be too small for flight. But they beat those wings with amazing speed - emanating a low, persistent droning sound as they make their way from branch to branch.

Biological Traits

A
lthough they can be found alone, or traveling in small groups of two-to-four, they are far more likely to form swarms. This tendency is especially pronounced in summer, at the peak of mating season. A bottonfly swarm can be as small as 50-60 specimens, but often consists of well over 500. When swarms are at their apex, many city dwellers make a point to avoid the wilderness altogether. Hunters and farmers frequently hole up in their arbyrs for many days on end. Some of the continent's great beasts time their migratory patterns so as to be far away when the swarms prevail.
 
Sting
Bottonflies deploy an irritating sting. It is not generally thought of as poisonous or life-threatening in any way. However, the powdery white coating on their spikes is caustic. For those who have suffered a great many festering bites, they can become quite ill when new bottonflies land upon them and their caustic powder comes in contact with open wounds. Although it's extremely rare, severe cases have led to death - especially, in small children.
 
Size
The sheer size of the species can invoke panic in many casterways. For those unaccustomed to the experience, being dive-bombed by a swarm of insects, each of which weighs nearly a kilogram, can reduce them to tears. These fears are stoked by the rampant use of bottonflies in casterway folklore and horror stories. Although cognoscenti have absolutely no record of such anomalies, many arbyrkin spin tales of individual bottonflies that are several meters in length and weigh in excess of ten kilograms.

Genetics and Reproduction

M
ating season is at the peak of summer in mid Rielel. A females lays a large clutches of eggs, which she glues to the underside of leaves high in the forest canopies. The eggs are then fertilized by her mate. She typically spends several days guarding the clutch, first to protect them from predators, but also to ensure that only her chosen mate has a chance to fertilize them. Within five days, the mucus coating she has covered them in dries to a crust - a substance hard enough to ensure that no other suitors can access the eggs. However, many scavengers have no problem cracking these "shells" and make a regular habit of raiding bottonfly clutches. The larvae emerge in roughly thirty days, from which point they are immediately on their own to fend for themselves.

Growth Rate & Stages

L
arvae spend nearly a year feeding off the leaves of the plants under which they hatched. Some drop to the forest floor and crawl their way to new plants, but this is rare and when they do, most of them are scooped up by predators on the ground. They are brown and unremarkable, mostly blending in with the branches they colonize. In Hielach, the larva forms a chrysalis, emerging just before the onset of Rielel with their iconic colors of rust/scarlet and powdery white. Once they have taken flight, they will maintain this form for the rest of their lives. An adult bottonfly can live as long as five years.

Ecology and Habitats

We appoint queens and lords over our lands. But it takes a fool not to realize that the true ruler of this continent is the bottonfly.
Severa Garveno, Boucieian high priestess, 2099 AoE
B
ottonflies thrive in the boundaries between forests and muddwoods. Although they can certainly be found in areas that are solely forest or solely muddwood, their numbers are greatest when they can range between either biome. They are never found in the vast grasslands of the Boundless Plain or the rocky hills of the Stoneyards. And while they inhabit all forested regions of Islegantuan, they are far more ubiquitous in those that blanket the eastern portion of the continent, as well as the Wyndwold of Ucarania.

Dietary Needs and Habits

W
hile the adolescent larvae dine exclusively on leaves, the diet of adult bottonflies is far more varied. They are solely responsible for pollinating at least five diferent plant species, but their impressive mandibles also allow them to prey upon unsuspecting worms and other insects. They have even been seen buzzing around the carcasses of large carrion, although their ability to consume such meals is limited by whatever juices they can slurp up.

Additional Information

Domestication

N
o serious attempt has ever been made to domesticate or "farm" the species, like livestock. Many cognoscenti doubt whether it would even be possible, mostly because casterway techniques for corralling a swarm of flying insects are... limited. In controlled laboratory environments, there are certainly documented cases of cognoscenti breeding and experimenting upon bottonflies. But these limited trials are used merely to produce small populations for targeted tests. No one has ever tried to breed them at a scale that would be necessary for commercial processing. Ultimately, the economics of any potential controlled-breeding operations simply don't make sense. Because with the right tools and proper training, anyone can find an abundance of the creatures already in the wild, with no investment needed to feed and nurture them to adulthood.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

T
he bottonfly is the centerpiece of many economies throughout the forested and muddwood regions of Islegantuan. Their plentiful nature and their myriad uses make them central targets of commerce and they have become symbols of many aspects of Elladoran and Inqoan life.
 
Cuisine
The largest use of the species is for food. When cleaned of all their outer, powdery, white spikes (which are poisonous), the abdomen and thorax of the insects are quite filling - and quite nutritious. Some societies are more careful to remove all outer indications of the insects - the eyes, legs, etc. But in other regions, chefs and diners are content to merely pluck off the spikes and the wings before preparing them to eat. They are almost always fried - sometimes with a light batter, but usually in nothing more than simple cooking oils. But they can also be roasted. When sufficiently heated, their bodies take on an almost-meaty quality.
If the gods smile upon me, I'll never return to that land again. They eat bugs for breakfast. They eat bugs for lunch. They believe there's no better garnish for a bug than... another bug.
Moira Stutzmin, Torholmaan saltfoot, 1771 AoE
Stigma
Bottonfly consumption can sometimes become a social barrier when attempting dialog between residents from two, or three, of the major continents. Although bottonflies are eaten more frequently in eastern Islegantuan than western, nearly everyone on the continent considers the insects to be "normal" cuisine and a viable option for any meal. Most inhabitants of Islemanoton are "neutral" as to bottonfly consumption. The flies are not native to Islemanoton and those peoples rarely eat them. But they don't typically see anything "wrong" about doing so. However, many inhabitants of Isleprimoton's nations have starkly different opinions. It's common for the peoples of Isleprimoton to view bottonfly cuisine as "barbaric" or just-plain "disgusting". Even if they are accepting of the fact that millions of Islegantuan people dine on bottonflies, they themselves would never even attempt it. The average inhabitant of Isleprimoton will openly gag if offered a plate of fried bottonflies - and they'll probably take great offense at the person who committed the faux pas.
 
Dye
The distinctive rust coloring of their bodies can be extracted and refined into scarlet dyes. The steps needed to process them for dyes makes them unusable as food. But the scarlet dye of the bottonfly is a sought-after accouterments of high fashion and can be far more profitable for the harvester if they know how to properly process the carcasses. This use constitutes the namesake of the Scarlet Bottonfly Company, a massive quasi-criminal organization whose public face is that of a dye-processing merchant.
 
Poison
For those with more nefarious purposes, the caustic white powder that coats their spikes need not be discarded. In the hands of a skilled chemist, this powder is a key ingredient in several notorious poisons - all with devastating side effects and powerful toxicity. Unsurprisingly, the Scarlet Bottonfly Company is also rumored to be a key supplier of these toxins.

Civilization and Culture

Major Organizations

T
he bottonfly carries a strong association with the Scarlet Bottonfly Company. In most Inqoan regions, the Company has a near-monopoly on the collection, processing, and sale of bottonflies and their associated products. Given the plentiful nature of bottonfly swarms, it's common for minuscule local merchants to ply their trade in bottonfly wares. But anyone heavily involved in the bottonfly trade in large Inqoan urban centers is either a member of the Scarlet Bottonfly Company, or they're about to receive a very uncomfortable visit from the Company. The Company certainly operates outside of Inqoan strongholds, but their monopolizing influence is not nearly so strong in such regions.

Pronunciation BOTT-uhn-fligh
Scientific Name
Simailurus sylvaja
Lifespan
5 years
Average Height
15 centimeters
Average Weight
900 grams
Average Length
30 centimeters

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
4 Nov, 2019 23:06

Really nice styling! And I like your use of large, eye-catching words to show what each section is about!

Admin of the World Anvil Codex & Discord | Director of Ethnis | My Ko-Fi | My Twitter
Sage bytebodger
Adam Nathaniel Davis
4 Nov, 2019 23:56

That's high praise coming from you, sir! I appreciate the kind feedback.

Powered by World Anvil