Distal Razorback Species in Manifold Sky | World Anvil

Distal Razorback

Distal razorbacks are apex predators found in the Distal Tesseract.

Basic Information


A Distal razorback has a tadpole-shaped body with thick, semi-transparent flesh through which blue-purple blood and organs (which glow in the Distal sun) can be seen. Overall, the torso and tail together hav a strong resemblance to that of a horseshoe crab, albeit thicker in the vertical direction. It has a quadrupedal, ungulate physique, with four stout legs tipped with articulated, vitreous claws.   The forward surfaces of the creature are coated in silicate plates which flake outwards the rear, hence the name 'razorback'; these plates periodically fracture and are shed to permit the creature to continue growing. The rostrum of the creature tapers aerodynamically towards the front, where the tip of the nose forms a short, sharp spike of fresh glass. A Distal razorback has a wide mouth full of transparent, silicate teeth which are constantly breaking off and regrowing over the course of the creature's life.   The creature has no external eyes, but there are a total of four eyespot clusters visible beneath the transparent head plates both above and below the mouth.

Genetics and Reproduction

Distal razorback gametes are stored in the tail of the creature. Razorbacks may mate at any point during the year and with as many partners as desired. Females store any male gametes recieved during the previous year to fertilize their own gametes. Fertilized gametes remain quiescent until the creature enters hibernation (see below). Towards the end of the hibernation cycle, up to three gametes grow into miniature (roughly 6" long) versions of the adult creature, taking up the tip of the mother's tail in a row. Once this growth process is complete, the offsprings' first head plate's sharp caudal surface slice through the mother's own tail flesh, separating the newly-born razorback from its mother's body. The offspring are ready to hunt and capable of walking within minutes of birth; they flee the mother's hybernation burrow to establish new territory before she awakens at the end of winter. The mother's tail then regrows and a new set of gametes are intruduced into the new extremity to begin the process all over again in the next year.

Growth Rate & Stages

Newborn Distal razorbacks hunt prey within the limits of their size until they are fully grown, a process which can take up to three years. Younger razorbacks are more circumspect than their adult counterparts, preferring not to engage urticators during this period. It is also during this growth phase that razorbacks typically establish the territory which they will occupy for the rest of their lives; adult razorbacks seldom successfully fight one another for territory, as doing so would typically result in crippling injuries or death for full-sized contestants.

Ecology and Habitats

Distal razorbacks are somewhat territorial, with siblings from the same birth (see Genetics & Reproduction) sharing their territory with one another. Small extensions of the territory are created by the siblings of each sex and may overlap with those of adjacent groups so long as the member of the other group is of the opposite sex; this determination is believed to be made by scent and allows for individuals from adjacent territories to find unrelated mates.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Distal razorbacks are rush-down predators, crashing into Distal urticators and clumps of polyps with their pointed nosetips and massive heft in the hopes of killing them before their defenses (irritating spines and parasitizing tentacles, respectively) can come into play. Razorbacks hunt either singly or with their sibling group, exploring hollows with their echolocation to see if any polyps or urticators can be found. Polyps are generally swept into the open mouth during a charge and swallowed whole, while urticators might be chewed on over time or shared with siblings. The creatures are also proficient diggers, using their echolocation to detect hollows beneath the ground where windsievers or, during lean times, tubers and roots might be found.   Distal polyps may be the prey of the razorbacks, but they are also the ultimate predator of the razorbacks. A young razorback is almost impervious to Distal Polyp parasitosis due to its speed, armor, and the rate at which its armor regrows during a molt, but old or sick specimens gradually lose these protections. Eventually, a weak enough Distal razorback dives into a nest of Distal polyps to scoop some up for a quick snack - only to become overwhelmed and infested with the polyps itself. Death then comes slowly, with the weakened razorback often lumbering back to its territory - pathogenic passengers in tow - to die closer to its own burrow. If the razorback dies, the polyp colony might puppet it around for awhile to achieve the same effect. In this way, razorbacks have been known to spread Distal polyps to previously uninfested locations.

Biological Cycle

Distal razorbacks hibernate in the winter as a means of conserving food resources and allowing time for their favored prey - Distal urticators and Distal polyps - to recover in number from the hunting season.

Additional Information

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Distal Razorbacks may be found throughout the Distal Tesseract, though they tend to prefer even terrain close to running water and the habitats of their preferred prey.

Average Intelligence

Distal razorbacks possess a degree of low cunning. Vale Verdial researchers have compared them to bears in terms of their habits and degree of intelligence, though the comparison between those two creatures only goes so far. While Distal razorbacks are a significant hazard to research teams due to their nature as agressive, territorial predators, the creatures are not known to hunt humanoids in the manner of terrestrial predators, instead preferring to rush interlopers in the hopes of a quick snack.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

A Distal razorback can see, but its visual acuity is rather poor. Instead, the creature relies on echolocation. The razorback releases loud infrasound bellows which bounce off of the terrain and potential targets. Tympanic membranes spread throughout the creatures body, including several within the mouth itself behind protective baffling flaps, allow the Distal razorback to pick out targets in complete darkness or even in underground burrows after it unleashes a roar.

Average Height
Average Weight
300 lbs
Average Length
Geographic Distribution

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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