Aquarians come in three general morphs; Tall and lanky, middling and toned, or short and squat. Each morph has it's own niche in the ecosystem. While they are a dimorphic species, they are not sexually dimorphic. Both species display the same gender neutral appearance, based mostly upon their morph. Each Aquarian possesses a distinct dorsal fin on their back and fins on the side of their arms and legs. The space between fingers and toes are webbed. They are built to survive primarily in water, but are capable of surviving on land, albeit uncomfortably for a period of time. Out of water, Aquarians bind down their fins, giving them a more human look while protecting their delicate swim ware and in the case of the lithe morph, others from their bladed fins. Rather than hair, each one can posses one of three different traits: tendrils, fins, or spines. Aquarians do not tend to style their head traits, but this is a trend not a rule. Spines and fins are generally easier to decorate than tendrils. Tendrils have a 50/50 chance of possessing stinger traits like a jellyfish with a numbing venom. The individual is immune to their own venom, while partners and children would have to work up a resistance by being repeatedly stung. An aquarian's coloring is based on it's region of the world and tribal traits. Most posses countershading with the tropical types now being rare genetic anomalies that pop up. Of the races of Cresentia, they have suffered the most loss of genetic diversity due to the wider destruction of their habitats. Dominant colors are greens, blues, and grays. Aquarians posses patterning on their skin, though they can be solid colors. Aquarians eye shapes range from the rounded pupils of humans to the odd shapes of mollusks. They possess darker eye colors, dark enough that many humans confuse it for solid black eyes. Their sclera are a dark gray/black shade while irises trend to darker browns, blues, purples, and greens. Lighter colors do exist among the genetic pool, giving them an ephemeral look. Aquarians possess sharp, serrated teeth designed for shredding and tearing actions. They do have several flat molars in the back. Like a shark, they are constantly regrowing their front (sharp) teeth. Morphs: The lithe Aquarians function primarily as hunters and scouts, performing duties that require agility and stealth. They are able to swim faster and quieter than the other morphs. They have longer arms and legs with sail like fins protruding from the back just below the neck, similar to the dorsal fin of a sail fish. Smaller fins protrude from the side of the arms and legs with sharp bladed like ribs between webbing, used as a weapon. Utilizing their bodies and manipulation of water prana, they can swim at speeds in excess of 70 mph (110 kmph). They stand between 6 and 8' tall with weights between 160 and 190 lbs when fully grown, mostly being constructed of muscle. They require more to eat to sustain their weight and peak performance. Of the three morphs, they can cover the most distance underwater, giving them a wider hunting range. The middling Aquarians perform a variety of jobs and duties. They tend to be in roles that require strength or endurance, such as warriors, farmers, and long running hunts or land forays. They have longer torsos and larger muscle capacity than the lithe Aquarians. Their single dorsal fins are shorter with much lower swim speeds. Like their lithe counterparts, they have fins on their arms and legs, though they tend to be longer and fancier, lacking the sharp spines between webbing. They are the most capable of the three morphs to endure on land. The shorter Aquarians tend toward jobs that require more strength. Their bulkier forms are best for concentrated muscle mass among the Aquarians. Despite their bulk, they are nimble, especially in the fingers. They tend to artisanal roles among their society, with few entering the ranks of the tribe's warriors. They posses medium sized fins on their arms and legs with medium split dorsal fins on their back, giving them a slower swim speed than the rest of the morphs. Of the three morphs, they are capable of surviving famine the best due to the excess of fat and muscle.
Genetics and Reproduction
Unlike fish, Aquarians only lay one to two eggs at a time which are then fertilized and tended to rigorously, both parents taking on the task. Spawning grounds are cave systems or sheltered rock shelves with many individual small pools big enough to host the eggs. Water levels are closely monitored and regulated by the parents. Specialized reagents are used to 'feed' the growing fry by releasing it slowly into the waters surrounding the eggs, encouraging healthy growth. The eggs are tended for a little over a year before the fry hatch and are removed from the pools to be taken back to the tribe.
Growth Rate & Stages
Egg: Aquarians start life in a soft, translucent, jelly like egg, much like many species of fish. They grow slowly, taking 12-14 months to fully gestate. Fry: Upon hatching, the fry looks more like a tadpole or fish than an Aquarian. Their bodies are rounded with a long tail surrounded all around by webbing. They spend two to three years in this form, being fed bits of fish and vegetation by the parents. Their morphs are influenced most during this stage by diet and environmental factors, though genetics does play a roll in their morph. Juvenile: Entering the juvenile stage, the Aquarian begins to grow their arms and legs. Their body slowly becomes more humanoid, their morphs being discernable at the age of 7 or 8 years old. Their limbs are fully grown by 10 and tail completely gone by 11. Adult: Patterning and morph are solidified by the age of 13, making them an adult Aquarian to the tribe's standards. Some secondary traits may still be developing, such as their fin length or tendrils. An Aquarian reaches sexual maturity at the age of 16.
Ecology and Habitats
The optimal environment for an Aquarian is underwater. While they are capable of spending time above water, extended periods are uncomfortable for them and may turn deadly if water is not readily available. They prefer deep water near rocky faces and sea caves where optimal conditions for spawning grounds can be shaped. They build full cities on the ocean floor, extending from cliff faces. They will cultivate food sources, such as clams, oysters, and kelps within their territory and defend it jealously.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Aquarians are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders. Their dead are not let to go to waste and will be consumed, bone and hide used for all manner of crafts. Living underwater, they do not need to 'store' their food sources so much as defend the fields from scavengers and thieves. Hunting is carried out by the lithe morphs. Their method depends on their prey. Smaller fish they will catch with pure speed, transporting or catching them in their mouths if necessary. For larger or deadly prey, they may use harpoons, prana, or spears. For extremely large prey, they will hunt in a pack, swimming at high speeds and using their sharp blade fins and momentum to bring it down.
Aquarians live in tribal sects lead by a chieftain for the every day going ons of the tribe, while the priests and priestesses of the tribe take charge of the spiritual aspects, such as birth rites, funeral rites, ceremonies, festivals, and morality. Cheiftains are below the priests in ranking when spiritual law is violated, and above priests when tribal law is violated, the two sects keeping a delicate balance. Occupation and roles within the tribe are determined by caste, birth order, and morph. The common Aquarian's first born son is designated to be the heir, and thus learns the family trade, unless his morph considerably hinders his ability to do so; for example, a Lithe first born son will be relegated to the hunter/gatherer role of a tailor family. Aquarians are permitted as many children as required to fill the roles within their family. Of note, the Cheiftain's firstborn son of any morph is his heir, while his lastborn daughter of any morph is the 'chosen' daughter. Every family contributes at least one child to the priesthood, typically being the 'extra' children who would not have a role within the family due to it being already filled. These children are sterilized once they reach the juvenile stage of development.
Aquarians have an alien appearance compared to humans. they have a flatter nose, less defined on their face with fuller lips. Their eyes are slightly larger than the average human as well.
Aquarian intelligence is on par with other intelligent hominid species.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Aquarians possess lateral lines along their sides, giving them a sensitivity to the electrical current and vibrations of the water they are in.
Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms
Aquarians live symbiotically with several species of shark, mollusks, and kelps. Like other water dwellers, Aquarians are subjected to aquatic mites and blood sucking parasites.
Lithe Morph: 6'5'' (max 8') Average Morph: 5'5'' (max 6'3'') Short Morph: 4'5'' (max 5'3'')
Lithe: 190 lbs Average: 160 lbs Short: 230 lbs
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Aquarians sport a variety of colors. Most commonly, they are shades of dull blues, grays, and greens. They sport a counter shading on their anterior half, often a lighter shade of their primary color or cream. Markings look like freckling, spotting, or stripe patterns. Tropical versions existed at some point, but are rare or non existent at this phase in Cresentian history.