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Lyraik

A societarian's best friend

20201225 - Lyraik.jpg
Lyraks by Naelin
  There are no written records of a time in which societarians did not have lyraiks as parts of their households, farms, hunting parties and tribes.   The lyraiks are a fully domesticated simple creature, or uncertain origin, which is now spread far and wide to all corners of the archipelago. Most households in the archipelago have at least one lyraik around, with farmers and cattle ranchers usually having several of them guarding their properties and herds.  

Behaviour

Lyraiks are social creatures, that form packs of around 15 individuals when living without societarian interaction, with a tight-knit hierarchy system.   They are pack hunters that chase prey quite larger than them by taking turns to wear them down as they attack their prey's legs to make escape more difficult. Once their prey is tired, the full pack will jump over them, latching to their bodies using their big, sharp talons.   In captivity, they will consider their societarian family as their pack and form tight bonds with them. Despite being unable to form pacts, they are highly intelligent and can be trained to follow a vast array of commands, making them useful for things ranging from hunting to being obedient household pets, but also herding, guarding properties and defending their owners, fighting and even performing complex jobs like rescuing trapped people or aiding disabled owners.
"This kid is chirping like a deranged lyraik"
— Common rukh saying
They communicate through a variety of high-pitched squeaking sounds and chirps, akin to those produced by squeaking rubber, or by the whipping of long metal cables. They also rely a lot on body language to express emotions, including the position of their tails, the puffing of their feathers and grabbing motions made with their arms.   One particular behaviour that societarians seem to really enjoy is the one they show when asking for food or sometimes petting, where they try to make themselves taller by angling themselves up and sticking their tongues out while staring at their owner, an expression best known as "blep".
 

Physical aspect

Lyraiks are medium-sized, biped therapods covered in feathers except for the face, hands and feet. They have three digits on each foot and hand, with the ones closest to their body sticking up, making the claw on that finger or toe grow longer and sharper, to help them latch to their prey while hunting.   Their feathers are a bit longer and darker on the anterior half of their body, with the posterior half having a light-coloured, short fluff that ends on a fan of flat and wide feathers on the tip of the tail, and then a small tuft of long and thin feathers right at the end of it. Their arms have the feather structure of a wing that, while they are flightless, aids them on jumping.
"Mommy, can we get a puppy this year?"
 
20201226 - Baby Lyraik.png
Newborn Lyraik by Naelin
Classification
Simple Creature
Lifespan
14 years
Average Height
50 cm to the shoulder
Average Weight
9~22kg
Average Length
2 meters
Geographic Distribution
Blepping Lyraik TB.png
Blepping lyraik by Naelin
A lyraik of "seedling" breed bleps to their owner to ask for food.

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Lyraik male colors.png
Some male-morphed lyraik color patterns by Naelin
They have black markings over their eyes and on the tips of their wings, and some breeds may have other markings in different parts of their bodies.   They are born featherless and develop a cover of short fuzz on the first two days of their life, and will be covered by short, light feathers in all of their body until reaching maturity when they will get their darker adult plumage on the front half of their body.  

Races

Lyraiks have been selectively bred for millennia to achieve a lot of desired characteristics. Breeds have been created that are specialized on hunting specific creatures, on herding, or guarding their homes. In recent times, with the development of cities, people began focusing on creating easy to train, docile breeds, while also trying to achieve pretty, showy colours.   While pale-brown variants are more common, new colour patterns became extremely popular, especially variants with more than one base colour. Lyraiks can now be found in almost any colour, including piebald ones, with blue, white and red ones being very popular.  

Reproduction

Lyraiks are oviparous, secuential hermaphrodites that spend most of their life with a neuter sex. The creature possesses both male and female reproductive organs, both inactive and shrunken, until the mating season which occurs once a year at the start of spring, during the month of Sowing. Once the season is approaching, the individuals of fertile age will start morphing: Most of them will turn into females, and a small percentage, usually around 1 in 10, will turn into males. Which lyraiks will turn into males seems to depend on the population density of the area and the overall health of the individual, but it is very common for the same individual to get different sexes across their lives, and it is, in fact, unusual for the same lyraik to become male twice in successive years.
If a lyraik lives completely isolated from others of the same species, it will stay neuter and will not become fertile until it approaches a breeding season being on the proximity of another.  

Neuter morph

Lyraik neuter TB.png
Lyraik, neuter aspect by Naelin
Lyraiks spend most of the time on this shape. Except in the case of selectively-bred breeds, neuter lyraiks have no ornamental feathers and only have feather patterns over their eyes and at the tip of the wings.
Their reproductive organs stay shrunken and inactive inside their body until hormonal changes develop one of their two reproductive aspects.
A lyraik may stay neuter during the breeding season if it is too young, sick, weak from a previous breeding season, or due to hormonal issues. It is usual, and not necessarily a sign of something being wrong, for a lyraik to skip a breeding season if they have been taking care of a litter the previous year.

Female Morph

Lyraik female TB.png
Female morphed Lyraik by Naelin
Most lyraiks will turn into females for the breeding season. Their ovaries and oviducts will develop and they will start generating eggs inside their bodies, as their external appearance changes, getting a thick layer of fluffy, dark-coloured feathers, especially on the lower half of their body, that they will use to incubate their eggs. The upper and front side of their arms will gain a patch of black feathers.
They will lay between three and seven eggs after several matings, which, in large populations, can be fathered by more than one male. The eggs will be incubated for around 45 days when they will start hatching, after which the mother will take care of her babies for about the other two months.

Male Morph

Lyraik male TB.png
Male morphed Lyraik by Naelin
Around one-tenth of the lyraik population will morph into males. Their penis and testicles will develop, and they will gain a layer of long, ornamental feathers at the top of their head, back and tail, which usually have patterns and can have strong, vivid colours, especially in selectively-bred ornamental breeds. They will also gain a long, dark marking on their wings, where the arms end and the long feathers start.
Male-morphed lyraiks will try to mate with as many females as possible over a short period of time, during which they may eat and sleep very little, generating a big strain on their bodies. For this reason, and possibly to reduce inbreeding, it is unusual for an individual to turn male two consecutive years.


Cover image: Lyraik Banner by Naelin

Comments

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27 Dec, 2020 00:21

*pets the lyraik* I NEED 10 OF THEM! THEY SO CUTEEEEEE

Visit Daeliha, Eonilline & Iphars
Love to code, but this one is driving me crazy!
27 Dec, 2020 15:00

WHO'S A GOOD RAPTOR? YOU ARE A GOOD RAPTOR

Master Evanarix
Evan Arix Carbajal
27 Dec, 2020 00:28

When can we commission plushies?

27 Dec, 2020 15:00

Get someone that knows how to do patterns and we can get a business going

27 Dec, 2020 00:36

Awesome art, and interesting creature. I particularly like the section on reproduction

27 Dec, 2020 15:04

Thank you very much hcraven!

27 Dec, 2020 10:45

BLEP


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27 Dec, 2020 15:05

Feed the velocipuppy!

27 Dec, 2020 11:19

<3 <3 <3 What a cleverly thought article and magnificent art. I love how detailed the biology is, in particular how the feather coverage changes in the different morphs, that I find extremely believable. Not to talk about how cute they look :)

27 Dec, 2020 15:10

Thank you so much Kros! There are still some things to be said about the cultural preferences that people have over the morphs, I may expand on this later on!

27 Dec, 2020 11:37

Oh my god. Babies. I love them. I would absolutely love to see a pack of them running in the wild, that would be an amazing sight! Great article Naelin :'0

sending good vibes <3 - Author of Interarcanum and Shakiraverse
27 Dec, 2020 15:11

OMG they would look precious, waving their tails in little 8s at unison as they run. Thank you TC!

Gege16
Gege Escriva
28 Dec, 2020 00:33

Aaaaaaaaaahh I want a bleepy raptor puppy so bad! You nailed the article and the art, it is very complete and the illustrations look so clean!

28 Dec, 2020 01:58

Thank you Gege!! I hope on expanding it even a little more on the future c:

Sage Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
28 Dec, 2020 14:07

Blep! I'll take twenty, please!   I love how well thought out this article is, especially the bit on reproduction. Really fascinating read! <3

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
9 Jan, 2021 18:46

Thank you Emy! This species will condemn me to do hundreds of illustrations of them doing anything lol

Sage Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
9 Jan, 2021 18:48

Yes please.

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
2 Jan, 2021 05:16

Ahhhh I really like this article! What a unique species you've made! You've described their physical, biological and social aspects very concisely which brings a strong image to the reader. Their blep face is very, very cute.

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
9 Jan, 2021 18:48

Thank you very much! I think this could be even expanded in the future considering some of the points that our chief biologist brought up in the comment below yours :3

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
10 Jan, 2021 03:11

Go for it! Best of luck with the writing :)

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
3 Jan, 2021 22:26

So cutee! I really like how well described everything about this species is. I found it really interesting and well-done the neuter form and the changes associated with the breeding season.   I was wondering... are there behavioural differences in between males and females? And if they are, how do the owners deal with those changes?

9 Jan, 2021 18:54

Thank you Silo! Good to see that you liked that specific bit! It took me some time to figure it out hahaha   You raise an interesting point to work on! I shall expand on the life stages and behavioural changes of them once the WE closing ceremony is over :)

5 Jan, 2021 22:14

So... How do I get one? I need one, please!!

9 Jan, 2021 18:55

You need Qurilion's Best Friends Forge from Megacorpolis. Terms and conditions apply.

Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
9 Jan, 2021 17:33

Cute, cute, cute! And I love the detail you've put into section. And the art! Ahhhhh! There's nothing I don't love here.

9 Jan, 2021 18:55

Thank you very much ECC!