|Official Name||Barnacle Trout|
|Common Nicknames||Scum Scrapers, Scum Nibblers|
Barnacle Trout are common saltwater fish that have lived in Aloria for millenia. They are notable for their diet of crustaceans, principally barnacles, which they eat using their flat teeth. They are also notable for the purple stripe that runs the length of their ocean blue body. They migrate across the world, following ships and feeding on barnacles to stay alive. Though this habit can lead to problems despite seeming like a good thing for ships on the surface.
Barnacle Trout have likely been alive since the dawn of time, though the first confirmed records of them are in the earliest records of the Elven Empire, and later, their slaving ships. Fish which they called “Scum Nibblers” were reported back from the earliest years of their expeditions into the sea. Records from the Sariyd Empire report similar animals and the fish has been present even since then. They fed on barnacles as the Cataclysm consumed the oceans and the ships of the Sariyd Empire, Elven Empire and Hedrylli Empire were tossed about on the waves. They fed on barnacles as the first seafaring vessels of the Regalian Empire made it to other shores and they fed on barnacles as those ships engaged in warfare against the Essa Empire in Hadaria. The animal today however, is not viewed with the same positivity as it was by the Elves and the Sariyd. The Regalian Empire discovered early in the year 200 AC that the Trout, in its eating methods, can also eat away at the wood beneath the barnacle thus creating tiny leaks. This has since pushed the Empire into better barnacle-proofing methods for their ships, though the rest of the world has yet to steal such naval secrets. Regardless of this, the future is looking bright for this populous fish as even the Bone Horror Crisis has seemingly done little to affect their overall numbers across all Oceans of Aloria.
Barnacle Trout are a small species of fish, reaching only one foot long. They have small yellow or green eyes on each side of their head with wide-stretching mouths that carry flat teeth. These teeth are perfect for grinding and wearing down the hard outer shells of their only prey, barnacles, and in a wider category, crustaceans. Shortly behind their mouths are their gills and above this is the first of the three dorsal fins the fish possesses. They go from largest to smallest along the top of the body, starting at the head and ending at their thin, curved up tail that helps them propel themselves through the water. The Barnacle Trout also has a set of short pectoral fins to help them steer. Their scales and fins are light blue, helping them blend into the euphotic zone that is their home. However, they are given away by a distinctive purple stripe that begins at their heads, runs over their gills and goes to the tail at which point it helps form the coloration of the caudal fin’s webbing. Internally, there are notable for the extra bones they possess, helping them resist damage from fishermen, predators and boats. The bones have the added effect of making them a difficult to prepare meal and sale at the docks for any cook or fisherman.
Male and female Barnacle Trout appear physically the same and are massively widespread. They are notably populous in Ithania, however this is simply thought to be an effect of their migration paths.
Life Span and Development
Barnacle Trout eggs are laid upstream in rivers each mating season before being fertilized. These eggs are small and green with a minor touch of purple. Within a day, these eggs are already beginning to hatch into fries and eventually proper fish. At this stage, they are just miniature versions of their parents. Over the next few weeks, the fish will make their way downstream, seeking saltwater as they mature. Barnacle Trout are often hungry when they reach the sea, barely subsisting on river-dwelling crustaceans. After this period, their teeth fully come in and they are able to eat the barnacles that give them their main food source as well as their name. They then repeat that process the next mating season. They can live for up to six years.
Barnacle Trout have a very small mental capacity, and their life mainly consists of eating and mating. Barnacle Trout only trust other Barnacle Trout, which they are able to identify via their purple stripe. They avoid many other types of fish, even if it's not a predator though in the fervor of the mating season they tend to ignore all of the local fish. Aside from this, they constantly eat to sustain their energy as they migrate which most commonly comes from the barnacles on the undersides of ships.
Territory and Groupings
Barnacle Trout live in groups of anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred. They are migratory fish, swirling across the oceans of Aloria at high speeds. During the mating season however, they grow very territorial, the adrenaline of going through both freshwater and swimming upstream making them downright murderous to fish caught in their egg-laying areas. Many fish species have thus learned to avoid the manic rush in and out of their territory by these saltwater-based animals.
- Barnacle Trout were assumed to be good by the Sariyd and Elven Empires because they both foolishly thought that nature was somehow demonstrating their power by having created a fish to clean most of the hulls on their boats for them as a response to their naval greatness.
- Barnacle Trout are only able to survive in freshwater for a limited amount of time, making them a true powerhouse of endurance of the many fish species of Aloria.