Crescent Sickle Shark
|Crescent Sickle Shark|
|Official Name||Crescent Sickle Shark|
|Common Nicknames||Reaper Shark, Jumping Shark|
|Habitat||Waters around Farah’deen and southern Essalonia|
The Crescent Sickle Shark is a medium-sized species of shark native to the coastlines of the sandy, arid lands of southern Essalonia and Farah’deen. There they built up symbolism among the Qadir but the current Songaskians who dominate the region hunt them far more than the Qadir ever did. Still, the animal remains populous and spreads across the waters of two continents. It is well known for its unique fin shape as well as for its method of feeding by surging straight up, which often causes them to breach the surface of the waves.
Crescent Sickle Sharks have been known to Aloria for years, though exactly when is unknown. The reason for this is their close connection to Farah’deen and the Sariyd Empire, a nation whose origins are equally shrouded in mystery. However, it can be said that the Qadir have been aware of the species for at least 1000 years. Their great Pearl Cities abutted the traditional territory of the Sickle Shark, and the creatures leap into the air were noted and grew to be a feature of Qadir polytheism. It was associated with athletic gods and more conventional deities of the water, but it was never caught in large numbers except for religious purposes. However, after the fall of the Sariyd Empire and the birth of the Songaskian Masaya the animal was far more actively targeted. They were cleared from the Pearl Harbors and the areas around the urban centers, pursued for having a broad range of uses in Songaskian life, especially in those of the elites (from skincare to meals). Despite this interest, the animal remains healthy in population as the Farah’deen coastline is vast and their recent discovery of also existing along the coastline of southern Essalonia confirms that they will likely survive for a long time still.
Sickle Sharks are a medium-sized species of shark, being six to nine feet long and up to 200 pounds in weight. Their heads have a flat pointed nose, small round pale-blue eyes, and a wide mouth located on the underside of the head. Their bodies are sleek and built for short bursts of intense energy, and also possess their most defining trait: their sickled fins. Each and every one of their fins has an extreme curve and point to it, being named after the agricultural tool of the same name. These include a forward set of large, curved pectoral fins set behind five-slit gills, a primary dorsal fin, a pair of pelvic fins, an anal fin, and a secondary dorsal fin, all in the expectant areas. The only place where this is not the case is in the Crescent Sickle Shark’s tail, which has a heterocercal shape with a particularly long upper section. The animal’s skin is a gentle gradient from solid grey at the very top to pale grey or white on their underside. When it is white, there is a noticeable underbelly effect as the shift from light grey to white is not smooth. Additionally, their fins are tipped in black, metaphorically said to be “the dark blood of the fish they’ve killed.”
Crescent Sickle Sharks have a slightly larger female population who are also on average slightly smaller than males. Males do not often live year-round along the coastlines of Farah’deen and southern Essalonia, but instead, enter those regions during the summer for the mating season.
Life Span and Development
Crescent Sickle Sharks are born much like other sharks, emerging from their mother in a live birth after having developed into maturity within her. Thanks to a long history with the Qadir, there is far more information on this species than others. Most Sickle Sharks are born in litters of five to twenty and are released in shallow waters. The animal rapidly matures for a species of sharks, males reaching adulthood after four to five years while females take a bit longer at seven to eight years. From here though, the animal generally waits until they are older than ten to reproduce. Females give birth once every two years, with a gestation period of anywhere from eleven to fifteen months. The Crescent Sickle Shark can live for up to twenty years in the wild.
Crescent Sickle Sharks have several unique traits, the first being the cause of their name. While their fins are part of the reason, the complete reason is the animal’s swift and notable method of hunting. When pursuing the schools of small fish that are their main source of food, the shark will attack from below, surging up vertically in a lunge. This results in them breaching the surface and often doing a spin or a flip before re-entering the water. This action is unique in the animal kingdom of Aloria, and has drawn much attention. Beyond this the Crescent Sickle Shark appears to be like most other species, unwilling to engage with the Races of Aloria and keeping to their regular patterns of life. This has only increased in the wake of their culling from the river mouths and pearl ports of Farah’deen, the species actually swimming away from Humans when they enter the water near it, avoiding contact with them altogether.
Territory and Groupings
Crescent Sickle Sharks live in loose schools of twenty to thirty females and ten to twenty males. Females often ply the coastlines and shallower waters while males exist further out, usually only coming into female regions during the mating season of summer. Newly birthed Sickle Sharks disperse after being born, but as they mature usually form schools on their own or attach themselves to existing schools. These loose communities are easily broken apart, but reform just as easily.
- For a brief time, Qadir considered attaching Soul Essence collection devices onto the Crescent Sickle Shark. It was ultimately deemed too experimental thanks to the constant saltwater likely damaging the devices, and the size of such machines.
- Songaskians prize the liver oil of the Crescent Sickle Shark due to its supposed uses in various different alchemy creations that keep the wearer looking young, reducing wrinkles and damage from the sun.