|Official Name||Flats Glider|
|Common Nicknames||Teacher Fish, Wideskirter|
Large, swift and cunning, the Flats Glider is both a prized and dreaded catch for any fisherman. Often found in freshwater rivers in New Ceardia, the Flats Glider is a large freshwater stingray, notorious for its difficulty to catch. It is named for its ability to glide through the water. These large, typically docile beasts are prized for the unique flavor of their meat, and the amount of said meat on them makes them all the more valuable of a catch. Nowadays, their numbers dwindle, but they breed rapidly enough to endure the constant fight to get them out of the water and onto a plate.
The Flats Glider's presence in New Ceardia's rivers was noticed shortly after the continent's discovery, around 245 AC, but to this day, has remained insignificant to those who aren't fishermen and seafood enthusiasts. Ceardian colonists quickly looked to the fish as a food source, only to find that catching them was far too difficult for them to be relied on. This never stopped the more daring fishermen, who took to hunting them as some sort of a challenge, and a challenge it was. The Flats Glider is remarkably strong, and while unable to cause much harm to someone in the water, it's common for them to capsize small boats and canoes. These hardships made them all the more valuable, and it grew common for fishermen who have caught one to boast of having accomplished such a feat.
By 280 AC, hunting them became a sort of competition, amongst the more skilled fishermen. Recently amongst the upper class, the Flats Glider has become a commonly sought after luxury, gaining swift popularity around 297 AC for their unique taste, and their rarity. Unfortunately for the beasts, this demand for their pricey meat has dwindled their numbers dangerously low, estimated by scholars to only be a few hundred strong, in 204 AC. The future of the Flats Glider remains uncertain, but it's unlikely that they'll be spared from the steadily increasing prices on their heads. But with little to interest people other than the price of its flesh, it's safe to assume that their time on Aloria won't be much longer. But perhaps they will live on as stories and tall-tales, about river monsters that could sink ships with ease, feared by all who dared enter its water-brimmed domain.
A Flats Glider is a very large stingray-like fish, with a flattened body that allows for gliding underwater. Unlike stingrays however, the Flats Glider notably lacks a stinger. Their eyes are located on the topside of their bodies, sticking out from the lump of a head that they have. Coloration between Flats Gliders has very little variation between specimens, with their dorsal sides typically appearing as shades between dark blue and black, with white spots dotting the skin. In contrast, they exclusively have pale, greyish white underbellies. These creatures are monstrous in size and strength, known to drag boats upstream with relative ease. Pulling one out of the water is a dangerous task that requires the manpower of several.
Visually, males and females have little to no differences, but males tend to be larger than females on average, with the largest males measuring in at around seven feet across and weighing in at 1200lbs on average. Females, on the other hand, are usually around six feet across, and weigh somewhere around 1000lbs.
Life Span and Development
Similarly to other stingrays, Flats Gliders give birth to live pups rather than laying eggs, usually in litters of anywhere from two to ten. The newborns, still embryos, are laid in egg sacs (similarly to sharks), and lay dormant and vulnerable until they fully develop. Once developed, they eat their way out of the sacs, and quickly begin bottom-feeding off of whatever they can find. These pups essentially appear to be much smaller versions of adults, with no visual differences other than size. At this stage, they feed rapidly, and grow just as quickly. It only takes around a year for a Glider to fully mature, and they can live up to twenty years in the wild if fortunate enough.
Despite their reputation for being strategic, Flats Gliders are rather simple-minded creatures. Typically docile, these large bottom feeders usually avoid any hostile encounters in general, and are harmless if not provoked. When frightened, however, they go into a sort of rampage, swimming around wildly and using their sheer size and weight as a weapon. They live solitary lives, essentially ignoring anything that isn't food or a threat until mating season begins, in which they mate, and then go about with their lives as if it had never happened.
Territory and Groupings
The Flats Glider is a solitary creature, and is never really seen engaging with others of the same species except for when mating. They lack any rigid territories, instead simply trying to keep as far away from others as to avoid competition when scavenging for food. Instead of a hostile exchange, when two Flats Gliders cross paths, they usually turn around and head in opposite directions. They are exclusively found in rivers, with swamps and lakes being too small or shallow for a stable population of them to thrive.
- Flats Gliders are known for providing rides to schools of small fish, who use its current to conserve energy. This is why fishermen to refer to them as "teacher fish."
- The largest Flats Glider ever caught is said to have been eight feet across, and a solid ton. The captain of the fishing boat that caught it was offered a large sum of gold for it. Once paid, he vanished without another word, ditching his crew and never being seen again. It's likely that he did this so that he could keep all of the profits to himself.
- Flats Glider meat is said to be similar in taste to shark meat, but is generally sweeter tasting and a bit chewier. It's heavy in fat, and is usually eaten in stews. A skilled chef, however, could grill one into a tender steak.