|Official Name||Southern Longwing|
|Common Nicknames||Daenfly, Enfermo Lagomosca|
|Habitat||Daendroc, Girobalda and Forriesta Natal in the Regalian Archipelago|
The Southern Longwing is well known in Daendroque culture as a symbol of movement but also disease. Supposedly carrying a plague that affected Elven society, this preconception remaining after the Cataclysm while the animal as a symbol of movement came both from its own frantic flitting over the waters and that it took a massive jump to southern lordships in the Regalian Archipelago. It is well known as the largest species of dragonfly, with enormous wings longer than their own bodies.
The Southern Longwing has been native to Daendroc for centuries, being recorded by the Elven Empire as a pest. It was also under the Elven Empire the false belief that the insect was a carrier of disease arose. A major Elven city built at the edges of a swamp was struck with a plague shortly after a sudden population explosion from the Southern Longwing was noted by the populous in 400 BC. Thus, the urban myth spread and resulted in the animal suffering adversely. If they had intelligence, the Fifth Void Invasion and the Cataclysm would have been seen as a blessed by the species as the Elves now had far more pressing concerns. However, despite the reduced power of the Elves, it was now their slaves that took up the myth. Disease and pestilence did not take the form of rats and flies in many rural regions, but instead the large insect of the swamp. In the later first and early second centuries, the Longwing made an interesting population jump. Previously, the species had remained exclusive to Daendroc, but when the first Daendroque migrants moved to the Regalian Archipelago, the insect followed and found a new home in what is now the provinces of Girobalda and Forriesta Natal. In the decades since, there has been little to no change in the animal’s perception and population in both locations that it now lives, despite scholars generally dismissing the insect as a carrier of miasma despite its alien appearance.
The Southern Longwing is the largest dragonfly species known in Aloria. It sits between one and one and a quarter feet long with a wingspan of three to three to four feet in diameter. Its head is small and tall, with a pair of massive compound eyes tinted green. Its mouth is small as are its antennae, reaching less than an inch long out of the front of the face. A small neck connects the head to the rest of the insect body, with a bulbous thorax. The top of the thorax possesses two pairs of paper-thin and stiff rounded wings. At the rear of the thorax, a long, segmented abdomen extends out behind the creature. Ending this thorax is either male or female genitalia in the form of a clasper and epiproct or a cercus. The creature is supported on six legs, three to each side of their body, with two small “toes” helping to dig in should it be needed. Their chitin bodies have colored either green or a light brown depending on their gender.
The Southern Longwing has a noticeable dichotomy between its two genders. Males possess a light brown coloration as well range in the lower half of the insect’s possible sizes. By comparison, females appear in bright green and are often larger than males. Females additionally have a more complex end to their thorax, characterized by a cercus and other minor organs kept in the end while males have only claspers and an epiproct. Their population is equal in both genders.
Life Span and Development
Southern Longwings are born in clutches of up to a hundred small elliptical eggs, each less than a centimeter in diameter and colored white. Dispensed into slow-moving or stationary water by their mother, these eggs sit near the surface of the water for a week before the “naiads” emerge, half-formed Longwings that mature over the next three months underwater. In this stage, they lack wings and their extended abdomens and focus solely on feeding. It will also molt several times, growing and developing with each new emergence. Once this is complete, instincts will push them to the surface where they will remain with their heads out of the water where they adapt to breathing air for up to twelve hours.
They will then crawl their way to the nearest stable or land-located vegetation for a final molting where they will then emerge at their full size and capacity. When the mating season next comes, male Longwings will defend an area of water suitable for dispensing of eggs to entice females to choose them. When this occurs, the genders will lock on to each other, with the male’s claspers going around the female’s neck while the female curves her tail down to the male to allow him to fertilize her. This process can last for up to three hours but once they are decoupled from this position, the female moves to promptly deposit her now fertilized eggs in the water. The female then goes around her day, and the male remains over his patch of territory. The lifespan of the Southern Longwing is up to eight years.
The Southern Longwing is a simple creature with deep seeded behavioral norms and instincts. The insects are carnivorous, eating small fish and other insects, going from the head down after the creature has been grasped by their legs. The dragonfly also supposedly eats dead flesh, but this is a falsehood, the creature even avoiding dead creatures as it prefers living prey. During the daytime, the Longwing flits around in the air seeking prey when it is hungry but more generally guarding its territory against others of its kind. In the evening, it sets itself down on the shoreline of a piece of stable aquatic vegetation though it can and will move should its position become unstable or activity be required of them.
Territory and Groupings
The two genders of the Southern Longwing live very different lives. The males exist within a chosen territory of a few dozen meters, often bordering the water, where they rest in the evening. When mating season comes, this territory is often the territory they use to entice females to them, controlling the largest amount possible to do so. Males compete with each other for more territory constantly, fighting in a flurry of wing beats and scrabbling insect feet, though outside of the mating season such actions are rare. On the opposite end, females spend their lives in constant motion. Often appearing in small clusters of three to five, they move in a random pattern through the swamps and riverway territories of males. During the evening, they often rest together as a group in the territory of a single male. In the mating season, they split up to mate with males (sometimes twice, once with two different partners) before returning to their normal activity.
- Some believe there are even larger and more vicious dragonflies native to Sendras, though these reports are unconfirmed and the Allar themselves have limited records of such minor fauna.
- The plague that struck the swamp-side Elven city was known as the Dragonfly Disease until it vanished during the Cataclysm.
- Southern Longwing naiads are sometimes mistaken as a unique species of aquatic insect in more rural areas of Aloria.