|Official Name||Squiggs Octovin|
|Common Nicknames||Octovin, Octopus, Squiggs, Sea-Gardeners|
|Habitat||Shallow seas around Corontium and eastern Daen.|
Although it is one Aloria’s better known mollusks, the Squiggs Octovin is still widely regarded as one of the quirkiest creatures to live in the sea. It is odd-looking, decorates patches of the sea floor with underwater debris, and sprays clouds of ink at anything that is unfortunate enough to frighten the creature. It is found throughout the shallow seas of Corontium and along the Eastern shores of Daen, but nowhere else in the world. The Octovin is considered a meal by some, and a source of luxury ink by others. But, like all of Aloria’s mollusks, not a whole lot is known about the Octovin.
The Squiggs Octovin was first discovered by the Elves of the Elven Empire before the Fifth Void Invasion and the Cataclysm. The Elves seemed to take little interest in the Octovin, as it is only referenced in a few scientific texts. After their subtle mention, the Octovin was not re-recorded until around 35 AC, when it was discovered that Octovin ink could be substituted in place of simpler ink, and was fade-proof. Octovin ink quickly became a luxury product, as obtaining a useful amount of this ink proved to be difficult. Along with this ink, some consider the creature a delicacy, namely the Etosians. Boiled tentacles and Squigg eyes are almost a staple meal in the maritime settlements of Etosil. Despite being fished for their ink and flesh, the Octovin population remains stable to this day.
Octovin are odd in appearance, almost looking to be mutated. Though not void mutated, all Squiggs share a set of defining traits and features. Firstly, all Octovin are only found in the ocean. The creatures lack bones and have a body that is soft to the touch, save for a beak that resembles a parrot’s, which acts as their mouth. This beak sits in the center of eight spanning arms, each of which are lined with rows of suction grabbers. A bulbous head sits above these arms, inlaid with a set of bulging eyes. An Octovin’s size can range between 3 to 25 feet in length as an adult, but it is rare to see an Octovin much larger than a man.
It was once thought that the Octovin came in an almost endless variety of appearances, but this was later found to be false. The source of confusion came from the Octovin's impressive camouflage capabilities; an Octovin can change the color and texture of their skin within a few moments, and render themselves nearly invisible. In reality, Octovin come only in a limited number of pastel base colors, with smooth and squishy skin. Additionally, the Squiggs Octovin can produce ink in a small burst when frightened or confronted by a perceived predator. The ink is highly prized, being used for many important documents due to its longevity.
There is very little, if any, gender dimorphism in the Squiggs Octovin’s population. The discovery that there were indeed two sexes of the Octovin is quite recent. It was previously unknown how the Octovin reproduced, as Octovin mating rituals and eggs are rarely observed and recorded.
Life Span and Development
The Octovin can live for up to 25 years, and never stops growing. They hatch from eggs, which are laid in bundles of up to one hundred, and take only an approximate two months to hatch. The mother Octovin stays with the eggs the whole time, though once hatched, the babies typically leave the mother’s den, as staying around will likely result in being eaten by their mother. From there, the Octovin grows incredibly fast. By the time of the next mating season, the Octovin is sexually mature and can mate. As a part of their mating ritual, Octovin males claim and decorate territories known as "gardens" in order to impress females. Despite being sexually mature, newborn and younger males are usually unable to mate within their first few years due to their gardens being undeveloped and unimpressive.
After their first two years, an Octovin’s growth slows down. By this point, they have the body size of an Ailor’s hand, with tentacles extending about a foot behind them. They do continue to grow throughout their lives, and their level of growth is usually dependant on the individual. An Octovin may have to switch gardening spots multiple times throughout their lives as they outgrow their previous home. Despite being able to live up to twenty-five, many Squiggs do not survive past their seventh year because they are often prey to sharks, seals, and Ailor alike.
The Octovin is described as a timid and even coy creature, one that would rather jet away or camouflage itself from a predator than confronting anything directly. This timidness is likely due to the Octovin having numerous predators, and being an ambush hunter by nature, Octovins spend most their life camouflaged into the background, and the species’ general temperament reflects this. When confronted, the Octovin will usually eject a cloud of thick ink into the water before quickly fleeing. The only exception to this behavior is when the Octovin is defending its garden. In the case of defense, the Octovin will grow aggressive towards any entering their territory and will fight, utilizing their strong arms and sharp beak, until they perish or the intruder leaves.
Territory and Groupings
Surprisingly, the Octovin is a rather territorial creature, despite being described as timid and shy. While the Octovin will get aggressive when anything else enters their territory, this territory is usually small, more often than not confined to small caves or nice patches of the sea floor. The size of an Octovin’s territory is proportional to their size; the bigger the creature, the greater the claimed area. These areas are often decorated by the Octovin, which makes use of nearby flora and debris. For this reason, an Octovin’s territory is referred to as a “garden.”
The Squiggs Octovin tends to stay isolated and usually avoids conflict with others of their species. This isolation ends once a year, however, during Aloria’s summer months, when the Octovin come together to mate. Female Octovin will patrol nearby areas, looking for male gardens. More often than not, females will choose males with the best gardens, rather than choosing based on the male's size or strength. Once the mating season is over, females return to their own gardens to lay their eggs, and the species resumes isolation until the next mating season.
- There are stories and rumors of an Octopus named “The Kraig” growing so large that it claimed a whole sunken ship as its garden, and guards over chests full of gold and rubies.
- Some papers and studies over the Octovin have gone as far to link the creature’s incredible camouflage capabilities to Maiar, and how their body will change and adapt to their environment. Some have even gone farther to suggest that the Octovin should be classed as a subspecies of Maiar. This view is not very widely accepted, due simply to how silly it seems.