|Official Name||Staryon Starfish|
|Common Nicknames||Reinbôge Stjer, Najima Qus|
|Habitat||Oceans of Aloria|
A common sight among the aquatic wildlife in Essalonia, the Staryon Starfish is truly one of a kind. This little invertebrate comes in a variety of colors which all depend on the temperature of their habitat and the composition of their diet. Although they have a relatively short and uninteresting history in the eyes of most scholars, the Staryon has a special place on the coasts of Essalonian states and the waters surrounding it. The Staryon can also be used to produce vibrant dyes but many of these are only available to merchants of the Songaskian Masaya and insular states, making them rare in other areas of Aloria. Many scholars in the field of aquaculture continue to study the Staryon and its remarkable ability to convert different materials into a natural dye.
The first official mention of the Staryon Starfish dates back in 88 BC when the the Qadir set up a colony loyal to the Sariyd Empire. These settlers came across and examined large enclaves of Staryons near the shore, all of which were a bright red color. This observance only lasted a few months before the starfish moved on.
It was not until 221 AC that scholars started to take note of the starfish again. It began in Dormin, where people started to notice small cloudy patches deep underwater. Eventually, a few specimens were able to be brought to the surface and dissected. This process was repeated for the next few years across Essalonian waterways with other breeds of Staryon. The Ailor, Qadir, and others who lived on these lakes and rivers feared they were invasive to the area and were filling the water with poison. It was not until later that they discovered all of the starfish they had gathered were only filtering through the water and that the dye was a byproduct of their eating habits. After researching further, it was discovered that the dye like substance could be extracted by cutting the limbs of the Staryon. Not only that but just like many other species of starfish, the Staryon can regenerate its limbs and even create new starfish through such means. Nowadays, the starfish is heavily commercialized. Their simple and fast reproduction, along with their almost customizable color has stimulated the mass collecting and distributing of these sea stars.
When likened to the common sea star, there are not too many differences to name. Staryon are quite pudgy looking, their five legs stretching out from their center having, a more rounded shape. The starfish tend to stay below 8 inches (about 20 centimeters) in diameter. The typical Staryon is a white-tan color with colored spongy plates that cover their body. These plates organize themselves differently from Staryon to Staryon but are always set in a way to protect the creature from any impending attacks.
What truly makes this starfish unique is its ability to produce different sorts of pigments depending on where and what they feed on. These colors also infuse within their natural armor which offers a nice contrast to their milky underbodies. They pass this dye through their underarms as a form of excrement. They come in three primary varieties:
- The Southern Staryon inhabits southern seas with plates of red or orange
- The Eastern Staryon is the widest known of the three varieties with a bright yellow color in all seasons but winter when it turns emerald green. They live along the coastlines of eastern Essalonia and other nearby waters.
- The Northern Staryon comes in blue hues along with black when the waters are cooler. They are quite popular in the Kingdom of Arlora as they can be found in the Cea Bay as well as further north in regions like Ostryll and Hedryll.
Staryon Starfish are all agender. This means there is no difference in the species regarding sexual organs, shape, or color based on gender.
Life Span and Development
These starfish reproduce asexually once a year. Typically in summer, one of their limbs breaks off if they have been kept well fed. When the leg is split away, the original body restores its lost arm, and the severed arm starts its life as a new starfish regenerating within a month. This process is often disturbed by natural predators and above-water intruders that seek its pigments. They usually live up to thirty years in the wild if left to thrive. If kept in captivity or over-bred, their age may be shortened dramatically.
As is typical among starfish, the Staryon have no central brain. Instead, they have a ring of nerves around their mouth which then spreads throughout their body. This means that the Staryon is incapable of planning their actions as larger animals can. They act purely on instinct and can never be tamed as a result. That being said, the starfish's general demeanor depends on which waters they inhabit and what season it is.
- Southern Staryons are the most predatory, feeding off of clams and other mollusks. If the sea star is in dire need of a meal, they are capable of taking down small, slower moving fish.
- Eastern Staryons tend to be the middle ground between the other two varieties. They typically feed on large amounts of sea plants and use light movements but nothing as extreme as Southern Staryons.
- Northern Staryons are extremely docile creatures, they feed off mineral deposits, typically silver, in their home areas. They may feed off other metals such as iron, copper, etc. but tend not to branch out unless they are pushed to do so.
Territory and Groupings
Northern and Southern Staryon are not very territorial. They often have low energy lives which make them particularly docile and as such only find it necessary to tussle if they lack enough food to survive and another starfish or creature isn’t letting them by. Qarabashee, on the other hand, are very territorial. They often choose a prime hunting ground and become very agitated if their land is encroached upon by any outsider. Staryon have no way of actually seeing when there is an intruder. Instead, they use tube feet on their underside. These feet act as chemical sensors which detect predators, prey and other starfish. When another Staryon approaches, the defending Staryon slowly marches over, following the chemicals emitted from the outsider. When the two find each other, a sort of wrestling match occurs. The outcome of this fight determines which will keep the territory and which will have to move on. Southern Stayon territories differ in size from starfish to starfish, but they are usually a no larger than a quarter mile in diameter.
- It is interesting to note that even though there are defined breeds of Staryon, all are technically the same species. If you gathered Staryon from the coast of Dormin and fed it fish for a little over three weeks, they would begin to produce the red and orange hues of the Qarabashee Staryon. This is often a difficult and unwelcome change to the starfish and their bodies can only handle that massive amount of physical stress once or twice in its lifetime.
- Frisian Blue Staryon are very prominent around Dormin. They are simply just too far deep for most people to see and or care about.
- Extracting the dye from the starfish is usually done using a very inhumane tactic. It is common to start by cutting off a limb of the Staryon and squeezing out the dye. The main body is then thrown back into the ocean to be collected again later.