cephalopod mollusc

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Greater blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) by Elias Levy

anonymous asked:

Ok, so, if you had to pick animals that represented each dai companion, which ones do you think would be best? I saw that mod Sarah had a zoology interest and was a bit intrigued.

OH BOY QUESTIONS ABOUT ANIMALS??? AND DRAGON AGE??? SIGN ME UP!!! ASKING ME THIS WAS A MISTAKE ANON YOU HAVE OPENED THE INFO DUMP GATES I AM A BIOLOGY MAJOR SPECIALIZING IN ORGANISMAL AND EVOLUTION BIOLOGY

Cassandra: Perhaps a cat (any member of the family Felidae, though specifically for Cassandra, Felis catus, AKA the domestic house cat). Cats come in many personalities, just like humans and many other living creatures (not limited to vertebrates, consider cephalopoda). People, however, often associate them with being graceful and powerful hunters, but with also being somewhat standoffish– which is not a trait that is granted to all cats, as any cat owner would know. Most cats are loving and intelligent, too, which makes me think cats (mostly domestic cats, but if any of you are thinking of a black panther, which is just a melanistic member of any of the Panthera species) then go for it.

Iron Bull: A tough one. The bull (defined as any uncastrated males of the species Bos taurus), is the obvious choice– but with now much Bull likes dragons (while unfortunately not a real creature, because they can’t have a spare set of limbs to make wings-reptiles are part of the supergroup tetrapoda, have only four limbs; to have wings, the front limbs must be wings or or they don’t have any at all. In that regard, Skyrim dragons are the more anatomically correct dragons if they were to exist but WHATEVER this is a fantasy universe) a drake is also a very possible choice for Bull.

Blackwall: A bear would be the obvious choice, perhaps Ursus americanus, the American black bear, which is the most wide-spread of bear species and often the ones that wander into human settlements looking for food.

Sera: While many of you think of the a honey bee, any bee that is a species under the genus Apis, I don’t believe this suits Sera. Perhaps a raven, or another member of the genus Corvus. The reason for this is that members of the genus Corvus (which contains such species as ravens, crows, rooks, and jackdaws) are highly intelligent– and known to be ballsy as fuck. They can be taught human speech, and are known to even play tricks on each other for shits and giggles. They are the pranksters of the bird world, and I feel this would fit Sera excellently. 

Cole: A mimic octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus. Bear with me on this; while all members of the order Octopoda, which are cephalopods, a subgroup of molluscs, are highly intelligent and capable of fantastic camouflage through the use of iridophores and chromatophores (to put it simply, they’re specialized dermal cells that contain pigment to rapidly change color), a mimic octopus is perhaps the best of all at camouflage. A mimic octopus is capable of changing its skin texture and shape to copy other species to blend in– sometimes called ninjas of the sea. Watch this TED Talk for further information: https://www.ted.com/talks/david_gallo_shows_underwater_astonishments 

ANYWAYS, GETTING OVER HOW RAD I THINK CEPHALOPODS ARE, Cole was a spirit who took the form of the mage Cole, in the White Spire. We have no idea what he looked like before then– as Dorian describes most spirits, they look “bizarre (and) monstrous” in their true forms. If a spirit is capable of such mimicry and such intelligence, I can think of no better animal to represent Cole than a mimic octopus.

Varric: A parrot. Parrots are highly intelligent and known for their speech capabilities, along with being v. pretty. There are MANY different members of the order Psittaciformes, which encompass all parrots. It is a very large clade composed of 393 species to date, but I I think Varric could best be represented by an African Gray Parrot, specifically the Congo African grey parrot, an Old World parrot of the species Psittacus erithacus. These birds are SUPER COOL because they’re among the best at mimicking human speech; one in particular in Japan was returned to his family after repeating the address of his home. They’re also known for hearing things in their surroundings and then repeatedly saying it, much to the ire of the humans they live with.

Dorian: This one is easy; a peacock, which comes in three species, though all are members of the family  Phasianidae, which is shared by pheasants, partridges, junglefowl, chickens, Old World quail, and peafowl. These are popular gamebirds, often poor at flying but PRETTY AS FUCK. For Dorian, I think I’ll go with the Indian peafowl, Pavo cristatus– notice the familiar ‘Pav’ in the name, anyone?

Solas: An ostrich A gray wolf, Canis lupus. No further explanation needed.

Vivienne: An orca, Orcinus orca. Orcas are among the most intelligent animals on Earth, known for being beautiful as well as the apex predators of the sea (being cosmopolitan species, like humans, they are found in a variety of environments, across multiple habitats. 

Josephine: A dove, any member of the family Columbidae, which encompasses 310 species. (Fun fact! Members of Columbidae are the only birds that don’t have to lift their necks up to swallow water. All birds except for them have to pull it into the mouths and pull their necks up to swallow). Doves are seen as an international symbol for peace and love, suitable for an ambassador. For her, I think I’ll go with the diamond dove, Geopelia cuneata.

Leliana: Like Sera, I think she would also fit as a raven, but for the sake of being a nerd and introducing another sort of animal, the next runner-up is the ferret, Mustela putorius furo. Ferrets were domesticated for their ability to ferret– that is, to hunt and catch prey, specifically rodents, which often reside in narrow holes and tunnels that humans can’t reach. Being an excellent spy, well, I feel this should explain itself.

Cullen: An African lion, Panthera leo. If anyone has seen his helmet, it should be sufficient explanation, but they are also famed by their beautiful, voluminous manes– just like Cullen!

The moral of this story is: don’t ask me about animals unless you are prepared for the info-dump, because I love the kingdom Animalia so much (I got OVER 100% in a college-level Zoology course, I could regale you for HOURS on Animalia, ranging from Porifera (sea sponges), the basal clade and taxa of Animalia, all the way to Mammalia. I meant to do chores an hour ago but got carried away. Thank you, and enjoy my fangirling.

–Mod Sarah

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Bobtail squid (Euprymna berryi) by Rickard Zerpe

I think Octopuses are such beautiful creatures! I feel kind of sorry for them though, I mean, imagine (if you’re a guy) you have sex for the first time and get her pregnant, a few weeks/months later and BAM, you’re dead. You can’t stick around and help protect the mother from predators or hunt food for her while she watches over the hundreds of thousands of eggs she has just laid (sometimes eating away at her own body just to survive long enough!), watch your little prodigies come into the world or even care for them after the mother dies almost instantly after they hatch. It’d suck, right?

In the words of Horrid Henry: It’s not fair!

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Handle with care : Cuttlefish eggs yet to be born by Ludovic 

From the photographer: Backlighted cuttlefish eggs Bali Tulamben - August 2016

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It’s the Telescope Octopus (Amphitretus pelagicus)!This deep sea oddity gets its name from its bizarre eyes… They’re on stalks! Moveable stalks!

The Telescope Octopus drifts around on its back, staring up at the twilight gloom to spot the hazy shadow of prey.

They reach about 20 cm long but are almost completely invisible. Their transparent flesh ensures they themselves don’t leave a tell tale shadow to betray their presence to predators lurking in even deeper waters.

This one octopus that refuses to be hoisted by their own petard!