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Dorruuyirv - Fauna
Written By: Kir Talmage (Writer), Kir Talmage (Artwork)
Field journal notes on a northern sea-going mammalian predator
 
 

Dorruuyirv are a sea-going mammalian species (more or less, in a Torn World way) found in polar oceans. They are air-breathing and carnivorous, with long toothy snouts or muzzles, nostrils on the top, and grow to just less than 12 feet long. They have both internal and external ears, the internal membrane sensitive to much lower pitches, and both connecting to the same inner ear structure. They have dappled coats, often with a spinal stripe, with either light ripples on dark or dark ripples on light. This appears to be individual or geographic coloration, not related to gender or age. Their tails are wider and longer than high, and may aid propulsion or (less likely) steering. Forepaws/fore-flippers typically have a large, stubby "ice-toe" that provides grip and support when hauling out of the sea onto ice or rock.

There are nerve clusters in the snout, along the mouth opening, and along both the ventral and dorsal lines. These appear to be sensitive to electrical fields (such as possessed or created by certain fish and invertebrates), and possibly to time fields (shard divisions).

Dorruuyirv hunt singly or in small pods (up to 10) underwater. They--especially young and breeding mothers--also dip their snouts down through holes or at edges of pack ice (which they rest on), in a wait-and-snap strategy. It is possible but not confirmed that darker-coated ones prefer to hunt underwater and lighter-coated ones from the surface. Rarely fishers and sailors will see them skimming the surface, mouth open, lower jaw beneath the water. It's not clear if this is a hunting method or a way of clearing the mouth and teeth. Their prey is any small-to-medium sized sea-going species: fish, invertebrate, avian, mammalian. Typically Dorruuyirv prey is larger than their ice-toe and smaller than the length of their head-plus-snout. They do not feed on the bottom nor on animals on land (even if they'd eat that species while it swam).

They tend to find sailors of little consequence, neither attracted by ships nor afraid of them. However, they respond extremely quickly to being preyed upon (by whalebears, sailors, or sea monsters, and polar bears during birthing season) and adjust territory rapidly. This can lead to both fighting between seasonally territorial pods and helpful maintenance of genetic diversity between previously neighboring pods (after the fighting settles down). They also seem to have prodigious memories and there may be communication of some kind between pods (based on how widespread a movement from predation can be).

The young (cubs or pups, depending on the colloquial term) are moderately precocious, joining parents in the water within days after birth and able to mouth at fish and swallow jellies and other invertebrates within weeks of birth.

Once widespread, post-Upheaval saw the decline of Dorruuyirv, and the establishment of varieties or subspecies, tending to vary in color, hunting practices, territoriality, and snout length. Interbreeding between previously shard-isolated populations still seems possible, though little biological research has been done during the Empire's period of ascendance. Dorruuyirv no longer exist in shards 50 and 51, but are prevalent in 54, 60, and 62 in the Arctic and semi-Artic. Whether they continue to exist in southern polar regions is unknown.

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