Despite their name, Marsh Drakes do not exclusively reside in marshlands. They can be found in most river and stream systems and on the rare occasion in swamps. These are one of the many subspecies of Drake in Almicia but hold the title of smallest of the overall species.
The wing-like appendages are mostly vestigial and have started to evolve into more fin-like appendages to match their aquatic lifestyle.
These small dragons grow to no more than four feet long and stand around two feet tall and weight no more than a mid-sized dog. There are no distinguishable difference between males and females of the species in size or markings. Marsh Drakes have iridescent pearly bellies for camouflage from their prey (small animals and fish) and a brown-red top to camouflage themselves from larger animals from above. They stalk prey by standing on rocks or in water and remaining perfectly still. When an unsuspecting animal crosses their path they lunge their spear-shaped head with incredible speed and grab their prey. Similar to some birds and bird-like animals they have an area in their throats made to hold fish temporarily and transport it later to their offspring.
Marsh Drakes are unusual in that, unlike many of their other Drake cousins, do not mate for life. The breeding season is in late fall where males will begin to fight one another over a female. Females lay a clutch of 20 oval-shaped eggs. Females lay their eggs under rotten trees close to the water's edge and guard them fiercely until them hatch.
In a few Almician cultures the Marsh Drake is thought to be a symbol of fertility and many homes are decorated with bones and preserved parts of the reptiles. Most areas just see them as a pest species that will often steal fish from fishermen. Some cases have been reported where fisherman have 'domesticated' Marsh Drakes and use them as way to catch fish by tying string loosely around their necks so they cannot completely swallow the fish. In return, the small drakes are offered a portion of the overall catch, leading to what is thought to be the beginning of domestication of the species.
I'm going through some old notebooks and sketchbooks and developing ideas into creatures for Almicia. This one was originally a dragon that I had developed for Almicia but it's original sketch was very different than the final product here (it was a regular old winged dragon that was enhanced with robotics in it's wing structure and some fins along it's back). I wasn't even going to put a background in their either but opted for that after finishing the base shading for the drake (it was only a 2 hour total drawing overall anyway, mostly a speedpaint). Guess all my Almicia creature drawings will be with backgrounds from now on /shrug/