This autumn I have been reading "Climbing Mount Improbable". In one chapter author wondered why almost all animals are symmetrical. I begin to wonder if it is possible for absolutely asymmetrical animals to evolve somewhere in space. And I was not thinking about rare exceptions, what live also on Earth, but large group, containing very many species, which is basically asymmetrical since millions years. I decided that it must be small, fast breeding animals similar to Earth arthropods. So here you have two species of asymmetrical bugs (popularly known as askewbugs) from planet Ullr somewhere in Draco constellation.
These alien "arthropods" evolved from primitive lancelet like animals. These small, worm like creatures were small, had primitive rubber like internal skeleton on their belly and swimmed like a snakes. Some of them begin to swim in open waters, strangely upside-down, like Synodontis nigriventris. This group evolved into often large, vertebrate like animals equipped with internal metallic-protein skeleton, and vertebral column in their back. Some of these primitive, upside-down swimmers returned to sea bed, but because they were side flat, they lie on the sea bed on one side, like flounders. After that, they developed strong pine cone like carbohydrate-protein shells, transformed fins into many legs, which helped them walk on the ground, and lost their internal skeleton. They become similar to earth arthropods, except lack of symmetry. Their left side is their anatomical belly, and their anatomical back is right side of back. It makes them very strange creatures. These two species are Miles richthofeni and Informiscorpio multipes.
Genus Miles (knight bugs) contains large (up to 25 cm) arboreal herbivores. Male’s knight bugs first front leg is transformed into heavy weapon, similar depending on species to sword, spear, mace, pickaxe, hook or axe. They look quite fearsome and in fact their punch can be very nasty. They live in groups containing about 5 adult unarmed females, some young specimens and one adult male, what protects them from predators and chase out other males. Red color is frequent in this genus, because plants on this planet are usually red with black leaves. So sober red color makes perfect camouflage. Miles richthofeni lives in forests in equatorial area, only place on the planet, where temperature is usually higher than 0 degree Celsius. This species is one of the largest and most beautiful. Their very smooth shining carapace is quite good visible on tree branches and makes rather warning than camouflage. In fact their 23 cm long, flexer muscle filled machete can be dangerous even to bigger, vertebrate like predators. Of course its name comes from famous German WWI pilot, Manfred von Richthofen (known as Red Baron), who painted his plane in red.
Informiscorpio multipes is smaller, reaching only about 5 centimeters, predatory species. Its similarity to Earth scorpion is very interesting example of convergence, but makes it looks even stranger. It also hunts like a scorpion, using venom to kill smaller asymmetrical arthropods. It's venom is harmless for human, although cause pain. This species is easily cognoscible among other scorpion like species, because it is the only, what walks on ten legs (other species walks on nine). It lives far due south on the ice savannah. Ice savannah of Ullr is always frozen. Plants grow here in ice and don't congeal because like almost all living thing on this planet have methanol diluted in every cell and body fluids. It is important accommodation on planet what is much colder than Earth. Now there is one small, not frozen ocean on this planet subequatorial area, but popularity of this apparition suggests that planet used to be even much colder than now. Probably all the water on planet was entirely frozen in even lower temperature than Earth in Cryogenian.
Most asymmetric "insects" on Ullr are of course not so armed like these two species. Most of them have only tiny grab crayfish-like claw on the end of second antenna and mouthparts. Their mouthparts resembles a little Earth vertebrate jaws, because its main part is big, crayfish-like claw, used to bite, covering three mandibles under it. Most species, like arthropods on earth are also smaller, there is very many species less than one millimeter long. But that two are also not the biggest. Some deep sea species like Monstroastacus abysalis can grow to 4 meters long.
Of course these creatures have neither part nor lot in with Coatlicue life forms and in fact they are even more toxic for each other than every of them for Earth animals. The reason is totally different planets they come from. For example on cold and freezed Ullr are a lot of low coagulation temperature chemical compounds in all living creatures. They are often toxic for humans, but innocuous for life on Ullr. Most creatures are very frost proof, some can behave normally with body temperature -60 degree Celsius, and very many of creatures, especially larger ones are more or less homeothermic. Their metabolism is also much slower than Earth animals and there is very little numbers flying species. Probably also there is no chance for intelligence to evolve here. In fact the smartest creatures are about as intelligent as rat (what is quite good in so bad environment)
Hot, wet and stormy Coatlicue have totally different requirements. Creatures here rather try to upgrade temperature of evaporation in their body fluids and have also very unique method of protecting their genotype from thermal decomposition. Of course their genes are much more heat proof than ours, but it is still not enough for avoiding all mutation. So plant-like creatures have very many cell nucleuses in every cell (few from all of parent whose can be much more than two), and animal-like creatures are genetic chimeras. That’s mean they are made from many cell populations originated from different zygotes (up to one hundred in large cephalothoraxids). That’s mean each Coatlicue “animal” is in fact its own siblings, sometimes even different parts of one creature can have different fathers. So great quantity and variety of genes in each creature is perfect form of protecting the genes from mutations. There is very little chance that different genetics materials will break down in the same place, and so creature can try to repair. If it will be impossible, immune system can easily kill all mutated cells, precluding any cancer development without harming whole creature. This protection, simultaneously with hot temperatures allow all Coatlicue creatures to grow and breed unbelievably fast. For example one of largest Coatlicue plants, tower conemushroom can grow to 200 meters high in five Earth weeks, if it will be lucky enough to survive all hurricanes this time.
I am especially proud of this drawing, because it is my first, I didn’t need to use photoshop to upgrade it. In fact I used it only to merge two pieces of paper on which these creatures were drawn and removing advertisement, what were in the corners of them.
I used pencil HB, crayons and black pen only to draw pupils in eyes. It was drawn in two slips of paper, broken out from notepad.
Fauna of planet Ullr 1: fav.me/d5zt5xy
Fauna of planet Ullr 2: fav.me/d5zt6k7
Fauna of planet Ullr 3: fav.me/dc5gtc8
Fauna of planet Ullr 4: fav.me/dc5gugx
Fauna of planet Ullr 5: fav.me/dc5gv04
Fauna of planet Ullr 6: fav.me/dc5gvqg
Planktonic askewbugs: fav.me/dc6ibai