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Octodactylopods and spiderfishes by Preradkor Octodactylopods and spiderfishes by Preradkor
Creatures on this drawing are future animals: spiderfishes and their land descendants - octodactylopods.
These creatures evolved from cichlid of genus Melanochromis. fav.me/daxtnr3
(Btw. Now I think that blue tilapia - Oreochromis would be much more reliable ancestor but never mind...)
Their pelvic fins (equivalent of our legs) transformed into eight, spider like limbs what are anatomically equivalent of our toes.

ON PAGE BELOW - SPIDERFISHES

Spiderfishes are in fact cichlids with limbs and only other thing that separates them from other cichlids is fact that they spend all their lives on the bottom of water and way they move is combination of crawling and swimming. It can be compared with crayfishes and lobsters, what moves in similar way. And like crayfishes, spiderfishes have no internal gas bladder so they sink in water.
However there are some really big species of spiderfishes like shovelnoses or krushers, most of their species reach only size between 10 to 30 centimeters.

Species what are shown here:

- Yellow one – Armored muddigger.
These fishes swim in shoals in slow moving rivers and lakes, and feed on small invertebrates what they dig out from the mud. Their scales are especially thick, what protect them from some predators. They also have (what is typical to most spiderfishes) sharp spines in fins, what make spiderfishes are hard to swallow. It is important method of spiderfishes defense because they don’t swim as agile as other species of fish.

- Brown one – Stream needleteeth
It is very primitive species of spiderfish and it lives very similar to first spiderfishes. Its limbs are less agile than in other species and works rather like anchor than legs. Needleteeths always swim when they have to move and use their limbs only to hold on stones on the stream bottom instead of wasting energy struggling with flowing water (like modern trouts do). In fact even removed from water they don’t use their limbs and just jumps chaotically like every other fish removed from water. Its limbs still just have no enough nerval system to use them for walking. Needleteeths are predators what hunt on almost every small animals what passes by them in stream. Way they hunt resembles a pike. Grotesquely big head and typical to cichlids extendible jaws allow them to easily suck prey into their maw. Because like all cichlids they have also pharyngeal jaws, they can chew prey and can eat only part of their prey if it is bigger than their stomach volume. That’s mean they can hunt on prey to big to eat whole and still benefit from it.

- Left green one – Marble thornhead
Thornheads are herbivores what swims in shoals and graze on algae in rivers. Sharp spines of base of their dorsal fin pointing almost forward, what make thornheads very hard to swallow.

- Right green one – Eastern reedcrawler
Reedcrawlers behave rather like amphibians than fishes. They have very long limbs and feel better on land than in water. Like their ancestors long ago in antropocen, reedcrawlers like all spiderfishes are still mouthbrooders. They incubate their eggs inside their mouth and because of that, unlike amphibians they need only moisture to live and breed, and can spend all their lives far away from open water. They have no gas bladder so they could not develop real lungs but instead of lungs they transformed their two front pairs of gills into air breathing organ similar to labyrinth in anabantidae fishes. In fact reedcrawlers could be described not only as spiderfishes but also first species of octodactylopods. They are first truly land species of this group and ancestor of all octodactylopods.

ON UPPER PAGE – OCTODACTYLOPODS

Octodactylopods are non tetrapod land vertebrates what would live on earth in the future. Many species of them are hot blooded and in fact evolution of hot blood in octodactylopods lasted much shorter than in mammals. It is because they inherited pharyngeal jaws after their cichlid ancestor and even in amphibian stage they had ability to chew food like mammals. Also their respiratory system evolved from their gills instead of alimentary tract like our lungs so octodactylopods didn’t had to totally reorganize their cardiovascular system to become hot blooded. They only developed small additional heart in their head what helps their primary two chamber, fish like heart in pumping blood from respiratory labyrinth to rest of body (equivalent of our left chamber of heart). Octodactylopods are still mouthbrooders. They have internal fertilization but their eggs after laid are taken by mother into its mouth and then develop in pouch within hers respiratory system. Larvae when they hatch feed on particular mucus produced inside pouch. When they become ready to live in outside world, they are regurgitated. What happens with them after that depends on species. Some are independent since that, some are guarded by their mothers, and some species are even altrical and grow in nests fed by mother. In some species males also help with raising babies, but in most its only female’s job.
Because octodactylopods have eight limbs what are located horizontally, they are much better climbers than tetrapods, but also worse runners. In fact 70% of octodactylopods species are climbers and others are mostly small creatures what live in forest bedding like rodents. Very big earthbound octodactylopods are very rare niche for this animal group because here they loose competition with mammals (but there also evolved some even giraffe sized species, like vertiwalkers).

Two species fighting on this picture are predatory arboreal nightmare (left) trying to hunt herbivorous emerald chiselteeth (right). Chiselteeths jaws with these strange, forward pointing teeth are developed for not only pick tree leaves but also tree bark and in fact they can give very nasty bites, but nightmare would have rather no problems with tearing this creature into pieces. When hunting octodactylopods it is important to remember that they have no neck, so it is harder to kill them quickly than tetrapod. Both creatures are about the size of domesticated cat, but arboreal nightmare is about the size of very big cat.

Octodactylopods head above belongs to (from left):

Lineflanked leafclinger – is very small, 5 cm long arboreal octodactylopod. It spends most of its life sitting motionless high on trees in temperate zone forests. Tree leaves are not only its environment but also its only food source. Its only defensive mechanism beside camouflage is jumping off from the tree, but it is extremis, because it must then climb back on the tree what is long and dangerous journey for such a small creature. When winter comes, “pregnant” females dig themselves in forest litter and hibernate. Specimens what survived winter releases their offspring when trees start to grow new leaves, and shortly after that dies because of old age. Its live is very similar lo live of herbivorous insects like phasmids
(Few words about reproduction of this species: Some larvae in pouch of mother's respiratory system grows faster than the others, what enables female to relase all litter day by day in about three weeks of spring in number up to 50 specimen. High fertility balances high mortality of this species and it is possible only because of irregular larvae growth pace. Otherwise female wouldn't be able to fit 50 youngs ready to relase inside her pouch.)

Humphead ladderback is fox sized alpine omnivore. It feeds mostly on lichens sheared off from rocks by its incisors, but also its elongated fangs enable them to hunt quite large prey when there is a chance. Hump on their heads is filled with fat and is bigger and lighter colored in males. Ladderbacks have two longitudinal and three transverse black stripes on their back what creates ladder like pattern.

Desert sweeper is small, hamster sized desert omnivore, what can run very fast on hot desert sand and eats everything what it can find or hunt. With its long two front pairs of limbs and partially upright body, its silhouette resembles a ghost crab.

Speckled mattockhead is rabbit sized forest digger. It feeds mostly on grubs and roots what it digs out from ground, but eats also a lot of forest fruits and seeds. It behaves like very small version of pig.

Crestoceros is very big earthbound octodactylopod. It grows to size of horse and have bony crest on its head what is used the same way as rhinoceros horn. Males crests are broader and noticeably bluish. What is also unusual to crestoceros, is they are one of rare species of octodactylopods what are not mouthbrooders but fully viviparous.

Dragonhead is one of biggest predatory octodactylopods. It is about size of American bison and its jaws are almost not extensible, but instead of it, very muscular. Together with its enormous fangs it can crush skull of its prey with single bite. Such extraordinary for octodactylopods ecological niche could have evolved only on islands, where mammals (main octodactylopods competitors) don’t live.

Heads on the right belongs of course to arboreal nightmare and emerald chiselteeth

Skeleton of octodactylopod below is a sketch of how skeletons of these strange creatures should look like. But I am not sure if this skeleton is already finished. I think I must first see the tilapia (or other big cichlid) skull to imagine how all these bones exactly look like and could evolve in the future.
For example I earlier draw ear opening on vertiwalker head. But after trying to draw octodactylopod skeleton I realized that in modern fishes (unlike these ancient ones) ear is covered by operculum and so octodactylopod ear should be located within its "nostrils" on their nape.

You can find more species of them here:

Marine octodactylopods
Ringed rockclinger and wooly rockjumpers
Vertiwalker and lion sabretooth
Future mammals (and octodactylopod)
Shovelnose
Add a Comment:
 
:iconsoniccaleritas:
SonicCaleritas Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
This is one of my favorite spec creatures and it inspired me to create my terrestrial sharks 😀
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:iconantfingers:
AntFingers Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm both very happy and somewhat annoyed that I found this. The Speculative Evolution forums holds a competition once a month to fill in a specific category. For next month's competition I planned on entering terrestrial cichlids with legs derived from their fin rays, then I stumbled across this, which is pretty much exactly what I had in mind! Great minds think alike, I suppose.
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Edited Nov 27, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:D

Just curious, rays of which fin of these cichlids did you wanted to transform into legs? As you see octodactylopods legs evolved from pelvic fin rays. Funny thing is, octodactylopods are multi step project. When I was drawing first spiderfish (it was similar to stream needleteeth on this drawing) I didn't planed it to walks on land, but its legs were only used for anchor. But looking on finished drawing of fish with not-walking legs, I thought that this is excelent basal species for another specularive evolutin project, its land descendants. Thats also somehow simillar to how real evolution works. :D

By the way me and :iconsheather888: designed very similar speculative-evolution creatures completelly separately few times (coinvergent speculative evolution?) :D, so I think i know the feeling. But if you like this idea, there is no reason to not drawing it. :D
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:iconantfingers:
AntFingers Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
The original ideas for them had the legs evolve from pelvic fin rays, and the pectoral fins develop into insect-like wings. However, after seeing this, having them evolve from the pelvic fins makes a lot more sense, especially if the ancestor lives in turbulent water. There's also the option to have four of the legs evolve from pelvic fins, and four to evolve from pectoral fins.

Either way, this is a very derived insect-like one. imgur.com/gallery/ExJu4Og
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I decided, they would first need to evolve ways of preventing their body from drying out (and there membrane of fins is a big problem), and then hot blood (very usefull on land), and before all of this any flying ability would be useless for them (competition with flying tetrapods). At hot-blooded, land-animal stage pectoral fins would be completelly atrophied. I think pelvic fins are located in much beter place to evolve into legs in cichlids than pectoral fins. I didnt invented any actively flying octodactylopods, however there are many glider ones (all small arboreal species have ability to jump with legs spread like umbrella, so their body and fur works as a parachute, and some species of them have even membrane between legs and so they really look like umbrella)

Your version looks quite alien. :D
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:iconantfingers:
AntFingers Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I'd imagine my ones lived in a rather hot future, some more derived forms would be warm blooded, but a lot would be cold blooded, perhaps keeping the pectoral fins as a kind of heat dissipation tool.
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:iconthatguythatfixes:
thatguythatfixes Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2016
I am scared!
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Why?
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:iconthatguythatfixes:
thatguythatfixes Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2016
They have legs!
LEEEGS!!!
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, to be honest, most of animals including us have legs.
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:iconthatguythatfixes:
thatguythatfixes Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2016
Oh...
Well I have no reason to freak out then! Nice job.
Reply
:icontaliesaurus:
Taliesaurus Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
SPIDER LEGS!
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:iconhublerdon:
HUBLERDON Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Are the Octodactylpods descendants of Octopus? If so, how do they support themselves?
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No, they are descendants of fish, Melanochromis exactly. Their limbs evolved from the same structure like our toes, so bones inside it are actually big phalanges.
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:iconhublerdon:
HUBLERDON Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Sweet! Spec evolution rocks!
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:iconindigomagpie:
indigomagpie Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015
What are those chin tendrils they all have?
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
These are olfactory barbels. They lost fish nostrils (nostrils of fish are open only from outsife, have no connection with oral cavity), as they have diferent breathing organs than tetrapods (and they have breathing openings on their nape). So they need other organs than nose for smell.
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:iconstrong-1:
strong-1 Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015
I really want to see a full picture of the Dragonhead, as I can't wrap my head around how its body would look.
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, I didn't draw the full but it is vey short and chunky with big skull (that part on the picture is almost half of its body length). It have quite short (well for octodactylopod) , muscular legs and thus its silhouette is somehow simmilar to something between bear and jumping spider.
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:iconkenny123663:
Kenny123663 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2015  Professional Artisan Crafter
I have to admit, the spiderfish kind of remind me of the horror manga "Gyo", but instead of of undead fish with synthetic legs, you have living fish growing organic limbs(pardon me if I'm being impolite here, by the way.) Overall however, those designs are very innovative and interesting.
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have never read it. In fact I was informed about this "Gyo" in comments under this drawing (for some other people it also reminded it) and it was at least 4 years after I created first of these creatures. I based them mostly on red gurnard, but they are much more specialised than it and are descendants of cichlid :D
And I think that living creature is much nicer than undead, even if it is spider-like :D
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:icondinolover1416:
Dinolover1416 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2015
Love the spiderfish!
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:iconhelixdude:
Helixdude Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Just a question, how are they gonna evolve their spiderlike legs, it's needs to come from somewhere.
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
From skeleton of pelvic fins. They are supported by structure similar to our finger or toe skeleton, but made with much more phalanx "bones" (but cartilaginous) than our fingers, much more finger like structures in fin than in hand, and these "fingers" are usually ramified. Saying shortly, very light structure, perfect for supporting stabiliser like structure of floating creature, but not very good for walking. It certianly have potential to evolve to walk on land (well it happened to our ancestors) but it must reduce number of fingers and significantly harden them by increasing gauge and calcification of each of them.
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:iconhelixdude:
Helixdude Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah yes, that actually makes a lot of sense now. Thanks!
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:iconorionide5:
Orionide5 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2014
Wow, amazing how such a logical evolution of an Earth creature can look so alien.
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:iconheytomemeimhome:
Heytomemeimhome Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
What pet store do I have to go to to obtain a cute little desert sweeper?
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
As i wrote in description, you can buy Melanochromis cichlids en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanoch… (but remember they need big aquariums, an can be extremally agressive to other fish) and breed them for 120 million years, then you should get some desert sweepers. :D
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:iconheytomemeimhome:
Heytomemeimhome Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014
And they did this out a knack I just don't understand why they didn't of Overnack Ornette joint must close visual problems yes?
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:iconheytomemeimhome:
Heytomemeimhome Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014
Replace knack with neck , because Siri is dumb...
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Maybe it is my not very good english, but i dont understand both your comments.
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:iconheytomemeimhome:
Heytomemeimhome Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014
Exuse me, I used a voice recognition system to right that first comment.

What I was trying to say was: and they did all of this without a neck and  I wondered if they had visual problems from not being able to turn their heads?
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:D

They have eyes on side of their heads, just like they fish ancestors. So they see almost everything around their heads. But if they would evolve good binocular vision, lack of neck would be a problem. Maybe it is the reason why even predatory species have eyes on the side of head. :D
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:iconheytomemeimhome:
Heytomemeimhome Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2014
Or perhaps the could evolve turreted eyes to solve the problem ? (Also how did they develop "fur" so quickly?)
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Mammal ancestors evolved fur probably about 250 million years ago. At the same time bird ancestors (what were simultaneously dinosaur and pterosaur ancestors) had evolved very primitive feathers what were very simmilar to hair. So fur is not a big problem. Problems with evolving hot blood are organism size (for insects it is probably unsolvable problem, except big hives) and in reptiles and amphibians wrong cardiovascular system anatomy. Octodactylopods are big enough to store heat and have efficient one way cardivascular system. Evolving fur is quite easy.
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
For animals what can't regenerate well, turreted eyes are dangerous. For predatory species better would be eyes on head side, but with nose tapering enough to enable squint, to get some binocular vision. That is the way gecko eyes work. Geckos have very wide field of view, but are able to rotate their eyes to get some binocular vision.
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:iconmatushyzny:
MatusHyzny Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Perfect ideas! Great! I like it!
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:iconnemo-ramjet:
nemo-ramjet Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
These are some of the best spec-zoo critters out there!
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:iconsambestiary:
sambestiary Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012
Awesome.
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:iconsambestiary:
sambestiary Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012
Cool concept.
I love it.
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:iconlmtyl:
LMTYL Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Quite interesting! I like speculative biology, going to have a good look through your stuff once my exams are done :D
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:iconlorenzoman:
lorenzoman Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012
Have you ever read a manga titled "Gyo"? This reminded me highly of it. If you read that story, you'll get what I'm referring to.
Reply
:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No, to be honest I have never read any manga, and in last 15 years I watched only two anime ("Ghost in the shell" and "Elfen lied"). I think there is just to big cultural gap between me and Japan to allow me understand Japan culture... It is a little alien like for me... And I think it works the same vice versa, because I seen Warsaw (capitol of Poland, city I live in) in Japan movie "Avalon", where it performed matrix like virtual reality. And also some references to polish culture sometimes appears in anime in very strange form (what suggests that they also treat us as aliens). So I think gap between Poland an Japan is just impassable. :D

But I know what you are talking about, I seen some images in google, after BabakoSen asked me about it. But it was of course after posting this picture.

These creatures were based on red gurnard and cichlids.
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:iconheytomemeimhome:
Heytomemeimhome Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014
It's not impassible , you give up too easily.
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:iconmaxterandkiwiking:
MaxterandKiwiKing Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I could see something like this happening in Sea Robins,with their spindly "legs".
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Of course they were inspiration for these creatures. But I think cichids are more interesting group of fishes, so my octodactylopods evolved from cichlids. :D
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:icondragonthunders:
Dragonthunders Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Amazing designs. :)
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:iconcybershot:
cybershot Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
WAW! Very nice creatures!
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:icontrompe-lol:
Trompe-LOL Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
Awesome detail! All the best art is made on lined paper.
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:iconpreradkor:
Preradkor Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It was little upgraded in photoshop. Lines were removed from area of drawings and two heads on the left (lineflanked leafclinger and humphead ladderback) were entirely drawn in computer. They are not on the paper.
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