| Nightstrainer |
19/127, Cellulosebane Crystal
|Habitat||Rabid Sandstone Caves, Slarti River|
|Size||19 cm Long|
|Diet||Filter-Feeding Planktonivore, Photosynthesis|
|Thermoregulation||Heterotherm (Basking, Muscle-Generated Heat)|
|Reproduction||Sexual, Two Sexes, Live Birth|
|Descendant of||Ancestor of|
Those combstrainers who lived along the northern borders of the Huggs-Yokto Savanna eventually began to split off from the majority of their species, as they no longer had the definite protection of their old symbiotic relationships with the sailbacked bearhog plents, which had since died out. These had been trying times for their species, and in the struggles, several found and moved into the nearby Rabid Sandstone Caves, and many would eventually follow suit and move in as well. Although initially they were just a subgroup of combstrainers, they were forced to adapt differently, thereby becoming a new species, an offshoot to the original strain.
Although safe from most predators here in the caves, they now face having to co-exist with the cave serpentsaur who rest in these same caverns during the day. They have evolved several ways to avoid being potentially eaten by these creatures, as even though the serpentine beasts prefer to hunt outside of the caverns, younger ones may attempt to consume them if they can catch them. They now use their suctioning feet to stick to the cavern walls, and they live in social colonies. Because of the darkness of these caverns, their eyes have become highly adaptable, and provides them with sufficient night vision in the dark while still allowing them to see properly outside of the caverns, as they continue to feed along the nearby Slarti River like their ancestors before them. However, their eyes do not focus as fast as, say, a cat's might, and they will fly in circles near the cave entrance while either coming or going for a few minutes to let their eyes adjust easier. They have also obtained a small crest, which not only acts as a sort of in-flight rudder, but it is now used in mating purposes, as well.
Because of their new homes within these caves, they have stopped all mating and nesting rituals within the Huggs-Yokto Savanna, and now perform their rituals on the banks of the Slarti River. This new ritual consists of the males lining up along the river banks, trying to get the land that best overlooks the local area for predators. Although this is not used for nesting in any way, it demonstrates that the males in these positions are the strongest suitors around. Males battle each other for rights to territory by comparing head crests; the one with the larger crest wins. Once mates have been selected, the males and females will interbreed, and eventually head back to the cave. Nests are now produced by using a saliva-like secretion from their tongues, which they lap onto the cave ceilings and walls, all the while hanging precariously by their suction feet. Because their mouths are so large, they must tilt their head sideways and lower it to the wall to do this. Over the course of a week or two, they can build these nests up for keeping their young once born. The young instinctively don't leave these nests until a certain age, to help prevent fatalities.
Not all nightstrainers, however, need to leave the caves to feed, as a small section of the nearby Slarti River passes through the easternmost portion of the caverns, allowing some of the strainers to feed from its constantly-refreshing waters. Those who know of this portion of the river need not leave the cave to fight for a mate, as the river bank is right there inside the cave.