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Littoralopes
The littoralope is a docile, gregarious, omnivorous quadrupedalien, from the littoral zone around the Amoebic Sea on Darwin IV.

These short-legged quadrupedaliens move in small herds. They are placid, slow-moving beasts, smooth-skinned and white. They produce soft, mewing pings.

Herds can consist of about 20 individuals. In the gloom, their entire bodies glow with a greenish lambency, a characteristic not really seen elsewhere on Darwin IV.

Littoralopes will quietly wait out rain whenever they can find shelter (either a rocky overhang or a very large cephalon of a long dead larger animal), and take little or no notice of smaller life forms around them in the shelter. The creatures ping and nod their arrow-shaped heads; their exchanges seem almost conversational. Beyond this impression, though, there is no evidence of intelligence among them.

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Under an agreement, most of Barlowe's detailed taxonomic studies of Darwin IV's fauna went directly to Yma scientists for the construction of holographic models for museums. He managed to save this schematic of the littoralope, which was one of his favorites.

Once a rain shower tapers off, the sheltered small herds get to their feet and wander out toward the open beach. It soon becomes obvious that they are headed for the "sea."

As littoralopes approach the "sea," its edge shrinks back a meter or so in a parody of sentient apprehension. A herd gathers itself in a line along the edge and begins, with broad, side-to-side swipes of their heads, to shave off long strips of clear matrix, which are quickly sucked lengthwise into the creatures' bellies.

After about an hour, the satiated littoralopes march off down the beach, their bellies distended. An area of newly-exposed beach some 40 meters by two gives evidence to the quantity of matrix consumed by a herd. From this, the "sea's" edge looks torn and raw, with partially shaved strips of matrix scattered about the beach. After about an hour, the once-ragged edge is completely healed by new matrix.


Trivia

  • In the television special adaptation, the littoralopes are changed to being fast runners and are given the symmetry of the symet.

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