Text by Andrés Cota
Illustrations by Ana J. Bellido
Andrés Cota and Ana Bellido add another branch to the Cabinet of Curiosities. Previously, they had illustrated living fossils (like the animal that gives name to this magazine) and showed us a bestiary of animals so amazing that they could well have been invented (you can see them here). Now, Andrés and Ana prepare a “Bestiary of the future world. Invented animals that could be real,” with specimens such as the axolotl centipede and the plecosangrio.
The Axolotl Centipede (Ambystoma multipedis) spends its whole life in a larval state, going over swampy floors, searching for food. It has 10 pairs of legs distributed along its long and cylindrical body; it grows to 1.20 m. It feeds off any prey that fits in its mouth, which he finds using an electromagnetic field and then captures it by suction current. It is particularly fond of other larvae, especially those of the Titanic mud Crab. Because most of its time is spent buried in the mud, it has great feather duster-like gills, which are usually bright orange. Apparently, it is hermaphrodite. (Feather duster-like gills, Voluminous fin, Sensory nostrils).
The invention of fauna is a succulent task for the imagination. To create taxonomies, conceive animals. Fantastic zoologies like that of the great Borges’ or The universal animalarium of Professor Revillod. A tempting discipline for he who finds a little more than inspiration in nature. But the possibilities are endless. The realm to discover is excessively large. Therefore, it becomes vital to impose certain constrictions for the act to make some sense. Guidelines for the biological game. In the present case, the idea is not to exaggerate too much, to propose fictitious organisms but that, given the conditions, could be real.
Scenario one: due to force majeure that does not concern the present imaginative exercise, humanity is forced to migrate from Earth.
Scenario two: after the period of severe crisis that our species has caused, life continues its evolutionary course on the planet.
Scenario three: several hundred years later, some scientists return. The bestiary presented below is part of the expedition report of what these explorers find in the future world.
The Hermit Snail (Helix obtusus) is a terrestrial mollusk that lacks the ability to produce its own shell, thus it must obtain one the same way hermit crabs do; its survival depends on this. The members of this species have refined a specific strategy to make up for their lack of armor: they immerse in shallow waters while holding their breath and search for a sea urchin; once they find our the right size, they turn it over using corrosive slime; then, with a sole conical tooth, they open it in half and gulp, thus liberating the pointy exoskeleton. The snail uses this protection until it grows and requires a larger one. It grows to 40 cm long. (Sea urchin skeleton, Retractable conical tooth, Slime secreting organ)
Swarm Calamari (Brachiotenthis apis) are small gregarious cephalopods that live in colonial groups of various hundreds. They are approximately 4cm long including their tentacles. Unlike their ancestors, these calamari have the ability to abandon the liquid medium by expelling water at great speed with their cephalic siphon, piercing through the sea surface and flying together in search of food. Each group has a single reproducing female that lives underwater in a nest or living space; all the rest work to keep her alive, feed her and take care of the hatchlings. They change color to communicate, use a sophisticated language, and are extremely smart. (Cephalic siphon, Poisonous tentacles)
Floranemones (Acthiaborius genre) are a group of terrestrial anemones of various species that live in the canopy of the rainforests, where relative humidity is close to 100%. Just as their marine ancestors, they are sessile animals and have poisonous tentacles, which they use to hunt preys and defend themselves. They live in a symbiotic relationship with the trees on which they prostrate themselves in, they obtain water from them and, in exchange, they protect them. Each Floranemone specie camouflages with the flowers of a specific tree, pretending to be them and like that, fooling and capturing its preys. (Poisonous tentacles, Hatchlings, Pedicel with aquiferous channels)
The Plecosangrio (Plecostomus vanpyrus) is a lunged fish that lives on the shores of lakes. Its pectoral fins have developed to function as wings that allow it to fly short distances; it can remain a few hours out of the water. It feeds on blood, which he obtains from living animals by adhering o them through a powerful oral sucker. Once it is has clung to its prey, it uses its comb-like teeth to make an incision to suck the blood; its saliva contains an anticoagulant that allows the blood to continue flowing. It has sharp back spines that prevent the preys from getting rid of it as it feeds. It grows to 60 cm long and weighs 10 kg. (Oral sucker, Back spines, Wing-like pectoral fins)