Mystery Island Exploration – Aquatic Fauna
One more time I, Lillooh the white Xweetok, am going to explore Mystery Island’s wildlife! This time, I will explore the fauna found in lakes and in the sea around Mystery Island! Walking in the path of my mentor, Lilian Fairweather, I invite you to join me by reading my reportage on the field, one day at a time.
Please note: This article is following the Mystery Island Exploration – Jungle Fauna article. I suggest you begin by reading the other article before continuing with this one.
Day 1, Month of Relaxing 16th
Hello again, faithful readers! Today, we are going to dive into the unexplored depths of the lakes and seas around Mystery Island! I borrowed the Glass Bottomed Boat from Kiko Lake to be able to see everything that will be underwater. I also bought a Maraquan exploration suit in case seeing only from the surface isn’t enough. I’m now in Tikitown and ready to leave. I take my explorer backpack and get aboard the boat. For this trip, I brought a full supply of waterproof paper (I must be ready to anything). I take the oars and row to the sea, looking one last time at the deserted harbour.
While I’m rowing away from the coast, I notice a little bay at the west of Tikitown. I decide to begin my expedition by that bay. Looking in my Maps of Neopia book, I see that it is called the Gadgadsbogen Bay. On the beach of the bay are a large number of trees, their branches so overloaded with fruits that they are dangerously bending over the water. Under the trees are a group of Flippies carelessly dwelling in the sun and eating the fruits that fall on the ground. As soon as they see me, they swiftly dive into the water and swim away. Flippies are slow-walking Petpets, but they are faster than most Neopets at swimming. They mostly eat fruits and weed but can also catch small swimming Petpets like Pepitos. In spring, the females swim out of the water to lay their eggs on the beach. They dig a hole in the sand and lay them inside. However, a lot of predators like Lutras and Quetzals often unearth and eat them. Flippies carapaces are also used as bowls (or even shields, for the bigger ones) and their flesh makes a delicious soup for the natives of the island. For those reasons, Flippies are now protected by the LEPON (Law of Endangered Petpets of Neopia). Thanks to this law, Flippies cannot be hunted, killed or annoyed anymore by the natives.
A little river pours itself in the bay. I moor the boat to an astranna tree and follow the river by foot. It leads me to a small lake inside the forest. A group of Hippalops are silently eating spongy algae. The Hippalops are herbivorous and gregarious Petpets. They live in small groups of ten to twenty-five individuals, usually formed by two or three different families. They may look awkward and inoffensive, but they will protect their offspring fiercely if necessary. When attacked, the older and bigger Hippalops encircle the younger ones and face the danger by growling and showing their big teeth. It usually scares about any predator. However, when it is well trained, a Hippalop can be used to seek underwater treasure as it can smell gold and is naturally attracted by it. Hippalops sometimes give found pieces of gold to their relatives.
I set my camp on the beach and fall asleep as soon as my head touches my pillow.
Day 2, Month of Relaxing 17th
I decide to leave the bay. I leave the lake at dawn and go back to the bay. It’s already noon when I finally get there. I get inside the boat and row towards the open ocean. Suddenly, the boat hits something even though there is nothing in front of me. I look through the glass that is covering the bottom of the boat. There an underwater mountain that reaches just under the surface of the water. Oh wait! It seems this mountain is alive! I decide to put my Maraquan exploration suit on and dive into the water to take a closer look. I approach the dark silhouette and look at it more attentively.
It’s made of millions of Jawshells! It actually looks like a reef. A reef is a submerged ridge that carries a great biodiversity. The reef itself is alive, because it is made of colonies of coral-like Petpets called Jawshells. When a Jawshell dies, it leaves its skeleton there and other Jawshells can grow over it. This cycle continues on and on, until the reef is formed, making a ridge of skeletons. This cluster of skeletons creates cavities and holes that are inhabited by other Petpets. Jawshells eat kelp and seaweed particles in suspension in the water. However, Jawshells are dependent of Kelpflakes. The Kelpflake is a Petpet that can make photosynthesis, a way to create energy with the sunlight. With the energy created, that Petpet can feed the Jawshell it lives with. In return, the Jawshell shares the vitamins and minerals it gets from its food with the Kelpflake. The Kelpflake also benefits from the safe environment, as it is protected by the hard skeleton of the Jawshell. That kind of relationship is called symbiosis. It means that two different species of Petpets must live together and help each other in order to survive, which is the case of the Kelpflake and the Jawshell.
As I look closer at the life dwelling in the reef, I can see some other interesting species of Petpets. There are Primellas strolling around me, not scared at all. Primellas are some of the prettiest Petpets that live in reefs. A legend says that they are so beautiful that nothing can kill them. A hungry Jetsam passing by a nest of Primellas wouldn’t have the courage to hurt so delicates beauties and would search something else to satisfy its hunger. But just like the Scriblet legend... it is hard to believe.
I continue to explore the reef all day and finally fall asleep in the boat.
Day 3, Month of Relaxing 18th
I wake up because of cold water spilled on me. I look around but see nothing. I hear a big “splash” behind me. A cheerful Lutra is playing around the boat and making fun of me! Lutras are perky Petpets that enjoy playing and exploring. They only eat Jawshells so they usually dwell near reefs. To break their hard skeleton, Lutras swim on the back, put the Jawshell on their belly and hit it with a rock. Clever, eh? Lutras used to be protected by the LEPON, because they became rare around Year 5. They were highly hunted for their fur, and their population greatly decreased. Since there were no more Lutra to eat the Jawshells, those Petpets became extremely abundant. That unbalanced the food chain and Jawshells ate much more kelp and seaweed than usual, causing the decline of kelp forest. But kelp forests are just as important as reefs are, so that caused other Petpet and Petpetpet species to be threatened. Fortunately, we reacted soon enough and protected Lutras with the LEPON. Today, everything’s back to normal.
I leave my new friend to its games and row around the reef, towards the ocean again. I row around Mystery Island, and steer north, towards the Underwater City Maraqua. While rowing, I hear sounds near the boat. I look around, and see nothing. I look through the glass on the floor of the boat a see a colony of Delfins. One of them jumps over my boat and soak me to the bones. I definitely won’t be able to stay dry today...
Delfins are Petpets that live in groups of ten to thirty individuals. They are playful, just like the Lutras, and really smart. They like to accompany boats by swimming around them. They also use echolocation, just like Bazatlans, even though they aren’t blind at all. However, in the depths of the sea, echolocation is a useful tool to find prey. Delfins mainly hunt Pepitos, in a very strange manner. Each Petpet of the group cooperates to capture their prey. Usually, the younger Delfins scare the Pepitos so that they flee towards the older Delfins that catch them.
I decide to stop the boat. If there are Delfins here, maybe there will be other Petpets nearby? I put my Maraquan exploration suit on and dive once more into the water. As I swim deeper, the sunlight can hardly filter through water and it is getting colder. When I finally reach the bottom, I can barely see where I am going. I can clearly see why Delfins need echolocation, now!
I feel something touching my leg. Startled, I’m about to escape when I see it’s only a long kelp algae. That’s a kelp forest I was talking about! Let’s explore it. I enter in the kelp forest, temporarily blinded by all the seaweed swirling around me. I finally reach a clearing. A little Peo swims by. Peos are cute Petpets. They are sometimes called the “unis of the sea”, because of their look. In fact, they don’t share much with the Unis. But since they can be easily domesticated, Maraquans often use them to carry merchandise.
I go back to my boat and fall asleep in my boat again.
Day 4, Month of Relaxing 19th
A Fleeper croaking in a tree wakes me up. Wait a minute, a tree? I look around my boat and notice that the streams have brought the boat near the coast of the Mystic Island, the small island north of Mystery Island. As I’m eating my breakfast, I observe the bottom of the sea through the glass of the boat. There seem to be deep holes on the sea floor. My curiosity makes me take a closer look at those holes. I dive into the water and swim to the bottom. I approach myself of one of the holes.
Suddenly, something that looks like a snake gets out of it and scares me. As it flees away, I see it’s an Eelika. This Petpet can be dangerous. I was lucky it didn’t attack me. They may seem like inoffensive big worms, but Eelikas are electrogenic. That means that their body is able to create electricity and project it towards their enemy or prey. The discharge generated can stun its target for a couple of seconds, just enough for the Eelika to escape or to eat the prey. It seems like they can also detect their environment with electricity, but we don’t really understand it yet. They eat small swimming Petpets and Wormoebas, Petpetpets that live underwater.
I continue to explore the bottom of the sea, going further from the coast. It soon becomes dark and cold, like yesterday. In front of me, I see an old wreck. I can read “The Revenge” on the hull. It is probably the ship of some mediocre fishers. I decide to explore the wreck. I enter the cabin. A ghost! Oops, sorry, it’s only a Ghostkerfish. This Petpet is a marine relative of the Ghostkerchief. No one knows much about it. It lives (haunts?) in abandoned ships. It is not really dangerous, just... scary.
I decide to go back to my boat. I think I’ve had enough fright. I’ll take a break on explorations for a little while. I hope you’ll read my next adventure on Petpets of Neopia soon!