|1.42 m. | 4′ 8″ at peak of horns||186 kg. | 410 lbs.||62/35 years for males/females||Herbivore, Gastrolith|
Aganeihat translates from Jibhaga loosely as “fire crystal hoofed animal”. They have been briefly studied by Poria wildlife biologists. The sparseness of the field of study has not yielded a tremendous amount of information. The name originates from early Jibhaga, when Poria believed the Aganeihat immortal since their horns continued to grow after piercing the skin.
Their heads measure above the ground around 1.2 meters (4′), with horns extending up another 0.2 m. (8″) as they loop around behind the Aganeihat’s ears. The curvature and ultimate length of the horns differ depending on gender of the creatures, with male horns looping once and bending back into the front of the creature, and horns of the females looping behind the head and continuing backwards. Ultimately, the horns puncture the skin in later stages of life.
Once punctured, the site of the wound is where the Aganeihat’s symbiotic relationship with a particular insect begins. These insects lay their larvae in the wounds caused by the horns as they grow inward. The maturation process of the larvae actively cleans the wounds and allows the Aganeihat to continue to live until the horns puncture either the heart/lungs in males or sever the spine of females. The insects are briefly adults, mating inside and around an Aganeihat’s ears, and lay eggs in living Aganeihats before quickly dying off.
Biology and Behavior
Aganeihat are mostly herbivores, though they eat a particular mineral found in crystals formed by gas escaping from magma through vents or other small holes in the ground. Consumption of this particular mineral classifies them as a gastrolith, and is the only rock they eat, though they will ingest a moderate quantity of dirt in order to get to any buried roots or crystals if they smell them. Socially, Aganeihat are herd creatures, with a single alpha male reproducing with the herd’s females. The females of the herd raise any newborn as their own following a 53 week (~11 months) gestation period. The non-alpha males of a herd also stick together, and fight amongst each other for the rights to challenge the alpha, though the leading beta does not often do so, but instead holds the right to the challenge. As mentioned above, Aganeihat meet natural deaths when their horns grow into their bodies and either puncture organs or sever spines.
Aganeihat live along the volcanic mountain ranges of Parallelium, and are not typically found on non-volcanic continents or planet-stars. It is unknown if they live on seljzhs (uninhabitable continents) of star-planets, though they have been introduced on manufactured hiryljs on star-planets. The two non-standard variations of Aganeihat, the Calderic and Grassland live further up and further away from volcanoes respectively, on average. Calderic Aganeihat have much darker legs and a thinner coat overall, in addition to almost completely forgoing any vegetation in search of mineral laden crystals on the sides of volcanoes. In contrast, Grassland Aganeihat have moved further from volcanoes and sport and overall browner, thicker coat and are almost entirely herbivores. In their efforts to find plants and crystals, Aganeihat stir up large amounts of soil, even ingesting some—which softens in excrement.
Interaction with Omneuttians
Aganeihat purposefully avoid Poria, which has made the job of what few wildlife biologists that exist amongst the Poria more difficult. As Poria expanded their major cities away from volcanic craters in early After Time, Aganeihat were forced into new climates, taking the space that the Poria left, and moving further from volcanoes. The physical shift of Poria culture directly resulted in the two sub-species: Calderic and Grassland. On planet-stars without Poria, and around volcanos that do not have a major Poria presence, the original Aganeihat can be found.