Blood Sloth
Bloodsloth.jpg

The blood sloth (Xenobradypus sanguis) is a considerably large exoparasite indigenous to the planet Vatei. It feeds on the planet's largest species, at many levels of the food chain. It is one of many species domesticated by the native Rukt. They were named after the 'Bradypus' genus of Terran sloth based on appearance and their propensity for hanging off tree branches in a maner similar to Earth's sloths.

Factfile

Homeworld: Vatei
Class: Xenomammalia
Scientific Name: Xenobradypus sanguis
Evolutionary History: Much of Vatei's phylogenetic tree is still under investigation, leaving large gaps in the evolutionary history of the blood sloth. It is thought that, like most parasites, X.sanguis co-evolved with many of Vatei's larger species, slowly adapting to the life of a non-obligate macro exoparasite.

Biology

Anatomy: X. sanguis is relatively large for a parasitic species, measuring in at around 60cm from front to back. It possess four muscular limb like appendages, which, while not necessarily powerful, are coated in millions of microscopic hair like structures (Fimbriae) which can be used for adhesion.

The head of X. sanguis is almost avian in appearance, and has spawned several taxonomic debates on the species' classification. Regardless, the head features a large and powerful beak like structure which is surrounded by four prehensile pedipalps coated in adhesive tendrils with adhesive and secretary functions. The head also features three eyes, one dorsally located and two distally located.

Physiology: X. sanguis makes use of its muscular limbs to swing to and hang from the tree branches of Vatei's jungles. It often uses this vantage point to drop down on its unsuspecting host. Once on the host, tiny fimbriae in the limbs anchor the blood sloth to the body of the host organism. Once safely latched on, X. sanguis will make a small wound in the flesh of the host organism and feed on the pool of blood and dead flesh which forms. Once its hunger is satisfied, it will sterilise and coagulated the wound with secretions from the tendrils on its pedipalps. It is believed that these pedipalps may also play a role in the digestion and absorption of food, and possibly in olfactory capability.

Genetics: Carbon based DNA
Reproduction: Internal. Viviparous.
Gestation Period: 3 months
Life Cycle: Under investigation
Diet: Carnivorous parasite
Sleep Cycle: Typically active when the host organism is. When separated from a host they are diurnal.