Greetings, dear readers. Lanierenna here - pretty peophin by day, avid Belonthologist by night. Well, by dusk, to be more specific, because that is when the Belonthiss tend to be more active. What is a Belonthiss, you ask? You will find a fine specimen of the species to your right: the beautiful marine petpet that inhabits the rocky shoals off of Shenkuu's coast. This particular Belonthiss is Tryton, who I befriended after months of research – and bribing with faerie bonbons.
The findings and notes that follow are a compilation of my research – a guide, if you will, to the Belonthiss, and a good starting point for those interested in Belonthiss ownership.
Belonthiss are prone to flatulence issues when fed anything remotely resembling a bean.
What's in a name? Not much, from my research on the topic. After having conducted a thorough linguistic review of the mainland Shenkuu dialect and the few surviving variants, spoken by a sparse population scattered on the Fengu archipelago, I have concluded that the Belon fragment is a derivative of the Old Shenkuu ballain, which translates in our tongue to "motion of the waves". The thiss would seem to be an onomatopoeic rendition of the hissing sound made by the Belonthiss in moments of fear or great joy.
One of my colleagues has also suggested tiss as a possible origin, which describes the razor-edge of a weapon in Middle-Shenkuu (pre-Great Consonant Shift), and aptly describes the Belonthiss' bite.
A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say. Though the image on your right is an artistic rendition of the Belonthiss, it does aptly showcase the species' distinctive features, particularly its serpentine body, perfect for nestling unseen in the shoals of Shenkuu, and the wide, delicate fins that propel and guide the creature in its underwater travels as well as in its forays in the air. I have myself witnessed Belonthiss groups in flight, as it were, gliding with surprising velocity and height over the waves, and touching down only to regain enough momentum to fly again. A few older inhabitants of some of the more distant islands of the Wulan Sea confirmed to me that, many years ago, such sights were common around the islands, as the Belonthiss gathered to prey on swarms of migrating Filamen.
Scholarly explanations of the Belonthiss' particular colouring have suggested that its dark blue underside ensures that it will not be easily seen from predators or prey swimming or flying above, while its lighter underside ensures that such creatures will not easily spot it from below. The pink tips echo the colour of corralum pluralis, the pink coral common in Shenkuu's waters.
Habitat and Distribution
The Belonthiss is a sedentary species, as sea creatures go, undertaking no migrating or other great travels beyond the warm confines of the Wulan Sea and nearby estuaries. They venture into freshwater only rarely, usually in hunting groups when Neucloop or other tasty prey are within catching distance. Their preferred abodes are in loose schools of eight or ten individuals, all inhabiting a large reef and defending it fiercely from would-be invaders.
Unfortunately, the Belonthiss has become a much rarer sight in our seas, thanks in part to overpopulation by Gulpers and other larger predators. Estimated population is of 2,000 remaining individuals, most of them living in the Shenkuu Bay area.
The Belonthiss is carnivorous, with fish consisting of 80% of its diet, and marine petpets of various descriptions making up the remainder. The Belonthiss is particularly well-adapted to this diet, with its backwards-facing sharp teeth, keen eyesight and sense of smell, and lightning movement. They are curious about other possible food sources and have responded well to treats that they could not find in their native waters. Faerie bonbons have proven to be a favourite, as have gummy rats.
Treats such as those described in the above paragraph should only be provided occasionally to the Belonthiss, as long-term health consequences are unclear, and we know for a fact that they do not brush their teeth.
References to the Belonthiss are quite common in Shenkuu literature, with the most notable example being Xi-san, the giant Belonthiss said to circle the world and cause the ebb and flow of the tide. The six-thousand line long Legend of Anshu epic poem features beautiful descriptions of the mythic beast and Shenkuu as it existed over eight centuries ago. The Belonthiss also features prominently in ceremonial Shenkuu weaponry, where depictions are common on handles of daggers, shivs, and other small, bladed weapons. Antique sets of Kou-jong tiles also contain the Belonthiss in the preferred ouroboros pose.
The Belonthiss was considered a good omen in early Shenkuu. Sightings were said to predict sudden windfalls of gold, or fair weather for sailing.
I should, I suppose, dedicate at least a portion of this page to Tryton himself. Tryton is in many ways an anomaly when it comes to the Belonthiss: extremely outgoing and inquisitive to the point of stupidity. I maintain the belief that this is the only reason I managed to tame him and can now consider him my petpet: most of his species prefer to avoid interactions with neopets in general, and nosy researchers in particular, which has made it a challenge to compile the information you see here. Tryton, however, seems to be missing a large part of the cautious and skittish nature of his brethren, and is instead determined to discover the how and why of everything that he comes across, including the way that teeth are arranged in the jaws of a maraquan grarrl. Though he is not the brightest bulb in the sea, he is certainly an entertaining fellow, and I am honoured that he has chosen to forsake the limpid waters of his native seas and journey with me.
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