Tree Kraken

Tree Kraken (artist Dick Hentz, used with permission of Marc Miller)Also known as the land squid, the tree kraken (Hexapoda stren II, H. si/vans) is a 6 kg pouncer native to the planet Forboldn ( Regina / Spinward Marches 1808), but for various reasons has become distributed to many small, low gravity worlds in the Regina (Spinward Marches) and neighbouring subsectors of the Spinward Marches. (Also see the Forboldn Project).

The adult tree kraken resembles in general body form the Terran octopus (q.v.), having a central body sensory cluster and six radiating tentacle-like arms. The internal skeleton is rudimentary, consisting of a cartilaginous stiffening of the body to permit the lung sacs to function, to serve as attachment points for the muscles, and to permit leverage for the three part mandible located at the base of the arms. This stiffening appears to be an adaption to a terrestrial lifestyle.

The arms of the kraken consist of a stiffened central support structure surrounded by a muscular sheath. The arms end in from 2 to 7 (depending on species) smaller appendages. The ventral surface of the arm, and the ends of these smaller appendages are equipped with a disk-shaped sucker-like organ covered with hundreds of small, razor-sharp tooth-like structures.

The eyes are paired, operate stereoscopically, and permit the kraken to detect the faintest movement at several hundred meters. Range judgement is extremely good.

Respiration is accomplished by 3 to 8 (varying with species) lung-sacs located in the body mass. Each sac has its own connection to the atmosphere. To function, the inner lining of each sac must be kept moist, requiring the kraken to remain in regions of high humidity, such as marshes, swamps, or jungles. Tree krakens have a closed circularory system and are endothermic.

The kraken attacks its prey by leaping upon it from a height, usually a tree, but often a cliff and occasionally a roof. The arms wrap around the prey, immobilizing it and the disk-shaped structures abrade the skin and other tissue into small fragments which are then conveyed to the mouth.

After feeding, the tree kraken climbs to a high place for protection from other predators, and goes into a digestive torpor, from which it emerges several hours later.

Krakens are hermaphroditic, and reproduction is accomplished by budding. During the six week mating season, two krakens will meet, and exchange genetic material by means of two tubelike structures located above the eyes. After fertilization, these structures swell to several times their normal size and grow arms, eventually (after eight to twelve weeks) becoming fully developed miniature krakens. When fully developed, the young detach themselves and go their own way. This is accomplished when the parent is in a state of torpor after feeding, otherwise the krakens would eat their own young.

Worlds with known tree kraken populations include Forboldn, Menorb ( Regina / Spinward Marches 1803), Kinorb ( Regina / Spinward Marches 2202), Jesedipere ( Aramis / Spinward Marches 3001), Aramanx ( Aramis / Spinward Marches 3005), Extolay ( Lanth / Spinward Marches 1711), and Dinomn ( Lanth / Spinward Marches 1912). It is rumoured that the tree kraken's liver contains compounds useful in the manufacture of anagathics.

Classic Traveller Statistics and Rules
Number Animal Type Weight Hits Armour Wounds and Weapons
1 Pouncer 6 kg 2/6 none 5 Teeth A0 F0 S1

(ADV-1, 1105; BOJ-1: p9, 1103; TNE-RSB: p81, 1202)

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