United New England

Descriptions & discussions of member nations' flora & fauna.
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Post by United New England » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:12 pm

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tropical (‘wet’) evergreen forest,

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Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:41 pm

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tropical seasonal forest (including thorn forest) & scrub

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Post by United New England » Thu Oct 17, 2019 1:54 am

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Wooded savannah & open grassland

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Post by Bears Armed » Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:02 pm

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The Big Swamp

Two of the main rivers that drain the interior plains join forces before their combined waters enter the coastal forest. The area where they merge is located “behind” a ridge of harder rock, through which the resultant river has cut a gorge and the western edge of which it descends in a series of waterfalls, and is normally quite marshy except in the driest of ‘dry seasons’. During the ‘rainy season’ the waters normally rise to form a temporary swamp, markedly wider that the marsh itself, with islands of higher ground. This attracts large numbers of herbivores to feed on the lush growth around its edges, and relatively large numbers of carnivores as well to feed on those herbivores. There is also a seasonal surge in the local populations of amphibians, fish, and aquatic invertebrates, which attracts members of various other species (e.g. osprey, pelican, heron, crane, kingfishers); that feed on such creatures.

Species to add to lists, and to describe as necessary:
‘Marsh Mongoose’ (‘Marsh groundstalker’? ‘Marshstalker’?); wetland-favouring Rodent species; a species of Goose that spends part of the year here but longer in a larger area of such terrain on the continent’s northern side instead; at least one local species of Kingfisher; a large Monitor Lizard; a fairly large [non-venomous] Snake; a species of Frog that (like some RL Amphibia) may spend the dry season “sleeping” within the dried-out mud; a species of Lungfish, which (again, like some RL relatives) may also spend the dry season dormant; Dragonflies.

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Post by Bears Armed » Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:21 pm

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Mountain heights

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Post by United New England » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:54 pm

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Scrub belt

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:24 pm

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Cloud forest

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Post by United New England » Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:16 pm

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Tropical rainforest

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 28, 2019 4:33 pm

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Eastern coast

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Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:16 pm

(reserved)

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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:19 pm

United New England wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:10 am
These ideas look great! I appreciate your extensive efforts.

Thanks in particular for catering your suggestions to my preferences, such as with the bears and the colorful birds.

Are both the light and dark pardopumas referred to as “blond”? That seems confusing.

As for the chalicothere, I think the New Englanders might wind up calling it the Sasquatch Horse.
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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:19 pm

Bears Armed wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:02 pm
United New England wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:10 am
Are both the light and dark pardopumas referred to as “blond”? That seems confusing.

As for the chalicothere, I think the New Englanders might wind up calling it the Sasquatch Horse.
Re the Pardopumas _
No, it’s only the ‘flavistic’ individuals that are so-called: I have now replaced the word “these” at the relevant part of their descrion with “the latter”, which hopefully clarifies it adequately.

Re the Chalicothere _
Noted. I have added this detail to its entry above.


_____________________________________

I have now added the nation’s [suggested] Antelopes to the section about the family Bovidae. Feel free to have your people give them (or any other species, of course) English names different from the ones that I’ve suggested.

_____________________________________

Coming soon (planned): Deer, Monkeys, Giant Squirrel… and a post, in the ‘Basic Presumptions and Overview’ thread, rather than in this one, that uses this nation’s varied assortment of Ungulate species as an example to illustrate the concept of ‘niche partitioning’ that I’ve already mentioned there.
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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:20 pm

United New England wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:12 pm
I’m still confused by this part: “They include some ‘melanistic’ (i.e. darker-furred) individuals that may be called ‘Blonde Pumas’ or ‘Blonde Panthers’”.

I like the idea of the quadricorns!
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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:20 pm

Bears Armed wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:41 pm
Oops! I see now what you meant about the ‘Blonde Panthers’… Fixed.
Glad that you like the Quadricorns.

________________________________

Red Dog: details of their preferred prey added.
Deer: names and brief descriptions for the five native species have been added.
Rodents: the notes about Porcupines have been expanded, with two more species added, and some brief notes about Squirrels (including a ‘Giant Squirrel’) have been added.
I have now posted some suggestions about possibilities in the Mammals: Marsupials and “primitive” types section.
Osprey added (but without its full scientific name, until I can find this in my old notes) among the ‘Non-Passeriform Birds’.
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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:21 pm

United New England wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 1:54 am
Bears Armed wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:19 pm
Mammals: Marsupials and “primitive” types

Metatheria: Marsupialia

1.) Order = Boreodidelphiformes.
The name of this order means “Northern opossum-shaped (animals)”, and is derived from the name of one of its member families — the ‘Boreodidelphidae’ — for whose various species it is a simple but accurate description (and which is derived in turn from the name of its main genus, ‘Boreodidelphis’). It is endemic to the IDU nowadays, but two families of opossum-like marsupials that survived in RL Earth’s Eurasia and North America until as recently as the Miocene epoch (over halfway from the end of the “Age of Dinosaurs” to the present day…) might also belong alongside its Iduvian groups. The following families COULD have members native to this nation:

Notodidelphidae
The name of this family means “Southern Opossums”, and is derived from the name of its main genus ‘Notodidelphis’. It is this continent’s endemic counterpart of the north’s ‘Boreodidelphidae’. Its members are mainly of the “basic” opossum type, (unless you want to suggest any ‘plausible’ variations], and can be found in a wide range of habitats. Most if not all of them can climb quite well, and [at least] some species have prehensile tails to help with this.

Arborididelphidae
This family is also endemic to this continent, and is a sister-group to the one described just above. Its name means “Tree Opossums”, and all of its species are highly arboreal in lifestyle: They all possess prehensile tails, which in [at least] some species are strong enough to support their full weights for quite some time without any problems. Although most common in rain-forests and ‘tropical evergreen’ forest they may also be found in ‘tropical seasonal’ forest (where they might sleep, in holes in trees, through the “dry season”) too.

Pterodidelphidae
This is a family of “flying” opossums, which glide using flaps of skin that stretch between their limbs & body (‘patagia’ is the technical term) like RL Australia’s ‘Flying Phalangers’ and ‘Sugar Glider’. They are a sister-group to the northern continent’s family of ‘Tree Opossums’, with these two families together forming one of this order’s two currently-recognized suborders (the other of which contains the two families described above and four more — including the ‘Boreodidelphidae’ — that are endemic to the northern continent instead). Its subfamily ‘Pterodidelphinae’ contains two tribes, both of which are also endemic to the northern continent, but members of the subfamily ‘Notopterinae’ could be found in this nation. The tribe ‘Notopterini’ (which is endemic to this continent) contains omnivorous or insectivorous species, which could occur in any reasonably well-wooded habitat, while the tribe ‘Melissapterini’ (which probably originated on this continent, but can now also be found in some lands near its neighbour’s south-eastern corner as well) are nectar-feeding specialists like the RL ‘Sugar Gliders’ and would be restricted to rainforest or ‘tropical evergeeen’ forest.


2.) From the order Formicitheria, whose name means “Ant-beasts” and refers to their diet, and which is endemic to the IDU, the following families COULD have members native to this nation:

Formicitheriidae
This family’s members are all ant-eaters, and have evolved “the usual” adaptations for that role: A long snout housing a long & sticky tongue, closable nostrils, and powerful claws on their forepaws for opening the nest of ants & termites. They are all tree-dwellers, feeding only on ants & termites whose nests are also up in the trees, and have prehensile tails to help them with this lifestyle. Look at RL South America’s (non-Marsupial) ‘Tamandua’ & ‘Silky Anteater’ to get a general idea of their general form & lifestyle. There could be one or more species (differing from each other in size, preferred diet, preferred altitude, or whatever…) living in this nation’s rainforests, and possibly also — although this might be less likely — in the ‘tropical evergreen’ forests along the west coast.


3.) From the order Quadriprotodonta, whose name means “(Animals with) Four front teeth” and refers to the fact that unlike the herbivorous marsupials of RL Australia they have four rather than just two sets of incisors, the following family COULD have members native to this nation:

Tardiscansoridae
This family’s name means “Slow Climbers” (No, nothing at all to do with Doctor Who…), and its members are basically marsupial equivalents of RL South America’s tree-dwelling Sloths. They are found in parts of the other continent’s south-eastern corner, as well as on this one. There could be one or more species living in this nation’s rainforests, and maybe another one in the ‘tropical evergreen’ forests along the west coast. My suggested English name for them is ‘Slowths’.

Menthascansoride” ?
(My name for this family is not yet finalised...)
This family, which is endemic to this continent alone, is a sister-group to the family described above. Its members feed solely on the leaves of trees from the ‘Mint-tree’ family, which is endemic to this continent. As those trees are found only in seasonal and “dry” forests these animals sometimes have to walk across the ground between trees and consequently have not become [quite] as slow or clumsy as their jungle-living relatives. The trees protect themselves from insects and other herbivores by secreting a rather ‘mint’-like substance which most of those potential threats find nauseous even though it isn’t actually toxic to all of them, but this particular family’s members have evolved a greater tolerance of it and even concentrate it in their own tissues to deter predators! Obviously if you have these animals then you must have the trees as well…
I don’t yet have an English name for these animals.
(I still need to decide for certain about this family’s names and its members’ appearance, but they’re probably quite similar in size & general form — as well as in lifestyle — to RL Australia’s ’Koala’. I got the ‘Mint-trees’ idea from the facts that (a) I needed something rather like the Eucalyptus on which Koalas feed to explain why these animals haven’t been out-competed by rodents or primates or other ‘placental mammals; and (b) Mint and eucalyptus are combined in some RL cough sweets. ^_^ )

________________________________________


Metatheria: Deltatheroida
(This group formerly existed in RL, too, but seems to have become extinct there around — or at — the time of the ‘K-Pg Event’ that killed-off the [“non-Avian”] Dinosaurs, Pterosaurs, Mosasaurs, Plesiosaurs, and various other groups as well.

4.) From the order Deltatherida, whose name refers to the triangular shape of their premolar & molar teeth (which are basically specialised for carnivorous diets), the following families — both of which are endemic to this continent, and never existed on RL Earth — COULD have members native to this nation:


Deltasoricoididae
These are basically ‘Marsupial Shrews’, feeding on invertebrates at ground level. “Real” shrews are a fairly new arrival on this continent, and might not yet have expanded this far... or, at least, might not yet have displaced these rivals from some of the habitats (with ‘Tropical Rainforest’ being the most likely exception) here.


Deltadesmanidae
These are larger on average than members of the family described above (smallest = ‘water shrew’-sized, largest = ‘duck-billed platypus-sized’, more or less…), and hunt in freshwater (from mountain streams to the quieter sections of lowland rivers, and in lakes as well) although they are rare in the lowland tropical rainforest’s waters because those contain too many potential threats to their lives.


________________________________________________________________________________



Eusymmetrodonta

5.) From the order Spalacotheriida, which formerly existed in RL as well but also seems to have become extinct there around — or at — the time of the ‘K-Pg Event’ (unless one species currently only known from a single fossil that dates to the following Palaeocene epoch belonged to it, which is quite likely but not yet considered definite…), the following IDU-endemic family COULD have members native to this nation:

Pseudotalpidae

‘False Moles’, filling ecological niches comparable to RL’s “real” Moles (and perhaps also, if wide enough areas of sandy soil exist around here, the roles filled by ‘Golden Moles’ in RL Africa and ‘Marsupial Moles’ in RL Australia) which have not yet reached this continent. My suggested [shorter] English name for them is ‘Noles’, as a contraction of “not really Moles”.
I’ve already posted something about them in this forum a while back (viewtopic.php?p=17925#p17925), and that material only needs a few minor changes to fit my current thoughts on the matter.
I would be fine with any of these animals. Thanks!
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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:21 pm

Bears Armed wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:02 pm
United New England wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 1:54 am


I would be fine with any of these animals. Thanks!
Noted, and I've modified that post to say that all of those families - -with the 'Mint-Trees' too, of course, because they're needed as food for the "Koala-like" marsupials -- do have species present here.

Also
Minor changes made in several entries to clarify points about relationships, degree of endemicism, or diet.
In the section about the order Carnivora, suggestions made about possible other members of the family Mustelidae.
The brief notes about ""Primates and Plesiadapiformes" have been replaced by more detailed ones under the new heading of "Mammals: Primatomorpha".
A few suggestions made in the sections about 'Reptiles', 'Gymnosperms', and 'Other Land Plants'.
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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:22 pm

Bears Armed wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:21 pm
Note that the western side of your nation should have a ‘dry season’ & ‘wet season’ (whose effects on the inland forest I have already mentioned in one or two places…), but that due to the different pattern of lands & seas these should be less extreme than those in RL experienced by [e.g.] India (i.e. the ‘Monsoons’). I have now added this explanation to the 'Location' section in the first post.
Also in that post, but in its 'Basic Ecotypes' section instead, I have improved the definition given for 'cloud forest'.

I have now added suggestions for three more families of Mammals, two from the order Lagomorpha (i.e. rabbits & hares, and their relatives) and the other — listed here in the ’Other Eutheria’ section — from an order called the Anaglida that formerly existed on RL Earth as well but became extinct in that Reality quite early on in the “Age of Mammals”.

Various short suggestions have been added to the sections about Insects and about Plants.

Re my previous suggestion that the ‘Gymnosperm’ plants present should include a group that had become extinct in RL, so that this could continue supporting ‘Kalligrammatidae’ insects: I made this suggestion because explaining the continued existence of those insects seemed easiest if we gave their adults a food plant for which other insects could not compete because of poisons to which the Kalligrammatids — having started feeding on those plants earlier, before the poisons were evolved to their current strength — had managed to evolve resistance. Thinking further about this, though, we don’t actually need those extinct-in-RL trees for this purpose: We have already agreed to use the ‘Mint-Trees’, whose secretions are toxic or at least repellent to many insects, so having the Kalligrammatids feed on (and pollinate) these would work quite nicely anyway. I’m provisionally assigning the Mint-Trees’ family to the order Lauralaes, some of whose other members (such as ‘Laurel’ itself, of course) also use chemical defences, and that has been around since quite early in the Cretaceous period so there would have been enough overlap in time between these two groups before the food-sources relied on by RL Kalligrammatids became extinct for such a relationship to have developed…
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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:22 pm

United New England wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:54 pm
These suggestions look good!
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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:23 pm

Bears Armed wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:24 pm
United New England wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:54 pm
These suggestions look good!
I’m glad that you liked them!
Those non-RL families have been on my lists for several years, so it was nice to get a chance to see them “in place”.
I only found out about the Kalligrammatidae a few months ago, but they seemed like a nice idea too.

I have just added suggestions for four more species of small Carnivorans, three of them in the family Mustelidae and the other in the Notovenatoridae, with the label (SUGGESTED) above each of those.
If the ‘Austral Badger’ is acceptable then its presence would bring the number of [non-Cetacean] Mammal genera that your lands here share with RL Earth up to an “amazing” total of five! The others are Panthera (the Lion and Tiger here, which are the only two species of non-Cetacean Mammal that your lands share — although, even so, with separation at the subspecies level — with RL Earth; three more species also exist in RL, and at least two of those have reached some parts of the IDU as well, but none of those have reached your lands), Cuon (the Red Dog, or Dhole), Ursus (the Bears, two species here one in each of the subgenera ‘(Ursus)’ and ‘(Melursus)’; both of those groups also have other [different] members elsewhere, although certain species that belong to the genus overall are sometimes not assigned to either of them), and Sus (the “main” genus of Pigs).

Some other possible points to consider, at least in the medium term:
Given your people’s arrival in spaceships, is it reasonably safe to presume that they didn’t accidentally bring house mice, black rats, or brown rats, along with them? Are they bringing any domesticated cats or dogs, and if so then are they taking any precautions against the possible establishment of feral populations from either or both those of species? Are they introducing domestic livestock? Have they brought along pets of any other species? What crops or other plants are they going to try growing? Etc…

:bear:
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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:23 pm

United New England wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:16 pm
I approve of your new suggestions. The red label is very useful for navigation!

I would say that the New Englanders did not accidentally bring mice or rats on their spaceships. However, they did bring cats and dogs, which are usually spayed or neutered, along with smaller pets such as rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils. Common livestock animals would include cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys. Horses, sheep, and goats were also brought over to live on farms.

What kinds of plants would grow well in this climate? New Englanders would want to see if they could grow bananas, pineapples, mangoes, or citrus fruits. Plants with distinctive flowers, such as jacarandas and plumerias, would also be of interest.
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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:24 pm

Bears Armed wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 4:33 pm
Pets & livestock
Re the mice & rats, dogs & cats: that’s good to know.
Re the smaller pets: Okay, noted. Even the rabbits, if they got loose and weren’t eaten by anything, probably wouldn’t be able to take over ecological niches currently filled by native species.

Re the common livestock: I hope that they aren’t trying to bring this directly from “old” New England, because of the difference in conditions… Taking the time to acclimatise stock from there at some place with an intermediate climate, or even obtaining stock that was actually bred & raised in a tropical area back on the colonists’ world of origin (in Brazil, or north of that in South America, for example), would seem highly advisable.
Cattle from ‘tropical’ breeds probably “pay” for their ability to tolerate the heat with lower milk yields and tougher meat than you would expect from European & North American breeds.
Pigs: get dark-skinned breeds if you’re going to let them out-of-doors, because the paler-skinned ones can get seriously sunburned. Also, you might need to keep them a bit less plump than is now usual in temperate climes, in order to prevent overheating.
Chickens, no problem, they’ll do fine.
Turkeys, again, I suspect that modern domesticated breeds might be prone to over-heating in the local climates… Might your people consider Guinea-fowl as a possible alternative?
Horses, get stock from a suitable source and that’s fine… although, of course, this is another species that could potentially establish a large population in the wild if given the chance.
Sheep & Goats: Okay, but note that tropical breeds tend to have only ‘hair’ (which needs to be collected by relatively frequent combing) rather than heavier ‘wool’ (which can be removed as entire fleeces once a year). I think that, even in RL Australia, the sheep from which wool is obtained are raised further from the equator than this. Also, again, worry about the possible ecological consequences if goats manage to establish a feral population.

Crops
Bananas (and ‘plantains’, if you want them, too), pineapples, mangoes: should grow fine.
Citrus fruits: I’d need to do more research, but probably at least some.
Jacarandas: should be fine; and quick research indicates that they have multiple pollinating species in various parts of RL so their attracting one here as well should probably be easy enough.
Plumeria (Frangipani): should grow fine, but I’m not sure about insect pollination (quick research says ‘sphinx moths’, but I haven’t yet found out how species-limited this is…) so you might need to rely on other methods.

I’ve already mentioned the coconut palms in some coastal areas, and that there’s probably at least one area in the highlands where it would be worth trying Coffee. Also, whether or not any of the native species of Fig produce fruit worth your while, you could probably bring in one that’s already grown for this purpose somewhere in RL Earth’s tropics.
Some other crop-yielding trees that your people could consider introducing, depending on how much of the native forest they’re willing to replace, are avocado, cocoa, cashew-nut, kola nut, breadfruit, pepper, sago palm, oil palm, rubber, and the one that gives the traditional raw material for chewing-gum…
Some non-woody crops that your people could definitely consider: sweet potato, peppers (both ‘bell’ and ‘hot’), cassava/manioc, peanut/groundnut, certain types of gourds, and probably certain varieties of maize (as it is grown in RL Brazil). With enough labour and irrigation, possibly also rice, sugar-cane, cotton…
That’s just a quick list, from my memories of reading about the tropics, and you can probably find even more if you do some research yourself.

There are almost certainly some more native plants from which your people could obtain edible fruit or other useful products, too, but finding out which of the many species present are really suitable for this might take them a while (especially as it isn’t a point that I had previously considered myself…).

Another “biological” matter that the settlers might have to consider, of course, is the possible presence of native diseases or parasites which could spread to their crops, their livestock, or even themselves… Again, this isn’t a point that I had previously considered. However, I will guarantee the absence, unless you decide that you actually want to RP about their presence, of Malaria, Sleeping Sickness, Yellow Fever, and Ebola…
Your settlers are making sure that all of the pets & livestock they bring here aren’t carrying any diseases (that could spread to the native wildlife), right?


____________________________________________________________________

Other matters

Is it okay with you if I specify that one section of the western plains, some way inland from the coast, floods temporarily during the rainy season to become a fairly wide marsh? This would offer us some more interesting ecological possibilities…

Is it okay with you if I make minor changes to the Gazelles already confirmed as present, add yet another species of them, and add another species of Antelope as well? If it is then should I use the (SUGGESTED) label for the new species, although not to highlight the other changes, or for the latter as well?

Also, although so far I have been using the labels “Mongoose” & “Civet” so far for various members of the continent’s endemic Carnivoran family the ‘Notovernatoridae’, those animals are obviously not “true” Mongooses & Civets. This being the case, I suggest (and think that some zoologists within the region IC would probably suggest, too) that we add alternative labels which could be used by characters who want to be more accurate (& less colloquial?). The ‘mongoose’ types are mostly diurnal and mostly terrestrial (although the ‘Sanglins’ are an exception in both respects..), whereas the ‘civet’ types are mostly nocturnal and more inclined to be arboreal: So, basically “Groundstalkers” (although with the Sanglins & their closest relatives being ‘Treestalkers’ instead) and “Nightprowlers” (although with the already-described ‘Austral Ground Civet’ being a “Groundprowler” instead), perhaps? Alternative suggestions?
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Re: United New England

Post by United New England » Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:54 am

Hmm, a Thanksgiving dinner with guinea fowl instead of turkey might be a bit strange, but I guess it would be worth a try.

Out of the trees you listed, the New Englanders would probably most want to try growing avocados, cocoa, cashews, pepper, and oil palm. All of the non-woody plants you mentioned would work well.

Yes, we have checked all of our animals for diseases and vaccinated them appropriately.

Sure, we can have a marsh during the rainy season.

You can use the “SUGGESTED” label any way you like, but don’t feel obligated to highlight every minor change.

Your names for the “mongooses” and “civets” look good to me.

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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:38 pm

I have added a mention of the Marsh/Swamp in the early ‘Basic Ecotypes’ section, and then given it a more detailed description — including some brief notes about probable fauna — in one of the posts from which I’d moved comments to make room for articles about particular ecotypes.
In the ‘Basic Ecotypes’ section, too, I have added — under the (SUGGESTED) label, for now — a note about the [likely] southern limits of the ‘plains’ habitats.

I have added the new names for the “mongoose-like” & “civet-like” carnivores to the main description of their family, and -- for reasons explained there -- have also changed the scientific name for one of the species already described.
(UPDATE)
I sat down last night, with several useful books, and thought a bit more about that family. Some of the results have now been added to its entry earlier in this thread, with the same ‘UPDATE’ label that I’ve used here.
I’ll add more details for the “Nyctoscansorid” side of this group as soon as I can, too, but still need to finish working them out.
(UPDATE) TO THE (UPDATE) (09. 10. ’19.)
And then I realized that the most specialised lineage of ‘snake-eating’ mongoose-like Notovenatorids had accidentally been omitted (i.e. It was then that I decided that there should be an even more highly specialised one…) and incorporating that into the phylogeny — with the delay blamed IC on waiting for the results of a further & even deeper study into the identities of their closest relatives — ended up seeing the former genus ‘Notovenator’ split into three parts as well…


Also using the '(UPDATE)' tag, I have made a minor change to the classification of the 'Treetops Bear' (by moving it from one sub-genus to another).

I have added the one extra species of Antelope that I mentioned as a possibility, which is another 'Oxelope', under the (SUGGESTED) label, after the entry for the Quadricorns & the first-described 'Oxelope. Also in that post, in the section about [other] Antelopes & Gazelles, I have integrated another species of Gazelle into the list and changed some details about the already-listed three species of Gazelles as well (changing two of them from pure grazers to ‘mixed feeders’ -- who both browse & graze -- and have noted their possible use of scrub for cover from predators)… which makes them more like some RL gazelles. I do have a copy of the original text saved, which could be restored if you don't like these changes.

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Some more thoughts about Birds:
As noted in the list of “important” fauna for the Marsh/Swamp, there would be — unless you object — at least one species of Crane here. I think that you would have a bird of the ‘Crowned Crane’ type (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balearica), whose RL members are limited to Africa today but were formerly more widespread: If so, what colour would you prefer for the feathers of its ‘crown’?
“Formerly more widespread in RL” would also justify adding a species of Ostrich to the plains-living species (although its range probably wouldn’t extend far south of your northern border), as one RL species actually reached as far east as China, but I would prefer to use a bird from a possible IDU-endemic family that’s already on my lists in that ecological role instead… How do you feel about having an Ostrich-sized relative of the RL ‘Great Bustard’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_bustard) wandering around there? Potential colloquial names, if your people don’t just call it “Ostrich” anyway, might include “Bustrich” or simply “Really Big Bustard”. ;-)
RL Africa has the ‘Secretary Bird’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretarybird) (which is related to Eagles & Hawks) as a predatory bird that can fly but that hunts mostly by walking along the ground; RL South America has, in a comparable role, the ‘Seriema’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seriema) (which is related, although less closely, to the Falcons instead). For the IDU’s southern continent in general, and your nation in particular, my first choice for filling that ecological niche would be an endemic relative of the Cranes (with suitable adaptations to its legs & feet) although using another endemic relative of the Bustards (with suitable adaptations to its beak, & proportionately longer legs) might also work quite well. Opinions?

There is another group of birds whose RL members today are limited to Africa, but which was previously more widespread, that I have already put on the IDU’s list and think is cute would fit quite well -- perhaps as the main seed-dispersal agent for the 'Mint-Trees' -- in some parts of your country: Take a look at the Mousebirds (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mousebird), if & when you have time, and let me know whether they’re acceptable to you…

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Re: United New England

Post by United New England » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:02 pm

Suggestions approved! It’s impressive that you included a phylogenetic tree.

I think it would be interesting if the crowned crane had turquoise “crown” feathers.

Yes, we could certainly have a “bustrich.” The secretary bird/seriema equivalent might as well
be related to cranes if you think that would be best.

Sure, the mousebird looks good. It kind of reminds me of a cute bird in my area that we call the “tufted titmouse” (yes, I know it’s a ridiculous name): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tufted_titmouse

(I learned some interesting facts from reading that Wikipedia article. My favorites were “they can be curious about humans and will sometimes perch on a window ledge and seem to be peering into the house” and “they line the nest with soft materials, sometimes plucking hair from a live animal such as a dog.” Hmm, I wonder how the dogs feel about that practice!)

On the topic of birds, maybe we could have something similar to the lilac-breasted roller: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilac-breasted_roller

Would we have baobab trees? Besides being nesting sites for birds, they’re also pretty cool in and of themselves.

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Re: United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Wed Nov 13, 2019 3:43 pm

I have removed the (SUGGESTED) and (UPDATE) tags from the latest bits that you’ve approved here.

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Notovenatoridae
I had been putting together the phylogenetic tree on paper anyway, for my own reference, so making that “tidy” version of it seemed worthwhile… and it did come out looking quite good, I agree. ;-) A tree for the closely related family ‘Noctoscansoridae’ will follow as well, once the last few of the Genus names needed have been sorted out: The rest of it is already done, but unfortunately some of the Genus names that I wanted to use have turned out to be unavailable due to previous use [for little-known animals] in RL so I need to come up with suitable alternatives without just re-using the same set of elements “too many” times.
I have re-written that section slightly to merge the original & added sections more neatly. Also, I have changed the name’s spelling from “Noto-” to the [possibly] more correct “Notio-”.

Birds
‘Turquoise-Crowned Crane’: So the crown feathers are blue enough to show up reasonably well against [most] vegetation, but green enough to show up reasonably well [usually] against the daytime sky, okay. I don’t know the Latin word for “Turquoise” itself — if there even is one — so am giving this species the scientific name ‘Balearica cyanea’ which hopefully conveys the meaning well enough… Okay?

The scientific name for the ‘Bustrich’ is ‘Struthiotis summerleei’, meaning “Summerlee’s Ostrich-bustard”, to commemorate a renowned [Human] zoologist who did some work in this general area (but who did not himself choose this name for the bird…). The continent-endemic family within which it belongs is the Struthiotidae, which contains only this one genus today — although there are probably a few others described IC (or potentially to be described IC, eventually, anyway) from fossils as well — but with several species inside this. This is a sister-group to the family Otidae, containing the Bustards themselves, which was quite recently recognised [in RL] as being more closely related to the Cuckoos than — as had previously been thought — to the Cranes and was therefore moved out of the Cranes’ order ‘Gruiformes’ into a separate Otidiformes instead.
The Bustrich is slightly smaller than an Ostrich in size, typically, but larger than a Rhea: Adult males tend to be larger than adult females, by maybe 25% in height & length and up to 50% in weight. Their plumage is a mottled brown, significantly lighter on the neck, chest, & underside, with the ‘contrast’ greater (within the mottling itself, as well as between that part of the plumage section and the paler ones) in adult males than in females or young. Although they cannot fly they still retain stubby wings, which are used in displays by the males and to shelter their young from excessive sunshine by brooding females: Possibly the young use them for assistance in propulsion when running up slopes, too. They have three toes on each foot, two in front and one behind, and normally walk or stand using all three but may rise onto just the front pair when running at speed. Their diet consist mainly of seeds and some fruit, lizards and sometimes snakes, large insects, and very occasionally small mammals as well. They may follow herds of grazing mammals around, to exploit prey startled into the open by those, just as Ostriches do. The females do most of the work in incubating their eggs, although the males commonly also take shorter turns and will often stand guard nearby at other times as well. The form of “colonial” incubation seen in Ostriches is not practiced by these birds, but several pairs will often nest quite closely together in order to benefit from each other’s alertness to the presence of possible predators: There is some evidence that this is more likely to occur where the females are siblings.

The main reasons why I want our ‘secretary-bird/seriema equivalent to be related to cranes rather than [also] to bustards are that (1) I want this continent’s prehistoric fauna to have included a now-extinct lineage of ‘Terror Cranes’, rather like those of RL South America in form & function, and although the RL ones are now recognised as being not members of the “true” Cranes’ own order (having been moved, along with the related Seriemas, into a newly-erected order that is more closely related to the Falcons, Parrots, & Passerines…) deriving their counterparts here from a crane-like bird looks easier than doing so from a bustard-like one; and (2) given the name ‘Terror Cranes’, I thought that it would be nice if this lineage really was related to the “true” Cranes after all.
(I could have used certain prehistoric relatives of the RL “true” Cranes as ancestors for our ‘Ostrich’ equivalent, too, but only found out about those after I had already placed Bustriches on my list of the region’s possible birds… Possibly we have those, or at least had them in prehistory, on the northern continent instead…)
I am giving our ‘Secretary-bird’ equivalent the colloquial name of ‘Inspector-bird’, because of the way in which it seems to peer intently at the ground as it walks along foraging… “Specter” for short. The Latin name for its genus will be ‘Invigilator’, if that is available which I still need to check.

I have added the above details about these three species to the post ‘Birds: non-‘Passeriformes’ (II)’, as well.

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Re the Mousebirds: I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t make them as curious about humans (who have arrived only recently in their territory, after all) as the RL ‘Tufted Titmouse’ is, if you like: Yes/No?
In terms of appearance, that ‘Tufted Titmouse’ reminds me a bit of the ‘European Crested Tit’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_crested_tit), and the ‘Long-tailed Tit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-tailed_tit) also springs to mind as a possible comparison in some respects (although that uses feathers – possibly even scavenging some of them from other birds’ corpses! —rather than fur as a nest-lining) as well… Not that I’ve ever seen & recognized any members of either species in the wild, unfortunately. The use of hair or fur as a nest lining by birds isn’t unknown over here, though, and I’ve read about at least one species that quite often takes wool from [live] sheep…
Some species of birds line their nests with plant material that has insect-repelling properties, to help protect their young from parasites. Here in the UK, at least some urban populations of ‘House Sparrows’ have expanded that behaviour to include using discarded cigarette-ends, because of Nicotine’s insecticidal role. Unfortunately for the owner of one cottage with a thatched roof, one sparrow that was building a nest just under its eaves neglected to ensure that all of the cigarette-ends it was using there had been completely extinguished… ;-) (True story!)

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Of course we can have something similar to the Lilac-breasted Roller! In fact, Rollers are already on the list — alongside the related Kingfishers and Bee-eaters — although without any individual species named yet, anyway… Maybe go with a NS-related concept and make this one the ‘Violet Roller’?

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I have added some notes about another IDU-endemic family of birds whose range I think might extend into your nation to the post ‘Birds: non-‘Passeriformes’ (I)’, under the ‘(SUGGESTED)’ tag, as well. This is the family Falcostrigidae, which contains the ‘Falcon-Owlets’ and [probably extinct] Falcon-Owls.


Trees
Baobab trees were something that I’d considered briefly already but had then decided not to suggest. They are “cool”, I agree, but — even leaving aside the lack of overlap between their [current] RL range and the areas from which I saw this continent’s ancestral flora & fauna as having originated — they’re really specialised to cope with drier conditions than even your nation’s driest areas seem likely to have… and even if you do have a few small patches of suitable habitat for them those would probably be too far from any already-established population for colonisation to be likely. You can have them if you insist, of course, as this is your nation, but if so then I’ll leave explaining their presence for you to do…

The ‘seasonal’ woodland in some of the drier areas in your nation’s interior might, however, include one species of tree from the coniferous family Araucariaceae whose prehistoric range on RL Earth was wide enough to “justify” this even though it’s much more restricted nowadays. This is the family that contains the ‘Monkey-Puzzle Tree’ of RL Chile and its closest relatives, today with only one other species in South America and the rest restricted [in the wild] to Australasia (including the island of New Caledonia, to which about a dozen species are endemic, and nearby Norfolk Island whose native ‘Pine’ — spread elsewhere as a garden plant —is also a member) & parts of south-eastern Asia : During the Mesozoic Era it also had members in [e.g.] North America (giving Arizona’s ‘Petrified forest’) and England (giving ‘Whitby Jet’, which has been used in jewellery…). If you have a tree that’s a lot like the Momkey-Puzzle itself then not only would this be “cool” to look at but it would provide nutritious & tasty — although, admittedly, rather difficult to access — seeds.

I’ve remembered another tree-derived crop from RL Earth that your people could try to grow here, too: Macadamia Nuts. This species originated in the coastal rainforests of Australia, but a high proportion of today’s commercial production takes place in Hawaii instead so evidently spreading the species to new homes [with suitable climates] is practical.

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