50 Earth years
One of the oldest living beings on Anarkand, the Elytra are few and far between. These unusual sea creatures, whilst similar to the mythical mermaids of Earth, are very different. According to estimations, there are less than three hundred Elytra remaining on Anarkand. Conservation efforts have been futile due to a severe lack in male populations.
Elytra spottings are extremely rare, leading to fears that their numbers are dwindling even further.
Elytra begin life as semi bi-pedal human-like creatures. They require water and oxygen to breathe much in the way that dolphins do on Earth.
Genetics & Reproduction
Elytra have both male and female and reproduce much in the same way as humans do. Essence is transferred from the male to the female, who releases some of her own, resulting in the creation of an Elytran synergy which undergoes a defined development process that starts the typical 8-month gestation period, followed by childbirth.
Habitats & Ecology
The ocean is the eventual habitat of the Elytra. Of the few remaining Elytra, most will be found in the Anarkis Ocean, mainly due to the availability of food, reasonable temperatures, and a lack of predators.
Growth rate & stages
There are four stages to an Elytran life cycle, which are as follows:
The formative years - During this period they are bi-pedal and can crawl and eventually walk on land.
The Fusion stage - During this period, fish-like development begins, with fully-operational gills, tougher rubber-like skin replacing the previously soft tissues and cells, and air sacs, located near the lungs. At this stage in an Elytra's life, it will spend up to a year in the water under the protection of its parents. It cannot hunt, feed, or swim strongly, until the fusion stage is complete.
Adolescence - During adolescence, the Elytra will grow rapidly, reaching lengths of up to 7 feet. It is in this period, which lasts around fifteen years, that the Elytra is most fertile. This is a small window and is one of the biggest contributing factors in the decline of the species.
Adult - This is the final stage in Elytran life. Fertility is redundant, they no longer spend their time out of the water, at least not for anymore than a few moments. By now, they should have a life partner, some offspring, and a family unit, however this hasn't been observed amongst Elytra in centuries.
Elytra form strong social circles, or at least they did in the past. They are very protective of their family, which usually consists of a male, 3-4 females, and any number of offspring. Once a female Elytra has chosen a partner, it will remain with them for the rest of its life.
Geographic origin & distribution
Despite the fact that the vast majority of Elytra sightings take place around Anarkis Ocean, there have been occassions in history where the Elytra have been spotted around the Anima oceans, and even as far afield as Turrican.