The Spinostome clade is united through the possession of bristly, inverted second heads that facilitate the breakdown of food items as they are successively inverted-and-everted. Most Spinostome species are predators and their second heads thus function as “blenders” to process their prey. Although diverse, the overall count of Spinostome species is low when compared to recently evolved clades such as Kahydronts, Fututoriformes and relatives. They survive mostly on the scattered landmasses around Aucaterra, Western Vesterna and Mapag; holdouts from a previous age. Historically, Spinostomes were far more diverse and included large predators as well as herbivores among their numbers. It is thought that the evolution of “advanced” predatory and herbivorous lineages on the mainland continents contributed to their downfall.


Species: Kinetodirus cranioclasta
Common Names: Red Headbanger, Headbanger.
Size: 90-180 centimeters long.
Habitat: Plains and Erythrophyte scrublands around Aucaterra.

The largest Spinostome on Snaiad, the Red Headbanger is the only member of its group, the Kinetodira. It regularly terrorizes Aucaterran plains; charging out of nowhere to dispatch its unwary prey with hatchet-like blows of its massive head. By no means a devoted macropredator, it has also been observed feeding on plants and most curiously, shooting out its spine-studded secondary head to snatch small “snacks”.

Although imposing, these predators’ baroque hunting strategy was no match for the deadly efficiency of Fututors and Kahydrons. Precisely for this reason, it is found only on Aucaterra, where competition is missing. A dwarf, dog-sized population of this species can be found on the nearby Isla Scylla.


Species: Pseudokahydron vorax
Common Names: Not-hydron, Sulker.
Size: Up to 2 meters long.
Habitat: Found only in the Aucaterran Pinnacle Range.

Sulking silently through the gallery plains and citadel trees on the Aucaterran Pinnacle Range, Pseudokahydron was initially believed to be a true Kahyron that had somehow crossed over the Aucaterran sea. A careful examination revealed that this animal was actually a wonder of convergent evolution; a Spinostome that had independently developed hoof-claws and biting jaws similar to the mainland predators. Unlike true Kahydrons, of course, Pseudokahydron has an inverted claw-hoof combination, no hydraulic muscles in its jaws, (it kills its prey with blows of its head like its Kinetodiran cousins,) and the characteristic Spinostome second head bristling with tiny teeth.

While the larger Headbangers are the dominant hunters in the red Aucaterran plains, Pseudokahydron is a localized “lurk and dash” chaser in pinnacle ranges. It waits silently in the thickets beneath citadel tree, and bursts out running when it spots its prey on the gallery plain. It can run very fast thanks to the fluid-filled “pumper pads” on its elongated hind feet, but seldom maintains this burst of activity for more than a few seconds. At night, it also forays into the surrounding plains in search of smaller, nocturnal prey.


Species: Serrator hydrophilus
Common Name: Water Rattler, Rattleback.
Size: 30-50 centimeters.
Habitat: Alongside rivers in the Azonic Jungle.

While large predators such as Headbangers and Not-hydrons get the entire spotlight, the majority of Spinostome diversity is made up of innocuous, small predators and omnivores like the lizardy Serrator. United in the clade Microspinostoma, these animals have more than two hundred species in total. Particularly adapted for swimming and hunting small prey along the Azonic riverbanks, S. hydrophilus has a flattened, paddle-like tail, and a very large, extended second head with a rosette of grasping spines at the end. Its neck and back are decorated with detachable spikes of an uncertain purpose. Not much use except in grooming, its first head has been reduced to a withered stalk in the males. In females, the first head is not much different except in the breeding season, when it neck swells enormously to accommodate the developing young. A diverse group, the Microspinostomans have egg-laying as well as live-bearing species in their ranks.


Species: Achantosmus seffira
Common Name: Rat, Straw Rat.
Size: 20-25 centimeters.
Habitat: A variety of habitats all across Notor north of the Edomite Mountains.

Until recently, the group of hairy Spinostomes containing Achantosmus had been lumped together with the lizard-like Microspinostomans. However, several fossil discoveries, as well as genetic studies pointed out to the two groups’ distinct natural histories. While Microspinostomans were more basal forms that were ancestral to most other Spinostomes, Achantosmus and relatives, contained in the group Fibrospinostoma, were actually the withered descendants of the weird and wonderful “giant Spinostomes” that became extinct forty to thirty million years ago.

A defining characteristic of Fibrospinostomans was their possession of a hairy coat. Evolved from the microscopic hairs that invisibly cover the bodies of most Snaiadi land animals, these lush coats serve to protect them against the biting cold of Notor. Completely unaware of its unusual natural history, Achantosmus seffira is an opportunistic omnivore that lives in burrows and feeds on whatever food is available. They constitute a large part of the diets of local predators such as Howlrunners, (Xenodromos sp.)


Species: Arbonyx tuanaensis
Common Name: Spinosloth.
Size: Up to 110 centimeters long.
Habitat: Vesternian Pinnacle Range. Related species found in the Azonic Jungle.

Markedly different from other Spinostomes, the herbivorous, armored, tree-climbing Spinosloths bear witness to the past diversity of their group. The only survivors from a group that included running grazers and huge, horned browsers, these animals spend their days placidly feeding on arboreal vegetation. They hang dead-still from branches for hours at a time, moving only their spiny mouths in and out as they try to squeeze the nutrients from their tough diet. It is estimated that three-fourths of Spinosloths’ lives are spent this way. Although very slow, Spinosloths can defend themselves aggressively with their claws if necessary. Sometimes, these organs are used for offense as well as defense. A related species (A. azonicus) whose range overlaps with Haplobrachid Slothsnakes in the Azonic jungle has been observed deliberately killing (and sometimes eating) young Slothsnakes, perhaps in order to reduce competition.



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All artwork, concepts and names associated with this project belong to C. M. Kosemen, unless otherwise stated.