Serrabucca piscivora


It may take time to get used to the shape of Furahan creatures. A common reaction is to use words such as 'monster' for animals with perhaps less cuddly features. Beware: those who do so are immediately recognized as uncouth offworlders. While Furahan citizen-scientists pride themselves on being scientific, they do tend to use 'scientific correctness' to set themselves apart from less enlightened souls. They may wax lyrical over shapes that others may find disturbing or even repulsive. Offworlders and citizen-scientists agree that the spectacle of a confrontation of two sawjaws in the mating period is impressive, but they may do so for quite different reasons.

Sawjaws belong to the group Callicolli, better known as 'Fishes V'. This is the group from which terrestrial hexapods evolved, probably some 400 million years ago, but the group did not stop evolving then. Its teeth are well suited to get and keep a grip on slippery shapes. The 'caterpillar ridges' inside the mouth push any morsel of food towards the gullet. Note the respiratory inlets on the animal's sides.

Note that the scale image shown here suggests that it might be a good idea to swim in waters inhabited by sawjaws. It is not, and a discussion arose as to how this should be made clear to the public. The Magisterial Board initially ruled that: "...a failure to indicate that swimming in certain waters might carry a risk of grievous bodily harm will be reprehensible and likely to result in prolonged legal involvement at great financial risk to the party failing to indicate said danger, i.e. the State, provided the offended party, i.e. the deceased's relatives, can foot the legal bill."

The IFB's Decanate, having digested the dense grammar, overruled this attempt to legalise danger, stating that a failure to grasp the dangers posed by large, powerful predators should be considered a regrettable lack of primary survival skills and/or intelligence, so the primary consideration was evolutionary biology, a matter outside the realm of law and the Magisterial Board.

So is it allowed to swim in these waters? Certainly! But first have a look at the sawjaw's teeth and size and consider whether or not you WANT to?

Habitat: rivers and streams
Distribution: Tropical belt of Auralgia
Mass: up to 600 kg
Length: up to 4 m

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Sean Nastrazurro, later famous for his thornbush studies, dabbled for a while in nature writing. As a warning we will provide an excerpt from his book 'Face to Fang':

"The rains swell the river, and all of gorged and tumescent nature becomes restless! The previously placid sawjaws now breach often, and raise their gleaming flippers to the golden light of the dazzling sun. During the incessant Rain Time their beauty is austere and brooding; now, when everything swells, shudders and steams vigorously, their raw muscular power is magnificent. Their teeth, capable of goring an infant marshwallow's soft pallid entrails, or of reducing a mudbutt with one snap to a splatter of tiny bits of crimson meat and a spray of ochre blood, sparkle in the rays of light, as the animals bellow and shake their ponderous heads forcefully to and fro. The rancid smell emanating from their turgid gorge sacs washes over the water, rousing others to join in the fracas. The gorge's distended yellow pleats glitter with rivulets of water and phlegm. Booming and protracted burping sounds cascade over the banks. The sawjaws raise their ridged and scaly backs to dizzying heights in the humid air. Sometimes they spread no less than four of their six flippers in the air at the time, before they flounder back with a thunderous splash! The larger combatant rises into the fumes, and dazzles his antagonists' compound eyes with flecks of light from white teeth, sparkling with refracted sunlight. The lesser bucks spit frothingly and hiss in frustrated awe. The sight and smells are stirring and arousing, but are as nothing compared to the an actual Mating Meeting."

The rest of the book is very similar; enough said?