Need some help with my amphibious reptilian

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caters
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Need some help with my amphibious reptilian

Post by caters »

So, I'm building this world where most of the lifeforms, for one reason or another, are reptiles, or at least reptilian. Now, I know there have been reptile dominant periods in Earth's history, so it isn't impossible for the modern ecosystem of another planet to be predominantly reptiles as well. I am working on the aquatic niches right now and I have come up with the idea of having one or more species of amphibious reptile. To make things clear, here is what I am proposing for the life cycle of an amphibious reptile(image is too big to show as an image, so I am posting it as a link):

https://i.stack.imgur.com/usLBf.png

So, their larvae look kind of like salamander larvae except for one thing, scales growing from the smooth skin(which is partly why I made them have external gills instead of the internal gills that fish have). As they grow, they look more and more like an aquatic lizard than a salamander because of the scale growth. As for their habitat, they live in ponds and lakes. They start off eating algae and other forms of plankton. As they grow, they eat bigger animals including fish, small aquatic reptiles, and arthropods.

Once they get to stage 3 of the larval form, the lungs have matured enough for them to start breathing through their lungs. As such, they reabsorb their external gills. And as the tail gets longer and more muscular, the tail fan gets reabsorbed. Once both the external gills and the tail fan have been reabsorbed, they are adults and they move from the water onto the land and live their adult lives a lot like that of a lizard.

The adults keep growing for a while. They also eat smaller reptiles and arthropods, so their diet is very similar to the larval diet. Occasionally, an adult will eat fish, but this normally occurs only when they are swimming from one place to another. When they are ready to lay their eggs, they go to a nearby pond, swim to a good location, and then lay their eggs.

Now, what to name them(they will be involved in a story after all)? Amphilizards? No, that gives away the design way too easily. Amphiliards? Nah. Ugh, I can't come up with a good nickname for them. The more complex species name(not the scientific name), I can come up with, but the nickname, I need help with. Also, is my amphibious reptile creature plausible?

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Micamo
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Re: Need some help with my amphibious reptilian

Post by Micamo »

caters wrote:
08 Dec 2019 07:20
So, I'm building this world where most of the lifeforms, for one reason or another, are reptiles, or at least reptilian. Now, I know there have been reptile dominant periods in Earth's history, so it isn't impossible for the modern ecosystem of another planet to be predominantly reptiles as well. I am working on the aquatic niches right now and I have come up with the idea of having one or more species of amphibious reptile. To make things clear, here is what I am proposing for the life cycle of an amphibious reptile(image is too big to show as an image, so I am posting it as a link):

https://i.stack.imgur.com/usLBf.png

So, their larvae look kind of like salamander larvae except for one thing, scales growing from the smooth skin(which is partly why I made them have external gills instead of the internal gills that fish have). As they grow, they look more and more like an aquatic lizard than a salamander because of the scale growth. As for their habitat, they live in ponds and lakes. They start off eating algae and other forms of plankton. As they grow, they eat bigger animals including fish, small aquatic reptiles, and arthropods.

Once they get to stage 3 of the larval form, the lungs have matured enough for them to start breathing through their lungs. As such, they reabsorb their external gills. And as the tail gets longer and more muscular, the tail fan gets reabsorbed. Once both the external gills and the tail fan have been reabsorbed, they are adults and they move from the water onto the land and live their adult lives a lot like that of a lizard.

The adults keep growing for a while. They also eat smaller reptiles and arthropods, so their diet is very similar to the larval diet. Occasionally, an adult will eat fish, but this normally occurs only when they are swimming from one place to another. When they are ready to lay their eggs, they go to a nearby pond, swim to a good location, and then lay their eggs.

Now, what to name them(they will be involved in a story after all)? Amphilizards? No, that gives away the design way too easily. Amphiliards? Nah. Ugh, I can't come up with a good nickname for them. The more complex species name(not the scientific name), I can come up with, but the nickname, I need help with. Also, is my amphibious reptile creature plausible?
There's one thing I'm not clear on: Are these sapient aliens with language and civilization?

If so, there are a couple of potential objections: First of all, it's not clear if it'd be viable for a cold-blooded species to have brains large and complex enough for human-like intelligence. Second, it's doubtful that they'd evolve such intelligence without having some kind of social, cooperative survival strategy in place first, which they seemingly do not.

I wouldn't worry about these too much, though. We only have one data point for intelligent species: Us. We can't really say anything about what is plausible and what is not for an intelligent species, except to do shitty evopsych just-so storytelling. Do whatever you need to do for your sci-fi story to work.


As for a name, well, you're on a conlang forum, so a conlang could work. If you don't want to do that though there are two good ways to go about naming things:

1. First, use english words, but replace phonemes with ones that are similar-sounding. "Amphilizards" -> "Emphelazros." It sounds bad if you know what you did, but for a casual sci-fi or fantasy reader they won't notice and the name will work pretty well, and it requires minimal research on your part.

2. Second, use words from some other earth language that your english-speaking audience will likely not be familiar with. If your setting has some connection to earth and you can justify this naming with backstory, all the better. As an example idea, "Xiyi" is mandarin chinese for "lizard." As backstory, you could say that the planet was first purchased and charted by a chinese mining company, and thus the planet's species and land masses were all given mandarin names. The planet was then sold off when the company went bankrupt and is now settled by anglophone colonists, but the mandarin names mostly stuck (with a few things having english additions: They might go from "Xiyi" to "Xiyi Lizards" or something.)

Though, a word of caution of you use this second method: If your setting has no connection to earth, do not, I repeat, do not pretend that the words you borrowed from real earth languages are part of a made-up language that you invented. Not only will you embarrass yourself, but it's highly disrespectful to treat real people as if they were fictional.
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Zekoslav
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Re: Need some help with my amphibious reptilian

Post by Zekoslav »

There's obviously no precedent for scaleless skin becoming scaled as an animal grows on Earth, so it's difficult to answer whether that's plausible or not. When I was reading some discussions of scales and feathers in dinosaurs, I often read statements that developmental biologists have found out that it's not possible for feathers to fall off as the animal matures and for scales to grow in their place. But having scaly skin from the get go would make the existence of external gills difficult, since they require naked, porous skin to function. There's very likely a solution for both of these problems and otherwise the animal looks plausible to me.

Basically, you animal would likely be considered an amphibian by terrestrial biologists, albeit one highly adapted to dry land when adult. It reproduces in water by laying anamniotic eggs, it's larvae live in water and respirate by gills. It's skin, however, is not permeable like that of terrestrial amphibians, but more like that of terrestrial reptiles. Ironically this makes it more "amphibious" than terrestrial amphibians since they are still bound to water or at least humid conditions when adults, while yours is completely free to inhabit as dry places as it likes (I know there's desert frogs and the like, but they still make their small pockets of humidity in their burrows AFAIK).
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