Orca seawing

apologies of the bottom right it ended up looking weird

hi guys, i was sketching around today during my last class and i decided to give some seawings a redesign. and i wanted to spout about biology i barely know about!

i was struck by the amount of kind of.... extraneous detail that seawings have that, in our real life world, would probably not fly for a top-of-the-food-chain marine predator. so I wanted to see what a SeaWing would look like with more orca/crocodile/dolphin looks!

As you can see I attempted to do with a pen, there would be countershading in the scales (which I imagine, if not fully grey/black like an orca's, then would be at least much murkier colors of blue to blend in with the water a little better). this would allow a dragon to be harder to notice both below and above in the water, which is generally better than being very noticeable, especially since seawings don't have venom nor are poisonous.

I also took out most of the extra spots, leaving in a few in important areas like the face, shoulders, legs, etc. I feel there might be little ones on the tips of the claws as well (well, not the claws themselves, but on the paw below it). finally, I changed the facial structure a little bit, shortening it and shaping it more like a dolphin's. little teeth for grasping fish and the like. the webbed claws are a bit obvious, and passed over from the original design.

As well as that, I added larger fins for the legs and a taller but more curved spinal frill. I like to imagine it like a sailfish - normally flattened down completely to allow maximum streamlining in the water, but puffed up when threatened, excited, communicating, slowing down real quickly, etc.

I added more height to the end of the tail, flaring out into flukes like fish. I haven't decided whether to go the fish tail route (side to side with vertical flukes, like this picture is showing) or the mammal tail route (up and down, with horizontal flukes, like whales and the like) because, while the former would be more alike to a reptile's regular swimming pattern, the bone structure and gait for dragons seems a little more mammal-like regardless (legs going down beneath rather than going out, which also shapes the spine a little differently and decides how it best will undulate. that's why, no matter how hard we try, we will never wiggle horizontally fast enough in a pool to be able to get anywhere, but its really easily if you wiggle vertically. try it out sometime when there's nobody else around to comment on your grace in the water)

for the legs, i wanted to shorten them a little bit, more muscular for grasping prey, and easier to tuck underneath when swimming fast. after all, if you have large wings and a strong tail for propulsion through the water, you don't really need legs all that much. look at the alligator/crocodile if you want - that was where I got the inspiration. (in fact, now that I think about that, a lot of what I had done was to make the seawing more crocodile and dolphin-like. what can I say, they're master predators. and also really cool)

the most challenging part would probably have to be the wings. after all, large and bulky wings would lead to drastic slowing down. i can't take the wings off of a dragon, that would be blasphemous! so I redesigned them as overly large paddles, as well as easily swept back to allow an arrow-shape hydrofoil through the water. they'll still be 'wings,' but they sure aren't flying anywhere with them. not that seawings could anyway, what with the muscular necessity to swim as fast as they are. and how big they are and im getting pedantic

i haven't figured out exactly how they would work with the dragon with regards to locomotion quite yet, or even bone structure. it's probably a nightmare of a joint at the shoulder, but with these shorter, thicker, and more rounded paddles rather than wings, then dragons could have an easier time making their way through water and could even beat them to go even further? (check out pleisosaurs or penguins for what im trying to get at generally, i was thinking a little along the lines of those, but once again, i don't know how wings would work again.)

hm, what else am i missing?

  • i don't doubt that there is a lot of blubber on seawings - oceans can get COLD and i'm sure that, despite their tropical location, the fact that a lot of dragons live relatively deep under the water would mean that they need to be able to keep themselves warm. i probably didn't show it off well enough here - i don't think there's a reptilian equivalent to blubber since they are coldblooded, and i don't know how it would interact with scales.
  • would they have whalesong? nah, probably not, since the lights allow for nonverbal underwater communication. would still be cool to imagine though........ hm.....
  • i think that the spots, when dark, would probably not show up all that much against the scales. also, i left in the traily lights on the chin. i don't know why. i probably shouldn't have included them but they looked too cool.
  • was it ever specified what exactly seawings ate, or was the generally accepted answer 'everything?' because yeah. an animal that big is going to need a lot of sustenance. especially a warm blooded and highly active large animal. hope they aren't wrecking the ecological balance in the kingdom of the sea as a result, though.
  • they discovered a fluorescent sea turtle! did you know that? it isn't exactly luminescence (which is emitting light vs reflecting light in different colors) but its as close to a glowing reptile as we are going to get!
  • i have no clue as to how animus magic works or how genetically its passed or how any of that works out. and i dont want to know how it works out. (yes i do. a lot.)
  • also - no ears, since most aquatic creatures lack external ears (ugh water in my ears all of the time) and also external ears causes a lot of heat loss.
  • i was hesitant to mess with the horns all that much (on the one hand, no self-respecting water creatures has something as unwieldy as horns, but on the other... you can hardly identify a dragon without the big horns!) i settled with making them a little smaller and swept back)
  • do you suppose seawings are in any way electroreceptive, like a catfish or shark? that would be kind of cool.

so what do you think? like my orca-crocodile-fish dragons?

(if i think of any others for the other tribes, ill post them as well if you want. have any ideas for other tribes? go ahead and let me know!)

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