Great Blue Realm (warm regions only)
8-10 years (in the wild)
|Avg. Height||8-10 in.|
|Avg. Weight||1.5-2 lbs.|
|Gestation Period||1 month|
|No# of Offspring||7-8|
Umikuji are a common species that lives on the planet Mobius, and are a type of Summon, as well.
Somewhat resembling chunkier axolotls, Umikuji have chubby bodies with short, stubby limbs and long, fat tails that are typically longer than their entire bodies. Their skin is constantly covered by a thin film of mucus that not only keeps them from drying out while out of the water, but also makes it deceptively hard for predators to grab a hold of them; the mucus and their skin is also quite poisonous.
Umikuji are strikingly marked and colored, and have a wide array of frills and tendrils of different shapes and sizes adorning their bodies. It is their gorgeous coloration that serves as a warning of deadly poison to would-be predators.
Umikuji come in a wide variety of subspecies, all of which are based on different species of nudibranch.
Umikuji are known for having one of the largest amount of subspecies for a single-Element creature, alongside the Sylphs and Quetzalcoatl, who also boast a wide array of colorful and variable subspecies.
Umikuji thrive in warm, tropical waters, and are most commonly found in the warmer regions of the Great Blue Realm, as well as the coastline of the continents of Tralius, Soumerca and, more rarely, Yurashia. The subspecies known as the Magma Umikuji (primarily named for its coloration and pattern) makes its home near undersea volcanic vents.
Having so few predators due to their highly poisonous mucus and skin, Umikuji are amiable and curious creatures, and very rarely afraid of people. It is common for them to swim right up to divers out of curiosity; unfortunately, this also makes them quite easy targets for those who'd want to hunt and/or poach them.
Umikuji are omnivores, and typically eat small fish and crustaceans; they may also feed on any sea plants such as algae and kelp, and have also been known to eat jellyfish and anemones, being immune to the poison those creatures typically carry.
While they typically hunt in the water, they have been known to go to tide pools and feast on the creatures trapped within, and also dig for clams and crab on beaches and other shorelines. In a surprisingly display of intelligence, they have been seen using rocks to break through the tough shells of clams and crabs, as their own jaws are not strong enough to accomplish this.
Apart from their chubbiness being almost universally adored, their fat stores leftover nutrients and energy from whatever they eat, allowing them to fast for weeks or even months on end.
Umikuji lay clutches of seven to eight eggs about an inch and a half in diameter; the eggs are kept in a sort of mucus sac and stored deep within a hole dug in the sea bed by the mother. Both parents will check on the eggs several times per day, taking turns and using their Water manipulation abilities to bring fresh seawater into the den.
While not terribly fast swimmers, their deceptively flexible and slippery bodies allow them to squeeze into considerably tight places if it's necessary; however, they are slow and clumsy on land, yet many people find their awkward waddling gaits to be endearing. The whiskers on their snouts are highly sensitive and capable of detecting minute vibrations in the water, and are even capable of electroreception, which makes up for their rather poor eyesight and hearing. They have quite a good sense of smell, though.
As mentioned earlier, the poisonous mucus and skin of the Umikuji protects it from a great deal of predators who might try to eat it. However, they are generally safe to touch, so long as ones hands are washed afterwards; the Umikuji's poison is only dangerous if ingested, or if it gets into any open wound or sore.
Umikuji have the natural ability to manipulate the Element of Water. They can shoot streams of water at considerable velocities, partially inflating their bodies and using the contraction of their muscles to force the water out. They are typically seen using energy-based techniques of the Water Element, such as Water Pulse and Bubblebeam.
Being creatures aligned with the Element of Water, it is no surprise that they would be weak to the Elements of Fire and Electricity.
While they are amphibious, and can go onto land whenever they wish (they typically do this to traverse to tide pools), they are not able to stay on land for extended periods of time, due to the risk of drying out. A layer of mucus over their skin help to protect them from drying out in the sun and air too quickly, and they are generally able to stay out of the water for an hour at most.
However, on particularly dry, hot days, they run the risk of drying out much faster; if one finds a heat-exhausted, dry-skinned Umikuji on a coastline or beach, they are advised to bring them back into the water so that they can survive. On rainy, moisture-heavy days, however, Umikuji can stay out of the water for significantly longer periods of time; indeed, rainy days are when they are most likely to hunt on land.
Those who own Umikuji, typically as a Summon.
In some parts of Mobius, the meat of the Umikuji is actually considered a high-priced delicacy; when prepared properly, it is safe to eat, much like how fugu (the dish prepared from pufferfish) is edible when prepared properly. Also like fugu, Umikuji meat requires specialized chefs to prepare it, and they are required to undergo two to three years worth of extensive training in order to obtain a license for this. A single, tiny mistake in the preparation process can have disastrous consequences.
Umikuji are also common victims of the exotic pet trade.
A popular television show that originated from Yurashia features a female Bubblegum Umikuji named Baburu-chan (or sometimes just Baburu) as its main protagonist, being an optimistic, kind, yet somewhat naïve character. It is a show primarily aimed towards children and has some educational qualities (primarily based on sea life and the conservation of Mobius' oceans), although older viewers can still find enjoyment with the show for the surprisingly deep storylines it can have.
Baburu-chan is considered quite the icon in some parts of Yurashia, and merchandise of her and her friends is common.
- Umikuji is a portmanteau of umi and namekuji, the Japanese words for "sea" and "slug", respectively.
- Despite the fact that Umikuji are poisonous, they are not able to manipulate the Element of Poison.