The Steel Hide

The steel hide is a member of a a biological group called the di-tetramorphs it is the largest and most wide ranging of the animal groups on the Pharlan home world. In the first stage the individuals are usually fairly large (this stage is denoted as the primary stage) and have two sets of chromasomes just like you and me (look back at your biology). However insted of being male and female they are unisexual and all individuals produce large numbers of very small offspring in packets of eggs. These offspring have only one set of chromasomes each. They look almost nothing like the parents. The first eggs of these packets to hatch become sexually mature, grow wings and search for a mate. The first female with a mate to return to her waiting siblings asserts command over the whole clutch and they live colonially like ants or termites. The mated female grows in size and produces a small version of the primary stage steel hide which then, grows up partially on it's own and is usually 'adopted' by roving herds of primary stage steel hide. This biological style is based on the real life, life cycle of ferns.

The Adult (primary stage) Steel Hide
Height: 5-6 ft
Length: 10ft
Weight: 2 tons
The steel-hide is so named because of it's thick, tough hide that is near ly impenetrable except to the talons of a Pharlan. The name steel hide comes from the first visitors to rona who found the beast virtually immune to their weapons. The Pharlan name for it is Gakra Rek which means something like wily or "hard to catch" food. The steel hide is probably the most dangerous creature on Rona because of it's aggressive nature and extreme size, strength and power. Typically a stell hide will attack any animal it deems to be a threat(which is almost everything). Steelhide however will flee from Phalrans as a general rule and are much faster than a pharlan on foot. Pharlans generally MUST attack steel hide from the air to stand a chance of making a kill. Occasionally an ambush attack will work but this is unusual. The steel hide's quills are a major hazard to any pharlan who desires a meal of steel hide, especially since the pharlan's chest area is vulnerable to piercing attacks. It is essentially a "super prey" animal much as the pharlans can be considered a "super predator". The steel hide is an extremely intelligent creature roaming the plains, forests and even deserts in family groups. It's weaponry includes the three horns, spikes on the back of its rear legs- good for slashing at predators approaching from behind, and quills on the tail and head. With these weapons the steel hide is be more than a match for most predators on Rona. There are varieties of Steel hide found in nearly every environment on Rona. The largest is the Savannah version which is the one pictured above. Steel hide are capable of very fast reproduction due to their dimorphic nature. Colonies of secondary stage stell hide can churn out large numbers of baby steel hide. The small eggs of the steel hide are also capabel of surviving years in the soil before hatching. This makes steel hide a very pernicious species and very hard to eliminate from an area once established.