Friday, August 28, 2020

All About The Airctopus

The airctopus is a non-existent creature that I doodled one day at work and eventually used as a form of creative procrastination. I made up little facts about the airctopus, its habits, behavior, etc. and posted them to social media. I did all this when I should have been writing more stories. But it was fun, and was kind of like writing little stories so I'm not going to feel bad about it. In fact, I'm telling myself it was good practice! I am however not asking myself what exactly it was good practice for.

So here are all my procrastination social media posts gathered together in one blog post. Not necessarily in order.

Although I'd doodled airctopuses before, this was the first one that led to creating fun fact posts about them. My tweet said: "I'm supposed to be writing so I drew some airctopuses in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. #amprocrastinating"

Airctopus Fun Fact #1: The airctopus is much more closely related to the jelly fish than the octopus for which it is named, but airctopuses just think airctopus sounds cooler than jelly bird.
Airctopus Fun Fact #2: The airctopus can modulate its internal body temperature allowing it to rise and fall in the atmosphere as if were a miniature hot air balloon.

Airctopus Fun Fact #3: Airctopuses were originally thought to be a form of fungus as they reproduce via spores. Further study has shown that airctopuses are not a fungus, and frankly they did not appreciate the implication at all.

Airctopus Fun Fact #4: After their spore phase, airctopuses enter their fry stage. They are no longer dependent on the whims of the air currents and can be seen engaging in simple air play which prepares them for the aerial acrobatics adult airctopuses are known for.

Airctopus Fun Fact #5: Airctopus elders are revered and loved by their pods. But airctopus coloring fades with age and elders find if harder to constantly stay afloat. They will perch on tree branches for support where they are regularly mistaken for stray plastic grocery bags.

Airctopus Fun Fact #6: The airctopus usually moves slowly and deliberately, however when the need arises to make a swift exit (or when performing aerial acrobatics) the airctopus can inhale a large quantity of air (Fig. A) and quickly expel that air (Fig. B) to make its getaway.

Airctopus Fun Fact #7: Airctopuses do not make good pets. Highly social, they must be around their own kind and they enjoy their freedom too much to allow themselves to be held captive for long. Also due to their dietary habits they should not be kept in confined spaces. #poot

Airctopus Fun Fact #8: The fossil record has revealed an evolutionary predecessor of the airctopus known as airctolopithecus. Below is an artist's rendering of this early airctopus relative.

Airctopus Fun Fact #9: Airctopuses have been observed capturing fireflies inside their body hollow at dusk in order to make themselves glow in the dark. It is not known if this display is designed to attract a mate or just to tick off the fireflies.

Airctopus Fun Fact #10: Airctopuses can be very smart, but individual IQ levels span a wide spectrum. For example, an airctopus that has temporarily taken on the shape of a triangle may have an interest in geometry, or it may just be trying to make friends with a traffic sign.

When Airctopus pods cross paths, they will sometimes form impromptu choirs and compete against each other in displays of dominance. The choirs will sing songs of ancient airctopus lore, mating call songs, and their favorite, doo wop.

The usually solitary Spider-Eyed Airctopus is a rare subspecies found in temperate deciduous forests. Their multiple eyes are thought to have evolved to see in multiple directions in dark forests. They are the only airctopus subspecies with eight tentacles.

It is thought the extra tentacles evolved to help the Spider-Eyed Airctopuses travel through the trees from branch to branch, unlike the Monkey-Faced Airctopus found in tropical rainforests which only has four tentacles but did evolve a prehensile tail.

Usually found in small family pods, Monkey-Faced Airctopuses use their prehensile tails to travel the understory of the rainforest in search of fruit. Scientists believe their facial markings evolved to help them more easily make friends with real monkeys.

Monkey-faced airctopuses have been observed interacting with monkeys and sometimes lemurs. Usually offering joy rides above the rainforest canopy in exchange for food.

Before being identified as an airctopus subspecies, Spectral or Cave airctopuses were thought to be the ghosts of spelunkers that died while exploring caves. Their translucent bodies, large red eyes, and moaning vocalizations did not help to dispel this myth.

It is now known that their vocalizations, which sound like moans and shrill screams, are a startle reaction that occurs when they find humans trespassing in their domain.

Jellibyrd Foods, a snack food company, is the only business to ever use an airctopus (known as a Jellybird in some regions of the world) as its logo/mascot. Sadly, they went out of business after a competitor started rumors that airctopus was an ingredient in Jellibyrd products.

The Jellibyrd Foods mascot was named Hungry the Jellybird and was depicted with its mouth wide open ready to eat more snacks. Hungry's catch phrase was YUM YUM! I'M HUNGRY!

A real airctopus was originally hired to act as Hungry the Jellybird but after it had a very public and very bad reaction to their Shrimpee-Shrimp snack chips, Jellibyrd Foods decided to use a costumed-human mascot instead.

And that is it so far as of 08/28/2020.