I've decided, for the time being, to use this space as something of a "creator's commentary." I'll talk about the latest updates on the project, what's inspired them, and some noteworthy decisions I made in the creative process. This is kind of what I've been doing with the blog any way, but I'm going to be more proactive with it.
With that said, I've started work on the second to last biome: the ballerina forest. Details about local flora are still in early development, but the general idea is a forest of lithe trees that twist and pose to maximize their exposure to sunlight. I imagine them resembling graceful dancers, but that may change as the design refines somewhat.
The first nereid of the group is the fulgie. It's the last nidovalve of my first batch of species, and is also closely related to another nereid, the flashbulb. I'm noticing now that I approach my 100 species benchmark that a lot of the species are in the same genus as-- or at least very closely related to-- previously featured nereids. This introduces some interesting challenges, such as how I can develop a species that closely resembles others while making them unique, interesting, and worth giving attention within the project.
What sets the fulgie apart from the crowd is its resemblance to flowers. I came up with this feature before I decided nereid plants should be flowerless-- at least as we know flowers on Earth. The concept sat as I worked on other species, but now that I came to it again it occurred to me that resembling a flower would be a useless adaptation in a world without flowers! Undaunted, I switched gears with the concept: now the flowery appearance isn't to hide, but to be seen; that they resembles flowers on a bush is more a result of terrestrial eyes than nereid evolutionary pressures.
The jester chaparro is the other new nereid of the batch. From the beginning I imagined it being the laughing hyena of the family, and drew on the mischief of corvids for inspiration. As the reader you'll have to make your own judgment on how I did with it. After I posted it, the folks at SE pointed out to me that kritocauds appear to have no pupil in their eyes. Well, that's a very good thing to point out. If I can't figure out a way to justify the apparent lack (a pupil so small it's not easily noticed, multiple tiny pupils in a compound-like eye, or some strange reflection of light that makes the pupils always seem red) then I might just have to chalk it up to artistic license and/or think about inserting pupils at some point in the future.
That's all I have right for right now. I have two more nereids in pencilwork and written outlines at this point, so keep a lookout for 'em!