Njalryeth are a smooth-skinned amphibious species that evolved from land-dwelling ancestors. They have a muscular tail with flukes, a robust torso, two arms, and a large head similar to that of the Earth orca. Their skin is a glossy black with striking white patterns around the eyes and along the underbelly. Their eyes are small and wide-set, and they lack discernable external ears and nostrils.
Njalryeth have a carbon-based biology with a calcium skeleton. Their mouths are full of sharp conical teeth. Their hands feature webbing between the fingers, suction cups on the palms, and sharp claws perfectly suited for gripping onto large prey. Their wrists are connected to the ribs by an extendable membrane that turns the arms into a pair of fins to improve swimming speed.
Njalryeth require oxygen to survive. They breathe through a blowhole at the base of the neck, which also contains their scent glands and is used to expel seawater when surfacing after a dive. Powerful lungs allow the njalryeth to hold their breath for considerable periods of time.
Though they evolved from land-dwelling ancestors, the njalryeth physiology is ill-suited for movement out of the water. Because they lack legs, a njalryeth must use its arms to drag itself along the ground, a slow and uncomfortable process. The tail is flexible enough that it can be folded to serve as a rudimentary leg, and a properly-trained njalryeth can use this method to move about more quickly on three "limbs", but this is a tiring and uncomfortable form of locomotion.
The njalryeth are obligate carnivores and can eat a wide variety of different meats.
Genders and Reproduction
The njalryeth have two genders, male and female. Males are generally larger than the females, reaching 3.6 meters from snout to flukes on average compared to the females' 3 meters. Sexual dimorphism is relatively subtle, with females having slighter builds and longer flukes while males have thicker lower jaws. Both sexes have internal genitalia and four breasts: two on the chest and two above a pair of vestigial hips.
After courtship, the female comes ashore to lay her eggs in a communal hatchery. After 2-3 months the eggs hatch. Njalryeth mature relatively quickly, and are considered adults by the age of 12. Males can reach an average lifespan of 70 years, while females can live to an average of 85 years.