Amphimorpho

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An amphimorpho, also known as a tuxedo dragon based on their fur patterns, is an extraterrestrial, shapeshifting species created by Tuxedo Dragon, and are an open species. Others are allowed to create amphimorpho characters and to adapt or deviate from established anatomy or canon without obtaining permission.

Anatomy[edit]

Amphimorpho are mammal-like hybrids with long, serpentine bodies and thick, prehensile tails. They typically have four or six limbs (two or four forelimbs, and two digitigrade hind limbs), rounded snouts, long rabbit-like ears, and semi-dexterous cat-like paws. Most individuals have a vestigial pouch on their stomachs. There are no sexes, with all amphimorpho capable of breeding with any other.

Fully grown adults usually range from 1.8 to 2 meters from snout to rear, with tails typically being an additional 2.7 to 4 meters in length. They are surprisingly light despite their size, usually weighing less than 115 kilograms.

They are covered in dense fur that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Bi-coloured schemes are the most common, lending the species the moniker of "tuxedo dragons". Colors can be changed with ease, and it is theorized that this is used as a factor in their communication.

They lack nostrils, instead using their tongues and olfactory organs in the roof of the mouth to smell. They have an acute sense of taste, preferring to forage for more flavorful food sources over subsiding on abundant but bland grassland. They are typically herbivorous, but will opportunistically eat meat if it's available.

Shapeshifting ability[edit]

Amphimorpho cellular makeup is unusually fluid and impressionable, a consequence of their genetic engineering and the accelerated healing ability of their progenitor species. This fluidity permits them the ability to take on the visual appearance of any creature or object they can imagine, as well as maintaining the ability to rapidly heal from injuries.

To complement this, amphimorpho are capable of 'imprinting' on other living beings by touching them with their paws. This incorporates some of the subject's DNA into the amphimorpho's body, allowing them to near-perfectly reproduce the subject visually and internally. Amphimorpho can still reproduce the outward appearance of something from sight alone, but cannot reproduce internal structures without first imprinting.

The shapeshifting process is physically demanding, however. Amphimorpho require a high-calorie intake to be able to maintain the ability to shift. If they are hungry, tired, injured or stressed, an amphimorpho may struggle to shapeshift or maintain a shifted form.

Amphimorpho can influence their density slightly, but cannot shapeshift into something substantially larger or smaller than their regular size.

Intelligence[edit]

Although feral in appearance, amphimorpho are extremely intelligent with proven sapience, having been observed to perform complex tasks, learn human languages, exercise reason and work alongside humans. Those in the wild have been found to have established societal structures and a distinct culture of their own.

Amphimorpho communication combines a variety of factors, combining spoken language, chirps, squeaks, body language and physical presentation. They don't use gendered words or pronouns when speaking, due to the species lacking the concept of sex or gender.

They display a range of personalities but are typically playful, curious and social creatures who dislike being isolated from their peers.

History[edit]

Amphimorpho (Proteus amphimorpho) were genetically engineered as part of 'Project Delta'. They are a combination of the DNA from various Earth species and Proteus protomorpho—an alien species that exhibited accelerated cellular regeneration properties—intending to research and develop new medical techniques utilising Proteus protomorpho's genetics.

These early amphimorpho were eventually released from captivity after Project Delta concluded and began breeding in the wild, establishing a sustained population on the planet Terrarium.

As part of Project Delta's efforts, they developed a retrovirus that could splice amphimorpho DNA into test subjects. This did not work as intended, as the amphimorpho DNA would quickly hijack and overwhelm the host's genetics, transforming them into a mutant amphimorpho.

Variants[edit]

Raptor amphimorpho[edit]

Amphimorpho 'raptors' are an alternative body type that walks and stands on the hind limbs. They have shorter forelimbs and stand taller than regular amphimorpho.

Mutant amphimorpho[edit]

Mutant amphimorpho are the result of other species that have been infected by the 'amphimorpho virus', an engineered retrovirus developed during Project Delta.

They physically resemble their non-mutant peers, though may retain some elements of their pre-mutation appearance. They additionally have brightly-coloured bio-luminescent features on their paw pads, tail tips and the insides of their mouths; the result of the fluorescent dyes used in the original virus samples having been incorporated into their DNA. These features often lack cellular cohesion and appear 'goopy'.

The mutant aspect of these amphimorpho has given them genetic fluidity above and beyond those of non-mutant versions, permitting them to shapeshift more readily at the expense of it being harder to maintain their shape over long periods and being more prone to spontaneous, uncontrolled shifting.

A rarer subset of mutant amphimorpho has been recorded with additional physical features such as antennae, spikes or gills, resulting from particular aspects of their chimeric DNA becoming more dominant during mutation.

Amphimorpho and furry[edit]

Ash, one of beeps fursonas, is a mutant amphimorpho.

Amphimorpho were developed for and feature prominently in the webcomic Meet Me In The Woods.

As they are an open species, some furries have adopted amphimorpho for use as fursonas, write stories or produce artwork of them separate from their source material.

External links[edit]