Barnards' Swordswallower © Alex Ries 2007
Living in the oceans of a dense metal rich planet, the Swordswallower moves through the sea on a single undulating ventral fin. As it moves, its jaw sweeps planktonic life into its small mouth at the back of the 'net', where it is filtered and any food swallowed. The membrane it uses to hunt may look delicate, but is make from silk-like secretions and is easily repaired by glands in the egg shaped 'mouth'.
To alter its depth, a gas bladder fills much of its insides and can change volume at will, letting the Swordswallower feed using minimum energy.
Under the shadow of this specimen, a school of smaller fish-size relations of the Swordswallower seek shelter under its shadow. If I predator attacks, the feeding mouth of the large creature can be retracted, and the fish size creatures will hide inside. In return for this shelter, the fish like animals keep the Swallower free from parasites.
Trailing from the rear of this specimen are two long pale strings of gametes, releasing hundreds of reproductive cells into the sea as it swims, to mix in the water with the eggs and sperm of others swimming nearby.
To see the internal anatomy of this critter check out my gallery.
It was painted in Photoshop using standard fuzzy brushes set to between zero and 70% hardness, with hard brushes used for fine details.