Praised for both size and taste, the Mogo is a well known fish that can be found on the menu of many people along the Nybelmarian coasts. It's delicate, bluish flesh is used in a large number of ways, not the least of which is the sim-sim stew of Shar, and as dried rations for troops and sailors alike.
Easily recognizable to anyone remotely familiar with fish, the Mogo's main
attribute is bulk. Often claimed to be 'nearly too fat to swim', this fish can
measure up to two and a half, or even three
ped long , and weigh as much
as five to seven pygge when
fully grown. It has a flat, spade-shaped head of somewhat over a
fore in width, with large,
deeply set eyes, placed close together on the forehead. The mouth runs along the
entire head, with a very flat lower jaw compared to the rest of the head, set
with bony ridges used to crush the mollusks it prefers to feed upon.
The rest of the body follows the example set by the head section. It is flattened slightly, yet quite voluptuous, and could possibly remind one of a log that has been a bit compressed along its length, widening and flattening on one end for the head, tapering into a strong tail fin on the other.
The Mogo has three pairs of fins. The front most fins, also called the breast fins, are short and stubby with only little a webbing for actually swimming. It is often suggested that these might have to be considered a strange kind of 'arm' instead of a fin. Mostly useless while swimming the breast fins are held against the body most of the time, only to be used as steering aids when a narrow turn is to be made. However, when feeding the breast fins play a vital role, as the fish is able to dig into the sandy seafloor, and use these fins to hold on while the head digs in deeper to catch a fleeing mollusk.
The second pair of fins, the back fins, are placed at about two thirds of the fish's side. These fins are, unlike the breast fins, large and spatula-shaped, and have a webbed surface of at least a handspan across in any direction. These are the primary steering fins, and it is because of their position, quite far from the head, that a swimming Mogo appears to be swaying his head left and right, as if searching for something.
Finally, there are the lower fins, or belly fins. Often considered to be but one split fin, these are set at the base of the Mogo's tail, and, by their long, slender shape are thought to aid the fish in staying upright, counterbalancing the swaying movement that is typical for this fish.
The Mogo's tail is, like the rest of this fish, fat and stubby, yet quite powerful, and well capable of propelling many hebs worth of fish through the water at a steady pace.
Two remarkable abilities may be noted about the Mogo. It is no a great surprise
that both of these are related to eating.
First off, these fish are capable of living for long periods without feeding if the need arises. Living off their considerable fat reserves, a three-pygge Mogo can survive for as long as a full year without eating, although it will have grown to be quite feeble at that time. Fortunately for the Mogo, circumstances forcing it to rely extensively on this ability are rare, and it is mainly used to sustain the fish during its migration to the deep sea when the mating season arrives.
Another feat the Mogo is reknown for, is their digging skill. Capable to catching up with a burrowing mollusk or crustacean, these giant fish are able to bury themselves up to six or seven span into the sand within mere moments, leaving shallow holes everywhere that are favoured by some fish and other sea creatures to live or breed in.
Territory. Mogos are quite common on Nybelmar's coasts. With the exception of the Inner Sea, they are available almost everywhere on the coastline, they are everywhere where the seabed slopes gradually into the depths, as they need such places to feed. These fish are most common around the northern coasts, where the shallow sea between the continent and the Essalui Thareliath provides them an excellent habitat, and around the isles of Aca-Santerra.
Habitat/Behaviour. Mogos spend most of their time looking for food. Not particularly fast swimmers, they slowly move along the seabed in their typical, swaying motion. The use of their odd movements is soon revealed as at any time the head moves over something edible, the Mogo will lunge down to gobble it up. Would a prey animal be to fast, and try to dig its way to safety, the Mogo uses its powerful fins and tail to chase it down, a race more often than not won by the fish.
The Mogo Fish is a diurnal creature, that may be seen active at all times of the day or night. It does rest occasionally, but rarely more that an hour at one time, and only if it can find a suitable place, such as a rock formation to more or less hide in.
Diet. Mogo Fish live off lesser animals completely. Their main prey are the many mollusks and shellfish that live in the coastal sands of Nybelmar, but various other animals, such as crabs and insects, or even the eggs and young of other fish if they can get to them. All this prey is found by means of smell, probably, as the eyesight of the Mogo is quite poor. Experiments with fish that were temporarily blinded have shown that they are quite capable of finding their food without sight, and have further supported the theory they hunt by smell. Once caught, the hapless prey is quickly crushed within the Mogo's maw, or simply devoured whole. As a result the Mogo will periodically regurgitate its stomach contents, disposing of the shell fragments of its latests meals.
Mating. The Mogo will mate once a year, at the peak of summer. At this time, all adult fish disappear from the shallow shores they usually spend their lives, and swim into the depths of the ocean. It is unknown how far they actually travel, or whether all Mogos of Nybelmar congregate in one place, but it is generally thought that there are a dozen or so mating places, hidden deep in the cold oceans, beyond the reach of fishermen. What exactly happens there is unknown, but four to five weeks after their departure, the Mogos return, a lot less bulky than before they left. The young fish do not show up before late spring the next year, but they do so by the thousands. Many of these will get eaten in their first few months, and it is thought that less than one per thousand actually survives long enough to mature, and return to its birthgrounds five years after leaving them.
Usages. As said before, the flesh of the Mogo is quite edible to all races, and they are a popular catch among fishermen. Although the flesh of adolescent fish is rubbery, and hard to digest, the adult fish provides its lucky captor with many hebs of soft, sweet flesh, that has a soft natural spicy flavour. This flesh can then be eaten in a large number of fashions. When dried, the natural flavour intensifies to produce a tasty meal that does require a good deal of chewing. Of course the fish can simply be baked, cooked, smoked, pickled, or added to all kinds of local dishes, the most famous of which is the aforementioned sim-sim stew as it is made in Shar, which uses both dried and grounded Mogo as the fresh flesh as one of it's key ingredients.