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Moebius Fish by thomastapir Moebius Fish by thomastapir
Again trying for a "truly 'alien' alien." The idea here was a marine organism that "swims," and feeds, by turning itself inside out--or more accurately, reversing the orientation of its body surfaces. That little pod-like module with the labial slit is the only part of the animal that cannot reverse itself; it contains the brain and the digestive organs. (I had to make some concession to the necessity of having part of the organism closed off from the outside environment.)

It's hard to communicate in a single static drawing the kind of movement pattern I pictured for this creature. I imagined it being very elegant and hypnotic to watch. If you think of the illustrated configuration as the first step in its movement cycle, it would, from here, begin to reverse all its body surfaces to the point where all the body segments that are initially forward the feeding module would end up after it, and vice versa. It would then smoothly pull in all its body segments to reduce drag and invert them forward/back again to its initial starting posture. All movement takes place relative to that central body module, and simultaneous with its swim stroke is the folding and curling of its body segments to engulf prey and direct it towards the creature's "mouth." Metaphorically, I think of its motion as similar to the way a photon propagates itself through space, cycling between electrical and magnetic states.

This idea goes way back for me; I've always wanted to see how far it would be possible to push the boundaries of alternate but biomechanically feasible body forms. If this form is some world's answer to the vertebrate design on Earth, I think it could lead to some really interesting evolutionary possibilities for feeding and locomotion in flying and dry-land creatures.

My main complaint about this take on the design is that it looks more "ribbony" than I'd originally pictured. I hope to do a more "accurate" version at some point in the future.
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:iconinkdoodler:
inkdoodler Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014
To tell the truth, I'm having a hard time visualizing how it works.
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:icontalkstocats:
talkstocats Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Wonderfully bizarre. I'd love to see a more thorough treatment.
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:iconjedishadow:
JediShadow Featured By Owner May 9, 2013
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner May 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
dude this is just billiant!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner May 3, 2012
Thanks, I'm glad you like it!

Also, proof of concept: [link] :)
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner May 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I've seen it, I got linked to both, the video and your drawing, from the furaha forum =P And yeah. Knowing that it actually works makes this even more brilliant! =)
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner May 3, 2012
Oh, sweet, I had no idea...Thanks for telling me!
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner May 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome! =)
On a different note, do you think it would work with a different number of the movable "segments" too? You know, this seems too cool to be ignored, and I don't want to flat out copy you or the mechanic model and rather add my own twist if possible. I was also thinking if it would work if there were some flippers or something to move larger ammounts of water for a somewhat increased swimming speed... Also, I was also thinking if it would work without any "segments" at all, so it would look like a jelly ring. Do you think it could work the same?
On yet another note, what are your thoughts on making it move like this: [link] "origami kaleidoscope?"
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner May 3, 2012
Oh yeah, absolutely...I think there are all kinds of possibilities for different body forms and geometries that would retain this same basic locomotory style. Please do take a crack at it if you're interested, I'd love to see what you come up with!

Hah, funny you sent along that "origami kaleidoscope"--I'd initially used videos of folding origami toys to illustrate the movement cycle I envisioned. :)
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I will try! Thank you very much! =)
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:iconbyotech:
Byotech Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011
That's an alien. It's very original.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011
Thank you very much, I'm glad you think so!
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:iconcharanty:
Charanty Featured By Owner May 6, 2011
I want to see it animated.

Idea is so awesome that i'm lost for words!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner May 6, 2011
Thanks very much, that's a huge compliment!
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:iconcharanty:
Charanty Featured By Owner May 7, 2011
You're welcome!
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:iconnewtman001:
newtman001 Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2011  Professional General Artist
Mmmm, tasy moebius fish... You eat 'em, and then they keep coming back.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2011
I'm going to use that as the slogan for my restaurant! It will be nearly impossible to find the bathrooms.

All proceeds go to my charitable organization, of course: "Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime; teach a man to Moebius fish, and you feed him for eternity."
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:icontektalox:
Tektalox Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You really know how to create truly alien extraterrestrials. Instead of swimming with fins and flippers this creature swims by folding its body into different orientations. I could never made up a creature like that on my own.

How can you even imagine these things who are SO strange?!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2010
Hah, thanks, man!

A lot of times there isn't really much effort involved...Many of these ideas come to me in dreams, or as hypnagogic image flashes, or as a momentary misinterpretation of two or more juxtaposed objects or pictures--seeing a book on elephants next to a book on penguins, for example. Then it's just a matter of figuring out how the creature works. :)
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:icontentaculus:
tentaculus Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2008
I can imagine them swimming fluidly like those Windows 98's bezier curve screensavers.....Very well done I think.

I wonder how does Moebius Squid looked like?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2008
Thanks very much! Ooo, I need to do the Moebius Squid one of these days...I'm still trying to decide how to do his Moebius tentacles. :)
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2008
It's very pretty. Is it psychedelically colored? I heard hippies watch documentaries of moebius fish to accompany their "trips"...

An animated picture of this would be nice, albeit impossible (?)
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2008
You know, I actually pictured this guy being fairly monochromatic--bluish/greyish or tannish/beige-ish. I picked up this shark book filled with awesome Richard Ellis paintings ([link]), and I guess I've been trying to emulate some of the depicted patterns and markings.

I think it might be possible to animate this guy--I imagine its motion would look similar to these folding paper puzzles:
[link]
[link]

("BANANA PHOOOOONE!!")
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2008
Ah, so it's an origami fish.

Wait, how big is it?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2008
Exactly!

I'm going to say approximately manta ray sized, like just about every other marine creature I've ever drawn. :/
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2008
I had imagined it at the size of a butterflyfish... :-o
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2008
:omg:
I think they come in all sizes, though...I was kind of picturing this as the default body design for most of this alien planet's marine/aquatic life. One of these days I'll get around to doing a Moebius Squid--they are prey for the Moebius Fish, and are significantly smaller.
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2008
Default? Hmm, what sort of pressures would incite all marine life to look like that? I thought that, for animals in water, the classic "fish" body shape was the most economical.

A Moebius squid? :drool:
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2008
The idea I was going for was more that most of the multicellular life on this planet evolved from a primitive basal organism that itself had a "Moebius strip" design integral to its feeding and locomotion. Now I picture that original organism being very small, planktonic, and probably the larval stage of something more like a radial organism. But through this creature's success and the neotonous retention of the juvenile "Moebius" form in its descendants, its body form has come to dominate the phanerozoic life on this planet. By now the organisms with this body design are so diverse and so highly adapted that they outcompete creatures with other morphologies.

More than anything I needed an excuse for other "Moebius life" possibilities further down the (evolutionary) road (I thought it would be interesting to see ground-dwelling, aerial, and tree-dwelling forms especially), so this kind of had to be the dominant megafauna body form to make that premise work...More generally, I wanted to experiment with an alternative body design that was both interesting and biomechanically feasible as a viable, competitive alternative to conventional vertebrate life; hopefully it succeeds on the former count, if not the latter. : /

Re: squid--Stay tuned! :D
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(1 Reply)
:icondoodlebotbop:
Doodlebotbop Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Whoooa, awesome! How large do these get? Are they surface, twilight, or deep sea?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
Thanks! Let's see, I'm going to say epipelagic (above ~650 ft.)....And you know, I didn't realize it until you asked, but I think I picture almost all my marine creatures being about manta-ray-sized (~25 ft. across). But this one would be hard to hold onto! :lol:
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:icondoodlebotbop:
Doodlebotbop Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Can it pull me behind it? XD What would be feeding it be like? Putting food to the mouth and it being sucked in?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008
I think it might work if you had a loop of nylon line or something around one of its body segments...But it would still be changing form constantly, so it would be a wild ride!

The flaps of the body in front of the feeding module are constantly curling to enfold prey and direct it towards the "mouth." Kind of like a funnel, except it can also completely engulf and trap prey to keep it from escaping.
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:icondoodlebotbop:
Doodlebotbop Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
So food on a stick, since I don't want to get sucked in myself.

Does it have some form of sight? Or is it blind?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008
I'm thinking it might have photosensitive eyespots distributed across the surface of its skin, as well as a lateral-line type system and maybe an electrical sense. So its "vision" might be more a combination of sensory factors...
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:icondoodlebotbop:
Doodlebotbop Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Niiiice :3 Would it follow a lazer pen? XD
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008
Hah, that's a really good question! :lol:

Hmm, I'm going to say that if they only possess eyespots, probably not. They would probably be sensitive to changes in ambient light levels but unable to track on a tightly focused beam of directed light like a laser.

Lasers generally don't work too well underwater, anyway. ;P
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(1 Reply)
:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
sure you could hold it. sliced properly, with some sauce to fry with it... :)
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
Use chopsticks...They're slippery!
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008
something tells me I'd have about as much luck using chopsticks as I do when I try using them on udon noodle soup. :D
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:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
Now that is a seriously wild concept! Bravo!
I agree, that it would be way cool to see its motion animated somehow.

You will definitely dig some of the madness of Egan's "Diaspora" if you ever get to it. Multi-dimensional beings and all. Your kind of mind-moebius-ness.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
Thanks very much! And I look forward to reading it, I've got it on my list right now...Ahh, so many books, so little time. : P
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:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
A good problem to have tho! Cheers. :aww:
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:icondsil:
DSil Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008  Student General Artist
What a marvelous idea! Someday this needs to get animated.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
I'd love to see that! And thanks!
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
quite clever.

so, does it rotate, such as a paddlewheel, always spinning; or does the inside become the outside and vice versa?
(if the former, this might be the reason why one pinnipedimorph species has legs that look like they twist in a non-vertabrate fashion)
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
If I understand the question correctly, I'd have to say both...These Youtube videos kindly provided by ~whalewithlegs give some sense of the movement I envisioned:

[link] [link] [link]
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
neat.
the one I watched, it seemed to basically be like a tank tread.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
really awe-inspiring! if not ribbonlike, is it supposed to have hinges? I kind of picture it with an octopus-like movement.
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