Skadi, a warm J-Class world, was first discovered in 2069 along with Njord and Surtr by a ESA FTL probe. Norwegian explorers sent an atmospheric probe to the gas giant in late 2073 as part of an initial Exploration Survey. The Norwegians were astonished when they discovered complex life in Skadi's atmosphere.
In late 2073 when the Njordic colonists were doing their initial system exploration a atmospheric probe was sent to the gas giant Skadi. The probe descended into an area just southeast of the planets single large storm system. Scientists expected nothing but hydrogen and helium on Skadi, they were astonished when the probe transmitted images of a diverse avian ecosystem living under the planets troposphere. In fact the probe was devoured by a winged reptilian creature just an hour after deploying the parachute. Skadi's atmosphere is composed of 82% Helium, 17% Oxygen and 1% water mist.
Explorers were again astounded by the sheer diversity and complexity of the planets ecosystem. Probes were sent to other regions of the gas giant and found very diverse and distinct biomes on a planet that had been expected to be fairly uniform. Njordic explorers have been studying and catologuing life in Skadi for millenia now. Many times during the rise of the Vanir-Norse mythology certain groups tried to ganetically adapt a Skadian creature known as the Bevinslan with moderate success. Due to the fact that the creature has no apendiges other than large batlike wings and it must remain airborn constantly even genetically modified variants have not fared well in planets with less than 20 atm pressures or it will not be able to move efficiently.
EcosystemThe ecosystem of Skadi is built up from a family of photogenic plant-like creatures known as "Flyters". They are then eaten by a variety of herbivore like creatures which are then hunted by predatory creatures similiar to the Bevinslan.
Flyters come in hundreds of thousands of species of all shapes and sizes. They do however share a few traits. Flyters have no central nervous system. They stay aloft with sacks of helium gas. They usually have long viny limbs that hang below the creature and collect any oxygen or water mist that is in the atmosphere. Near the top of a flyter type creature are usually some sort of brittle fan like appendages that are used to absorm as much sunlight at possible. Flyter's float along the wind currents and spread through either spores or pollination. Sometimes they float through in massive swarms, often times their viny "roots" entangle amongst eachother creating a huge interwoven jungle-like mesh of flyters that hosts a myriad of aerial creatures. Some of these creatures have actually adapted to the flyter jungles with claw like appendages and even one or two species of small aerial creatures have forsaken true wings and evolved long spindly legs perfect for running along the vines and roots.
Herbivorous animals of Skadi come in even more variety than flyters. Some are huge floating filter feeders that drift in the wind and feed off of phytoplankton. Others have evolved huge incisors perfect for feasting off of flyter leaves or various flyter fruits. There is one species in particular that lives amid flyter forests called the geni that Njordic scientists have concluded may be the smartest species on the planet. Geni have short snake-like bodies. They have one pair of wings and at the end of their wings are claw-like appendages that are used to grab onto flyters when resting. Geni have three eyes and eat with a mouth-like orafice. They mainly eat flyter fruit and some smaller insect-like herbivores. They have evolved many complex techniques for collecting and storing flyter fruit as well as catching smaller herbivores. The scientific comunity believes that given another 10,000 years the Geni will have evolved sentience and may begin to develop a civilization.
The predators of Skadi are as numerous as they are vicious. The Bevinslan is the dominant species of the planet. It is on the top of the food chain. The Bevinslan is similiar to the Geni in appearance yet much much bigger and much more carnivorous. Bevinslan can grow up to 20 meters in length. They have razor sharp teeth and a large talon at the tip of their tail used to catch and devour prey. They are solitary hunters, and are generally only social around mating season. They have captured the imaginations of scientists. Many would describe the Bevinslan as looking like the dragon of Skadi. Most other predators are much smaller. Some fly in massive formations and use numbers to devour massive filter feeders. Others swing through the flyter jungles spearing prey on tail or nose talons. Some are scavengers and live lower in the atmosphere feasting on dead creatures or flyters from higher up.