Starlight dragons are a mysterious creature primarily found over the Pacific Ocean, though they rarely land. Their wings glow with the gathered light of the cosmos.
Starlight dragons stay in the air the vast majority of their time, and are generally only seen at night. Because their wings glow and flicker in the night sky, they are often mistaken for shooting stars streaking across the sky. As with a shooting star, seeing one in the sky is a sign of good luck, especially in sailors stories.
Traits and Behavior
Starlight dragons have thick strong scales that are deep blue, nearly black, and wide spanning wings. While their bodies remain a matte color, their wings will glitter and glow from gathered starlight. When they fly, they often look like shooting stars, or airplanes in modern times. They can grow as large as 15 feet from nose to tail, with a wingspan of 20-25 feet, but are most often between 8-10 feet in length.
Their bodies are thin, with 4 short legs and a long thin tail to minimize their weight. Their wings are also thin, but deceptively strong, capable of carrying another fully-grown dragon for short distances. The skin of the wings is leathery in nature, and gathers light along the top of the wings. Starlight dragons use this light as a source of energy, and are dependent on it for sustenance. They can fly to immense heights and will go above cloud cover if necessary to gather light.
The light they gather is only starlight; they show no interest in moonlight and will not fly in the sun. Their wings glow and shine is a result of bioluminescence, and the glow will die down as the dragon uses up energy. Before their wings go entirely dark they will gather more light, rising to great heights to do so if needed. The dragons do not need to breathe as much as most earth species, and can reach the upper levels of the atmosphere with no issues. They are equally unbothered by the extreme cold. Some starlight dragons will linger at the poles rather than fly long distances, crossing from one end of the earth to the other only twice a year to follow the long polar nights.
Starlight dragons are exclusively nocturnal, flying through the night to stay under cover of darkness. When they need to sleep, they float on updrafts and air currents to remain in the air. They will only land to lay their eggs, which are protected by the parents until they hatch, generally within 3 weeks. Until hatched, the eggs resemble pieces of obsidian. When hatched, the mother will gather the hatchlings onto her back and take to the air again. The dragons will learn to fly at 2-3 weeks old, and will follow their parents for another year, sleeping on their parents backs instead of drifting. At a year old they will fly to other areas to find other groups, called flights, or to fly solo.
Starlight dragons communicate in low tones, similar to whale song, and have occasionally been observed calling out to whale pods when they surface. It is unclear if they can actually communicate between species or not. They do appear to be able to communicate with other dragons if they interact, regardless of the other dragons method of communication.
Due to their strength, other species occasionally catch a ride on a starlight dragons back while in flight. The dragons are fairly tolerable of this, but may roll over mid-flight to rid themselves of a troublesome passenger. These dragons do not have any natural predators, so they are rarely bothered by other species, and show no territorial nature outside of protecting their nests wile their eggs grow. They do not eat anything other than starlight, and do not have fangs. They can increase the glow of their wings to blind an enemy for a time while they fly away, using their higher tolerance for high altitudes to evade any threats. As they usually fly above average altitudes, they are rarely observed by anyone, and will go above airplanes when they go by.
Starlight dragons can live up to 250 years old. When they are reaching their last moments, they will fly lower until they reach the ocean, then land in the waves and sink. The other dragons in their flight will circle the area for a time, often singing, before continuing their flight. If a dragon cannot make it to water, their flight will carry their body there.
Starlight dragons need starlight to survive. If they are completely deprived of light long enough for their wings to go dark, they will starve. While sunlight is also, technically, starlight, the dragons seem unable to use it as energy. There is some speculation that the distances the light of distant stars need to travel plays a part in changing the energy, but the exact reason is not known. Starlight dragons otherwise need nothing else, not even water, and have no other known weaknesses.