Eptenycta

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Order Eptenycta

  • Class Mammalia
  • Subclass Nyctotheria
  • Order Eptenycta

Order Eptenycta are the only extent order of Subclass Nyctotheria. Nyctotherians, in contrast to the other living Subclasses (Marsupialia and Placentalia), retain the trait of laying eggs which is primitive to mammals. Nyctotherians diverged from the other lineages before this trait was replaced by more derived reproductive strategies among the Marsupialia and Placentalia.

Diet

The ancestors of eptenyctans, like most early mammals, were small insectivores. The vast majority of eptenyctan species are still small insectivores, feeding on nocturnal insects. These eptenyctans are found on all continents.

Other eptenyctans are frugivores or nectar-feeders. These species are larger than most of the insectivores. They prefer warm, wet regions and are mostly found on the Kellsith and the wetter southern regions of the Hajasith. The trees of the Iredjolsith offer little food for a frugivore, but do support a handful of species of nectar-feeding eptenyctans.

A few large eptenyctan species are predators, hunting small vertebrates: small mammals, lizards, and birds, and sometimes large invertebrates, such as small dryopods. These have almost an inverted range as the frugivores. They are mostly found on the Hajasith and Iredjolsith, where they faced lower levels of competition from pre-established predators.

Activity Cycle

Almost all eptenyctans are nocturnal. Early eptenyctans developed from night-adapted nocturnal mammals, and most species have kept most of those adaptations to a nocturnal lifestyle. In addition, eptenyctans evolved shortly (on an evolutionary timescale) after birds, and well after pterosaurs. Pterosaurs are unsuited for night-flying, and competitive exclusion between birds and eptenyctans have kept the former mostly diurnal and the latter mostly nocturnal.


This article has Design Notes: Eptenycta/Notes

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