The Ranhon are giant flying moths that are usually found in forests and mountainous regions. Their natural habitat seem to be Delhang, Aleban and Zoniza. They are pretty large in their size, almost like the size of an Albatross, when their wings are open. They are attracted by the Yohmin flowers, and their pheromones are usually used as a way to guide them to their destination. They are also exploited for their particularly resistant and soft silk, mostly in Zoniza, while among the Ruadh'Losh they are utilized as message and small package couriers. The Ranhon name is a Zonizan word that means "The White Flyer" due to the colour of its carapace and fur.
In order to protect its body from cold winds during winter, the entire body of the insect is covered by a layer of soft fur, while its antennae are particularly sensitive bio-receptors, allowing them to sense vibrations and changes in wind directions. They also posses long, coiled tongues that are stored in a small "beak" like mandible pair below their faces. If used as messengers, it's important to have something that emits enough pheromones to attract the insect through large distances. Ranhon has a very sharp sense of smell, and they can sense the presence of particular odors regardless their distance, and they will always go to the source of the odor.
Unlike males, female Ranhon are smaller than their counterparts and usually have two large black dots on their wings, while males are completely white. Due to their size, their muscles are highly resistant and are capable to climb steep surfaces, although they need to keep their wings always in exercise. Indeed, when they are on the ground, they tend to move their wings slowly, in order to keep the wing muscles in exercise. They have a primitive second brain that handles most of their involuntary wing motions.
If they don't do that, muscles will become atrophied and they won't be able to fly anymore, as moving the wings would result in a severe pain for the animal. Usually, if Ranhon have atrophied wings, they are suppressed in order to not make them suffer.
The Life Stages
Female Ranhon excrete pheromones to attract mates when they are of breeding age (starting near their 5th to 8th year of life). The males, as well, will posses androconial organs to dispense pheromones to attract breedable ladies, and verify to the female that they are of the same species. The sexual structures of the Ranhon are quite alike those of Earth lepidoptera, (Males, and Females). During mating, the males genital harpe (claspers) will hold the couple together and verify impregnation.
Eggs take about 14 days to hatch into larvae, which eat continuously. When the color of their heads turns darker, it indicates they are about to molt. After molting, the instar phase of the worm emerges white, naked, and with little horns on their backs. After they have molted four times, their bodies become slightly yellow and the skin becomes tighter. The larvae then enter the pupal phase of their lifecycle and enclose themselves in a cocoon made up of raw silk produced by the salivary glands. The cocoon provides a vital layer of protection during the vulnerable, almost motionless pupal state.
If the animal is allowed to survive after spinning its cocoon and through the pupal phase of its lifecycle, it releases enzymes to make a hole in the cocoon so it can emerge as an adult moth. The average lifespan of an adult Ranhon is usually 20 years, according to their lifestyle and how they've been treated in case they've been grown in captivity.
The Ruadh'Losh of Delhang revere the Ranhon for not only their tactical advantage as naturally expert couriers, but they hold a strong place in Ruadh faith and lore. The Ruadh hold the belief that when a soul dies, they are guided to the spirit plane by a brilliant, beautiful, anthropomorphized Ranhon Goddess, whose name has yet to be translated from old Rourd texts by any outsiders, but is known to the Ruadh by the holy title of Losh'Eona. Eona is considered to be the mother of all Ranhon. Feral Ranhon are also believed to be sent as messengers from the spirits, to serve as loyal protectors or even companions to those alive. Ranhon in Ruadh society are treated with the utmost respect and honor, as one would a Lord or Lady of the land. The Ruadh'Losh also use the Yohmin flower as a means to summon and communicate with wild and courier Ranhon.
Economical and culinary uses of the Ranhon
When the adult moth is going to emerge from its cocoon, it releases a enzymes that corrode the silk. These enzymes are destructive to the silk and can cause the silk fibers to break down from over a mile in length to segments of random length, which seriously reduced the value of the silk threads. To prevent this, the cocoons are boiled. The heat kills the silkworms and the water makes the cocoons easier to unravel. Often, the worm itself is eaten, such as in Zoniza.
As the process of harvesting the silk from the cocoon of the Ranhon kills the larvae, sericulture has been considered a controversial activity. The meat of the Ranhon is edible, but in order to be eaten it must be roasted first, in order to kill a toxin located in their meat. Usually, adult Ranhon are eaten in Aleban, while in Zoniza Ranhon worms are considered a traditional dish. The taste of their meat resembles chicken meat, being white. Methods for slaughtering adult Ranhon consist of baiting one down, generally with Yohmin flowers which are known for being nearly irresistibly scented to the Ranhon, then spearing the creature as it eats the nectar. The entire so-called "hunt" is an activity that the Ruadh'Losh find absolutely detestable, and are strongly advocating against.
In a less destructive manner; The Abunese were the first to harvest the pheromones of female Ranhon and utilize it's enticing properties to create a perfume base. The exact process varies between different manufacturers, and though it causes little-to-no discomfort to the creatures involved, only small quantities of the product can be produced at a given time, and only with Ranhon of a certain age. This makes Ranhon perfume quite a rare, expensive commodity that is usually reserved for the Abunese bourgeois and the Lamura negotiators.
Ranhon as pets
The Ranhon are sometimes prized as pets among nobility, due to their pretty white coats and noble wingspan. Honey is an expensive commodity for much of Nakti, but it is considered to be the best food for this creature as a pet, (Necter, sugar-water, and other sweet fluids are also suitable). Ranhon raised in captivity behave noticeably different from their wild counterparts. While wild Ranhon tend to be territorial creatures and usually might be aggressive towards foreigners (usually flying quite fast in order to scare the enemy, or charging their enemy), captivity ones are peaceful creatures. They usually rub against their owner as a way to get attention, giving little headbutts as well.