Yogran are slender, streamlined fish that usually measures around five to eight inches from head to tail. Males are usually smaller than females, typically being a few inches smaller and also sport a large pair of claspers that females lack. Apart from that fact, both sexes are virtually identical in all other respects. Yogran are fish that are renowned for their beauty throughout the scattered cities and towns of Yokaru and beyond. This perception stems from the fact that they are entirely covered with tiny scales that are found in a diverse range of colours, ranging from lustrous, burnished gold to a deep emerald green. Given their deep, vibrant scales, they are in much demand as exotic pets in some of the wealthier and more advanced nations that border Yokaru. Yogran bear a strong resemblance to Oriental carp and tend to possess a sleek tail fin like them, as well as a pair of barbells in the case of males. Unlike Oriental carps however which lack strong jaws and teeth of any kind, Yogran have vice like jaws crammed with hundreds of tiny razor sharp teeth. These are barbed and are extremely difficult to remove should someone ever be unfortunate enough to be bitten by one.
The name Yogran is derived from the dialect of the Chon tribe. Residing in the jungle surrounding the fabled city of Zibaba, this tribal group is extremely familiar with the Yogran fish. Inhabiting the slow moving rivers and great lakes of the jungle, the Yogran have been give their name due to the mortal terror that the Chon people have of their tiny but still potentially dangerous maws. The very word Yogaran actually means ‘‘beware the tiny, sharp toothed ones that live in the water’‘. The name has stuck in the minds of those living in other lands that are enamoured of the dazzling beauty of these fish. To them, Yogran has an entirely different meaning, bringing to mind an exotic creature purchased at an almost exorbitant price from a mysterious, far-away land.
Yogran live in vast schools that often numbering in the hundreds. As may have already been deduced, they are predatory fish, often falling upon schools of other, more placid fish, devouring them with great relish. Due to their sleek shapes, they are able to aggressively pursue their prey. Small prey are quickly bitten down to size and swallowed by the remorseless jaws of the Yogran. Larger prey animals however, suffer a more gruesome fate. Large fish are literarily shredded to bits while they’re still alive, often thrashing desperately in a futile effort to escape the myriad, ruthless maws taking savage bites out of their bleeding, lacerated bodies. When the Yogran have finally sated their appetite, absolutely nothing remains. Like sharks or piranhas, these shoals are constantly on the lookout for food. For this reason, the native Chon people of the region have a deathly fear of the Yogran. These fish have been known to attack and kill live stock and even humans on occasion. Given their powerful sense of smell that allows them to detect even a single drop of blood in an entire river, water buffalos and humans that have wandered into Yogran infested rivers with a bleeding wound or injury are immediately at risk of a Yogran attack. Such unwary victims are usually stripped to the bone within minutes by the ravenous school of fish engulfing them, unless they are able to make it out of the water in time.
Even in captivity, these fish make are still dangerous, thus making for rather unpleasant and vicious pets. Even when amply fed, Yogran tend be prone to savage attacks on one another. Too primitive to establish even the most basic hierarchy or social structure, Yogran simply tolerate the existence e of one another, instinctively understanding that by banding together, they are able to take on larger prey. Nevertheless, any fish in the shoal that is bleeding or suffers from any other injuries, quickly becomes a potential meal in the eyes of its companions and is quickly devoured. To complicate matters still further, male Yogran become extremely aggressive during the monsoon in the tropical jungles which lasts from May to June, a period during which the breeding season begins. As testosterone rapidly builds up in their bodies in response to the desire to procreate, they become extremely aggressive in their behaviour, attacking other male Yogran and other organisms that they deem is a threat to their ability to breed. Thus, it is not uncommon for an amateur keeper of Yogran to wake up one morning to discover much to his horror, that half his shoal of Yogran has basically killed itself off. Should the owner become aware of this ferocious fratricide and decide to intervene by wading in with a net or attempting to place a barrier in the tank or pond to separate the warring males from one another, the maddened male Yogran are apt to turn on him in their mindless rage and viciously shred his hands with their teeth, thus discharging a stream of enticing blood into the water. What follows next may be a painful death for the fish keeper, should the shoal be large enough to take him down.
The males that do survive this ferocious fight to spread their genes subsequently quickly proceed to fertilise the eggs that the females have deposited on the bottom of the river or lake. Then, once they accomplished this, they are rapidly attacked and eaten by the females which are unable to resist the urge to eat these bleeding combatants. Any fry which hatch from the fertilised eggs in the next few days will also suffer this fate if they do not swim away swiftly enough. Fry that do manage to escape in large numbers from the greedy maws of their mothers will be the nuclease for a future shoal of their own.
One of the most remarkable facts about Yogran physiology is the ability of female Yogran to discard their gender. It has been noted by avid Yogran keepers and scholars that in the complete absence of males, certain female Yogran will actually respond by secreting testosterone. Over a period of five weeks, they will develop a pair of claspers and barbells. Moreover, they will even begin to exhibit the homicidal behaviour typical of males once the spawning season begins.
As stated previously, Yogran are famous in other lands for their beauty. For this reason, the nobility and mercantile elites of lands such as Haracon, have paid vast amounts of money to obtain live specimens of these fish. Anyone who is determined to impress his social rivals at the next grand dinner party would do well to stock his pond with masses of these brilliantly coloured fish. Especially in demand among the nobility are black Yogran the colour of jet. The rarest of all Yogran varieties, five of these black Yogran can be sold for a sum of money that would allow one to buy a small mansion located in some of the most expensive and up heel parts of Marsooth, the capital city of Haracon.
As can be imagined, the penchant of the extremely wealthy for these luxury pets has not been without a cost. Some owners, as the fickle minded are often apt to do, have sometimes abandoned their pets when they begin to lose interest in these savage fish. Inevitably, for the right sum, they can find someone whos willing to take their Yogran shoals of their hands and dump them in the nearest river or lake. These rash acts which are borne out of a misguided desire on the part of the erstwhile owners to find a relatively human manner of disposing of their pets, often leads to great disaster. Abandoned schools of Yogran devastate native eco-systems, often driving indigenous fish species into extinction. This naturally will have a deadly consequence for local fishermen that depend on catching the native species of fish for their livelihoods.
The Yogran themselves cannot be a viable commercial substitute for the fish species they have destroyed, since they have a foul taste and do not make for good eating at all. Even worse, such feral shoals of Yogran may take to attacking bathers and swimmers.
Furthermore, given their savage nature, these fish are also kept as pets by powerful but unsavoury elements. Dons and gang leaders who want to get rid of rivals or enemies, sometimes have them dumped into ponds stocked with a shoal of Yogran that have been deliberately starved for the past few days. By simply having a condemned wretch nicked with a blade and then thrown into the pond where his Yogran are housed, a criminal boss can watch with great satisfaction as a troublesome foe is eaten alive before his very eyes.
Perhaps most disturbing of all about the sale of Yogran as highly prized ornamental fish, is the fact that most of the live Yogran specimens smuggled across the border into countries like Haracon are sold by the Keepers. A sprawling network of animal smugglers that specialise in smuggling highly prized but outlawed exotic animals into other countries, the Keepers are a ruthless and unscrupulous bunch.
In some parts of Yogran, thugs employed by the Keepers have conscripted the populations of remote villages for the purpose of harvesting for live Yogran specimens to export to foreign markets. Forced at spear point to wade into river and, armed with only a net to ensnare a Yogran shoal, these unwilling captives are often exposed to great danger, since even the smallest injury leaking blood, could provoke a ferocious attack by the Yogran inhabiting the river.