These beautiful lighter-than-air creatures fly the skies of a world not too distant from ours called Deutro. Their multilayered expandable skin is virtually impermeable to any gas. It’s this skin that allows them to float high in the atmosphere and it’s the special pebbled texture of this animal’s epidermis that creates micro air swirls that greatly decreases the natural drag of the air that flows over them. Despite their great volumes the helioderms cut through the air like an arrow.
Their tusks might seem like an odd evolutionary adaptation for a flying creature but the “tusks” are actually extremely porous helium processors. They remove all heavier noble gasses and chemically active gasses. Helium, which is all that is left, is absorbed into the helioderm’s envelopes – internal lightweight gasbags.
This is a heavily forested planet with unusually massive and dense trees. Most helioderm species eat by grazing the tops of these trees using their long extendable trunks to reach deep within them.
Their only natural enemy is the fire-breathing dragon. The dragons are considerably smaller than the helioderms and will only attack the weak and the young. Typically the smaller blimpoderms live in a symbiotic relationship with larger zepploderms. More on that in my next installment.