Stash's Baby Mount Devil Picture

04/28/2012 EDIT: Added patterns and shading.

Melanism in Mount Devils, as in the case of jaguars and several carnotaur species, is conferred by a dominant allele. Close examination of Mount Devil skin and hides often reveals faint patterns throughout the scales, hidden by the excessive pigment, although only rarely are specimens truly black in color - most tend to be simply a very dark, almost blackish shade of their preferred color. Melanistic Mount Devils can still change the color of their skin, but not to the same degree as in regular individuals; often, the skin of the wings and underbelly, which are not as thick as that of the rest of the body, experience more drastic changes with regards to the base coloration, while the markings that show up during display on the actual scales tend to be much more faded than normal.
On average, about one in every ten Mount Devils is a so-called "black demon," and clutches with both regular-colored and darker-colored dragons are very common. Melanin has several physiological roles in maintaining health, such as the synthesis of vitamin D and therefore protection from ultraviolet radiation, as well as an immune system boost that makes the creature more resistant to disease. Secondary benefits include added absorption of heat in cold climates and improved concealment in low-light nocturnal conditions. Viral epidemics, possibly spread by humans and/or other non-native creatures, may explain the prevalence of black demons in both the natural environments of Mount Devils and in popular mythology, while regular Mount Devils remain abundant because they can achieve better camouflage in open areas.

While I was in Italy this winter, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a Mount Devil egg in one of the local stores at Paestum. I don't know where it came from, but the cool weather would have rendered it infertile if I hadn't wasted my emergency 100 Euro on it. As soon as I returned to America, I put the egg in one of Stash's incubators at his place (all of mine were full at the time), and left it there due to my being busy with other things. The temperature when it was found already dictated that Selena, as I have named her, is female, and I would hazard a guess that she'd imprint on Stash the moment he found her.
On a side note, I was going to put in the star patterns from Nightmare Moon's mane in the pic, like she has IRL, but I did not have the time due to other priorities. It really doesn't help either that one of the names I was going to consider for her was Luna.
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