(Older art from autumn 2010)
Music for Arcane and her speciesThe Suzaku wyvern (Zhuque eximia) is a flightless dragon species found in the south, among plateaus. The red, orange, yellow, and peach markings along the body are controlled by a complex set of epistatic genes that can result in various color patterns; the one Arcane exhibits is a tad unusual in that the gene for the peach area must have two recessive alleles and must not be masked by another, dominant yellow-coding gene to be expressed. Most of the wyverns have yellow in this area, and it and the orange and red patches are all part of a complex biochemical system. Entirely red wyverns (but never orange or yellow - these colors cannot be expressed if the red gene is not also active) have been reported, along with extremely rare albino individuals. Females are slightly larger than males, but otherwise the two sexes are similar in appearance. The main purpose of the dragon's wings is for males to use them during their intricate courtship dances; the wings are far too small and poorly-muscled to be suitable for gliding, let alone flight. These dances have inspired cultural dances in some southern cultures, ones that have persisted to the modern day. Recent scientific studies are trying to pinpoint the precise epistatic genes involved in the wyvern's complex hide pigmentation; further studies have been started to study the feather pigmentation, as well. A project to map the dragon's entire genome has also been proposed as a method of monitoring the aforementioned gene interactions, but it would be horribly expensive (that, and their subjects are difficult to study).
Arcane in all her flamboyant glory.
That and the above description just continues to illustrate that I am a nerd. I have plans to draw the various phenotypes of this species sometime.