Price range: 1.8 - 2 EUR / 1 kg | Market: MIN Rungis | Date: 2022-05-13
Across the planet in Antarctica, there is a small island called Penguin Island. Deep underground in this island lives a group of Quails.
The quails live in an immense network of tunnels that is miles long and has dozens of entrances to the surface. These tunnels are all connected to the floor, which was formed by a multitude of lava tubes from an ancient volcano. This floor provides an ideal living environment for the Quails who are isolated by hundreds, if not thousands of miles. It is at the perfect temperature to keep them warm and their food is abundant here.
The blind quails can only see in ultraviolet light, which allows them to navigate perfectly through the dark tunnels using echolocation. The intensity of the ultraviolet glow is so strong in these tunnels that it appears as a faint blue aura. The quails have lost all sense of sight due to living in such a dark environment for thousands of years and now rely on their echolocation to hunt, find water, and navigate. They also evolved from being completely flightless into only having small wings.
Their diet consists mainly of moss and other plants, but they sometimes hunt little invertebrates that live among the plants. They have a symbiotic relationship with their plants as well because their droppings help to fertilize the soil.
Using ultraviolet light as a form of sight allows them to protect themselves from their main predator, which is a bat species that roosts in the deeper parts of the tunnels. The quails echolocation is very similar to their predator's, so instead of avoiding it they use it to find them and eat them.
The network of tunnels in Penguin Island is home to the Quails and consists of around 60 different historic lava tubes that have been converted into underground homes. Even though penguins are native to this island, they pose no threat to the quails because they cannot travel through water or fly to the entrance of the tunnel where the quails live so those creatures never have to worry about being attacked from any direction. The entire island is protected by a large number of Grizzly Bear Parrots that live in rocky outcrops up the mountainside and serve as lookouts for potential threats or food.
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