Dragons are the current dominant species of Pyrrhia and Pantala. Scavengers once ruled Pyrrhia (their history in Pantala is currently unknown — except for Sundew, Blue, and Cricket referring to them as "reading monkeys"), but dragons overthrew them in an event known as the Scorching.
Dragons are intelligent, as they are capable of speech (both the dragon and the human language), tool-making, and many other abilities that are common in advanced societies. Very few members of the dragon population are known as animus dragons, who possess powerful magic that is capable of causing practically anything — except for raising the dead back to life — to happen. These powers can be performed by speech or thought, and it has been confirmed that animus magic is not specific to any one tribe; additionally, animus dragons can be artificially created (see: Talons of Power), but animus power is naturally genetic.
Although some dragons have died of old age, sickness, and/or injury throughout the series, dragons can live for more than one hundred years before they die peacefully in their sleep, according to Starflight. In addition to Tui T. Sutherland stating that the average dragon lifespan is roughly 150 years, Tapir, a RainWing, managed to live for 110 years before his death. Dragonets are dragons below seven years old. Any other dragon with seven or more years of age is considered an adult.
Biology and Anatomy
There are seven known Pyrrhian tribes: RainWings, SandWings, SeaWings, NightWings, SkyWings, MudWings, and IceWings. Hybrids between these tribes are possible, but uncommon. There are three known Pantalan tribes: SilkWings, LeafWings, and HiveWings. There were also once the BeetleWings, but they are now extinct. All tribes are roughly the same size except for MudWings, who are generally larger and stronger than dragons from the other tribes. SkyWings also have a larger wingspan than most tribes. Dragons have been confirmed to grow as they age, such as Grandeur, Morrowseer, and Darkstalker, with the oldest dragons typically being the largest. Dragons grow rapidly for the first eight to ten years of their life, then grow at a much slower rate for the rest of their lives.
All dragons are primarily quadrupedal. Pyrrhian and some Pantalan dragons possess six limbs: two wings and four arms/legs, while HiveWings and SilkWings have 8 limbs, 4 wings and 4 legs. Wings are attached to a dragon's shoulders and have a slightly transparent wing membrane stretched between five small bone digits, each of which has one small claw on the tip. A larger claw is attached to the front of the third digit. Dragon bones are nearly as hard as diamonds and quite difficult to break. The average dragon height is around 18ft (5.49 m). Dragons have overlapping scales, like other reptiles, that vary in color from tribe to tribe.
All dragons have large claws at the base of each foot, with five on the forelegs and five on the hind legs (except Six-Claws). All dragons can fly, regardless of tribe, although SilkWings are hatched without wings and cannot fly until six years of age when their wings grow after their metamorphosis. Some can also hatch with freckle-like markings on their bodies, usually at various amounts.
It is mentioned on several occasions that dragons have a hoarding instinct similar to crows, preferring shiny or brightly colored objects. Instead of a currency system, dragons on Pyrrhia typically barter these items or other valuables.
Dragons reproduce via eggs, usually laid in clutches of more than one egg. Eggs may contain twin dragonets. Dragonets are young dragons, including any dragon from hatching to the age of seven. Dragonets can speak soon after hatching. A one-year-old dragonet is capable of speaking in full, if broken, sentences, as well as flying.
Hybrids are dragons with parents from different tribes. A dragon whose parent or parents are hybrids may also be considered a hybrid. They may be missing features (like Sunny's tail), or have mixtures of features from their parent tribes. Many of them look unique among other dragons, while some can blend in with one of their parent tribes. Burn may have had several stuffed hybrids in her collection.
Click here for a list of all known hybrids.
Most species seem to be omnivorous, although the majority of their diet consists of meat; SkyWings are known to be strictly carnivorous, while RainWings and SilkWings are herbivores that subside mainly on fruit. Most dragons can survive for up to a month without food.
Each tribe has specialized structures and abilities that differentiate them from the other tribes. Most typical is some sort of exhalation, most commonly fire. SkyWings, NightWings, and SandWings can breathe fire at any given time, whereas MudWings can only breathe fire when they are warm enough. IceWings exhale a freezing breath, while RainWings can spit corrosive acid that only affects biological matter. SeaWings are the only tribe on Pyrrhia that cannot exhale anything that may be used as a weapon, and none of the tribes on Pantala can, aside from the occasional acid or poison-spitting HiveWing. The most commonly modified structures in dragons are either the wings, the claws, or the tail.
Dragons have a matriarchal society where each tribe is ruled by a hereditary queen. Each tribe differs in its traditions and values of life due to habitat and physiology. They are advanced enough to have speech and writing — all dragons speak the same language. The SeaWings use their bio-luminescent stripes to communicate in a separate language called Aquatic, for use underwater. All tribes live in separate kingdoms, except the RainWings and the NightWings; these two tribes live in the same kingdom due to the events that happened in the first arc.
It is stated in the books multiple times that dragons have a system of body language. Peril notes in Escaping Peril that there "appeared to be some kind of code" about the way Turtle and Qibli greeted each other in Possibility. Earlier in the book, Turtle lifts one of his wings to shush Peril. During Ruby's visit to Jade Mountain Academy, Clay stands up and spreads his wings to catch the attention of her soldiers so that they can land. It is mentioned that nudging another dragon's wing, or twining their tails together, is a sign of affection, showing that they're both in the same tribe; a family in a way. Also, flicking one's tail at someone is another way to get their attention. Dragons often tent their wings over others as a way to comfort or embrace them in a protective gesture, and wrapping their wings around one another or pressing snouts together to show a sign of affection, basically showing they would be there for each other. Brushing wings is a sign of affection or romance. If a dragon lashes his or her tail, it is a sign of anger.
Dragons have been able to develop armor and handheld weapons, so technologically and socially they seem to be somewhere around the Middle Ages.
NightWings are the most technologically advanced Pyrrhian tribe as they were able to create large buildings before the events of Darkstalker. Additionally, they know about making glasses and experimented with RainWing venom during the War of SandWing Succession.
The SeaWings use a waterfall prison that can be turned on and off with a switch, meaning that there must be some sort of pump or hydraulics involved.
Dragons know medicinal uses of herbs and blood vessels as shown in Darkness of Dragons. RainWings, in particular, know about poisonous frogs and fruit and use certain venom to create blow darts which can cause a dragon to fall asleep without injuring them in the first place during a fight. SkyWings also use dragonflame cactus bombs, in which a fuse is lit on a cactus, which, in a certain period, will explode and release all of its sharp seeds. This tactic is very deadly in the series.
Dragons on Pantala seem to be slightly more technologically advanced than dragons on Pyrrhia, as they have books rather than scrolls. They also have glasses, chocolate, terrariums, stores, and massive silk bridges between the Hives. Sundew shows an impressive knowledge of plants and insects, similar to RainWings. There are also water towers in Pantala, used by members of the SilkWings and HiveWings living in the Hives, which may imply they could have indoor plumbing. This is further suggested in The Hive Queen when Cadelle is seen using a sink while talking to Cricket.
The HiveWing wrist cuffs can seemingly inject poison into a SilkWing when activated remotely. It is not explained how this works.
Before the dragons had queens, the scavengers ruled Pyrrhia. Eventually, the dragons rebelled and established tribes and queens, so dragons could get help when they needed it, as shown with Osprey. This was known to the dragons as the Scorching. It is unknown if scavengers ever ruled over Pantala.
There are no known wars in Pantala besides the Tree Wars, which took place fifty years before the events of The Lost Continent. The war was caused by Queen Wasp, who convinced the SilkWings to submit under her rule by telling them the Book of Clearsight said it must be so. The LeafWings, however, demanded to see the book, which Queen Wasp would not allow because it would expose her plan. The LeafWings were nearly wiped out in the following war and proclaimed by the HiveWings to be extinct. All the trees in the areas the HiveWings controlled were cut down, to prevent the LeafWings from coming back. HiveWings later lied about the war, saying that LeafWings had tried to wipe the HiveWings and SilkWings out.
Although there are many wars in Pyrrhia's history, such as the wars between the NightWings and the IceWings, the most notable war was the War of SandWing Succession. This was caused by Queen Oasis of the SandWings being killed by a scavenger, and her daughters, Blaze, Blister, and Burn, trying to claim the throne for themselves. This sparked a tribal war among the dragon tribes since each of the princesses tried to get alliances with the other tribes to defeat her sisters.
After the war was ended by the dragonets of destiny, the tribes were now at an uneasy peace, though hostilities and tensions are still high, as many dragons are still bearing grudges against certain tribes. After Darkstalker was released from his eternal slumber, he provoked a war between the NightWings and IceWings, almost leading to the downfall of Pyrrhia. However, Darkstalker was stopped by the dragons in the Jade Winglet, who transformed him into a young NightWing-RainWing hybrid named Peacemaker.