Talxu are a water-dwelling species common to the coasts of Thessia's temperate oceans, often domesticated and employed as both hunting animals and social companions in a manner similar to varren or canines.
Appearance and behaviour
Talxu's natural habitat is in the coastal reefs common to Thessia's oceans. Their bodies are structured similar to quadrupeds, with the exception of having no hind limbs. In place of them, talxu have a powerful, highly mobile tail, capable of propelling them in water or supporting them on land. Their two limbs, in the position of a quadruped's forelimbs, have impressive ranges of motion, and are tipped with pseudo-hands with multi-jointed fingers, allowing them to swiftly grasp and climb over reefs. Talxu are monogendered, and employ a form of electrochemical transfer for reproduction, similar to asari melding, however they are only capable of this when immersed in water.
Talxu have not been observed displaying behaviour indicative of full sapience, but they are highly social creatures, with a significant degree of intelligence and adaptive thinking. Groups of talxu share information and arrive at decisions by "discussion", using a variety of body motions, facial expressions and vocalisations, which taken as a whole form a pseudo-language; some asari scholars have assembled rudimentary dictionaries and achieved successful communication of concrete ideas, although talxu's capability for abstract thought appears limited. Their hands are capable of significant dexterity in tool use, and in nature they fashion and use simple tools from wood, bone, and coral. Individual talxu have been observed deducing the purpose of more sophisticated tools, including simple mechanisms, and "explaining" their function to their companions, although as yet none have been seen to attempt to recreate such devices on their own.
Like virtually all Thessian life, talxu are adapted to the trace concentrations of element zero in the planet's environment. Their adaptation is simply resistance to the eezo they ingest via food and water; they have no biotic or pseudobiotic properties, and they experience no ill-effects if conceived in an eezo-poor environment. Despite this, talxu do require certain other conditions specific to Thessia for healthy growth, and are thus rarely seen on other worlds.
Talxu's ability to distinguish between species, and individuals within species, is quite advanced - their faces share some basic similarities with asari (with whom they have a common, albeit distant, ancestor), and it is widely accepted that they can distinguish between asari by facial recognition in the same way they would their own kind. Since asari are not within talxu's natural prey - which consists of fish, some smaller vertebrates, and aquatic plant species - even wild talxu are regarded as safe to approach, and their natural response to asari could be typified as deferential curiosity.
Due to their approachability and facility with social communication, talxu have been domesticated since early tribal times. Their primary use was as hunting animals, pursuing small prey by themselves or assisting asari in herding and managing larger prey animals; talxu have also been employed to assist with harvesting aquatic plant crops. In modern times, talxu are primarily social companions, and fully domesticated talxu are regarded as very suitable pets for young asari.
Although wild talxu are water-dwellers, the species is air-breathing, and can adapt to a dry land habitat without much difficulty, although they remain strong instinctive swimmers. Regular swimming is regarded as an important part of a pet talxu's recreational needs.