The Abkhazian Dragon-Mole was discovered less than an year ago in the territory of Abkhazia on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Fully adapted for an underground life, this dragon lives in the dark meanders of the Krubera Cave, although it actually dwells in a much wider and complex cave system still mainly undiscovered, which zoologists believe it contributed to create. On the side of the image above is shown a wizard hiker for size comparison; the gigantic Mole Dragon can reach up to 16 meters/53 feet in length and its source of food is unknown: while juveniles raid the halls of the caves feeding on arthropods which they attract with their earthworm-like tail, it is thought that the adults mainly engage in a cannibalistic behavior.
The fire-breathing ability of this dragon has de-evolved into an acid-spitting aptitude, which easily melts the limestone rocks of the cave; the weakened, steamy walls are then demolished by the shovel-like wings and the debris easily carried away by the short legs, which is why the Mole Dragon retained its hind limbs instead of opting for a flexible snake-like appearance.
The high resistant eggs hatch near lava spots and the larva-like juveniles are soft and pale, except for the hard scales on the head and the rigid wings, which cover the back of the baby dragon to help it withstand pressure and heat. With time an hard scaled belly will develop together with fleshy orange sensorial tendrils, and the semi-atrophied hind legs will become stronger and stronger, leading from a slithering motion to a more lizard-like sprawling gait.
Also, this is my first attempt at a real digital painting. Inspired by [link]
and rendered a la Spiderwick's Field Guide.