Lelts, Salamanders and Turtles on Gor
This research is done on the series of books written by John Norman, the comments in italics are mine and my point of view.
Woman of Gor
Lelts

Lelts are often attracted to the salt rafts, largely by the vibrations in the water, picked up by
their abnormally developed lateral-line protrusions, and their fernlike craneal vibration receptors,
from the cones and poles. Too, though they are blind, I think either the light, or the heat,
perhaps, from our lamps, draws them. The tiny, eyeless heads will thrust from the water, and
the fernlike filaments at the side of the head will open and lift, orienting themselves to one or
the other of the lamps. The lelt is commonly five to seven inches in length. It is white, and
long-finned. It swims slowly and smoothly, its fins moving the water very little, which apparently
contributes to its own concealment in a blind environment and makes it easier to detect the
vibrations of its prey, any of several varieties of tiny segmented creatures, predominantly
isopods. The brain of the left is interesting, containing an unusually developed odor-perception
center and two vibration-reception centers. Its organ of balance, or hidden "ear," is also
unusually large, and is connected with an unusually large balance center in its brain. Its visual
center, on the other hand, is stunted and undeveloped, a remnant, a vague genetic memory of
an organ long discarded in its evolution. Among the lelts, too, were, here and there, tiny
salamanders, they, too, white and blind. Like the lelts, They were, for their size, long-bodied,
were capable of long periods of dormancy and possessed a slow metabolism, useful in an
environment in which food is not plentiful. Unlike the lefts they had long, stemlike legs.

At first I had taken them for lelts, skittering about the rafts, even to the fernlike filaments at the
sides of their head, but these filaments, in the case of the salamanders, interestingly, are not
vibration receptors but feather gills, an external gill system. This system, common in the
developing animal generally, is retained even by the adult salamanders, who are, in this
environment, permanently gilled. The gills of the lelt are located at the lower sides of its jaw, not
on the sides of its head, as is common in open-water fish. The feather gills of the salamanders, it
seems, allow them to hunt the same areas as the lelts for the same prey, the vibration effects of
these organs being similar, without frightening them away, thus disturbing the water and
alerting possible prey. They often hunt the same areas. Although this form of salamander
possesses a lateral-line set of vibration receptors, like the lelt, it lacks the cranial receptors and
its lateral-line receptors do not have the sensitivity of the lelt's. Following the left, not disturbing
it, often helps the salamander find prey. On the other hand, the salamander, by means of its
legs and feet, can dislodge prey inaccessible to the lelt. The length of the stemlike legs of the
salamander, incidentally, help it in stalking in the water. It takes little prey while swimming freely.
The long lees cause little water vibration. Further, they enable the animal to move efficiently,
covering large areas without considerable metabolic cost. In a blind environment, where food is
scarce, energy conservation is essential. The long, narrow legs also lift the salamander's head
and body from the floor, enabling it, with its sensors, to scan a greater area for prey. The
upright' posture in men delivers a similar advantage, visually, in increasing scanning range, this
being useful not only in the location of prey, but also, of course, in the recognition of dangers
while remote, hopefully while yet avoidable. But it was not the lelts nor the salamanders, which
explained our interest in the waters. Tribesmen of Gor, page 247-248


I looked upon the lelts, and, among them, here and there, the salamanders. Their blunt, whitish
heads protruded from the water, curious, each head oriented toward one or the other of the
four lamps on the raft. I knelt down on the raft, and, quickly, scooped, holding it, one of the lelts
from the water. It was enclosed in my hand. It struggled briefly, then lay still. The lelt is a small
fish, long-bodied for its size, long-finned. It commonly swims slowly, smoothly, conserving energy
in the black, saline world encompassing its existence. There is little to eat in that world; it is a
liquid desert, almost barren, black, blind and cool. It swims slowly, conserving its energy, not
alerting its prey, commonly flatworms and tiny-segmented creatures, predominantly isopods. I
turned the lelt, looking at the small, sunken, covered pits in the sides of its head. I wondered if it
was capable, somehow, of a dim awareness of the phenomenon of light. Could there be some
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capacity, some genetic predisposition for the recognition of light, like an ancient, almost lost genetic memory, buried in the tiny,
simple, linear brain at the apex of its spinal column? It could not be possible I told myself. The tiny gills, oddly beneath and at the
sides of its jaws, closed and opened. There was a minute sound. I lowered my hand and let the lelt slip again into the dark water. It
slipped from sight. Then I saw it again, a few feet from the raft. Again its head protruded from the water, again oriented to the same
lamp at the corner of the raft.
"Why did you not eat it?" asked the man near me.
I shrugged. Some salt slaves eat the lelt, raw, taken from the water, or gleaned from their harvesting vessels. The first bite is taken
behind the back of the neck. Tribesmen of Gor, page256

Salamanders

Among the lelts, too, were, here and there, tiny salamanders, they, too, white and blind. Like the lelts, They were, for their size, long-
bodied, were capable of long periods of dormancy and possessed a slow metabolism, useful in an environment in which food is not
plentiful. Unlike the lefts they had long, stemlike legs. At first I had taken them for lelts, skittering about the rafts, even to the fernlike
filaments at the sides of their head, but these filaments, in the case of the salamanders, interestingly, are not vibration receptors but
feather gills, an external gill system. This system, common in the developing animal generally, is retained even by the adult
salamanders, who are, in this environment, permanently gilled. The gills of the lelt are located at the lower sides of its jaw, not on
the sides of its head, as is common in open-water fish. The feather gills of the salamanders, it seems, allow them to hunt the same
areas as the lelts for the same prey, the vibration effects of these organs being similar, without frightening them away, thus
disturbing the water and alerting possible prey. They often hunt the same areas. Although this form of salamander possesses a
lateral-line set of vibration receptors, like the left, it lacks the craneal receptors and its lateral-line receptors do not have the
sensitivity of the lelt's. Following the left, not disturbing it, often helps the salamander find prey. On the other hand, the salamander,
by means of its legs and feet, can dislodge prey inaccessible to the lelt. The length of the stemlike legs of the salamander,
incidentally, help it in stalking in the water. It takes little prey while swimming freely. The long lees cause little water vibration.
Further, they enable the animal to move efficiently, covering large areas without considerable metabolic cost. In a blind environment,
where food is scarce, energy conservation is essential. The long, narrow legs also lift the salamander's head and body from the floor,
enabling it, with its sensors, to scan a greater area for prey. The upright' posture in men delivers a similar advantage, visually, in
increasing scanning range, this being useful not only in the location of prey, but also, of course, in the recognition of dangers while
remote, hopefully while yet avoidable. But it was not the lelts nor the salamanders, which explained our interest in the waters.
Tribesmen of Gor, page247-248

Turtles

“It is a marsh turtle, a large one,” said the fellow, “come up on the bar.”
“Why would it do that?” I asked. “There are men here, many of them.”
“Now they have it confused, with fire and spears,” re-ported the man, standing beside me. “It does not know which way to turn”.”
“Why is it not retreating to the water?” I asked, alarmed.
“It does not know which way to turn,” he said. “They have it surrounded now. It is not moving now, it is in its shell now!”
“Together, men!” I heard.
There was a hissing sound, the grunting of men.
“They have it on its back now,” said the fellow, pleased. “For once we shall eat well in the delta.” Vagabonds of Gor, page 100-101