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In my world, there is not day or night, only dusk and dawn. Their time system is based on an insect called an Ersen which follows a very mechanical and strict life cycle which is synchronised throughout the whole species. Ersens are an endangered species because of their remarkably short lifespan of a day. Time is split into four sections in accordance to the Ersens life cycle; Egg, Larva, Pupa and Adult Ersa, Luri, Pupya, Erse

So basically, you can tell the time by looking at an insect. Because there are only four stages of an insect lifespan, it would be at best an approximate time; how can I make this more specific?

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    $\begingroup$ Are we required to stick to known science? What's stopping you from creating an 8-stage or 12-stage life cycle (multiple metamorphoses)? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Mar 28, 2023 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ i have no idea why that didnt come to my head, i think i just felt like it was a little lazy, but that should work! thank you $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2023 at 14:16
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    $\begingroup$ Like all arthropods, insects cannot grow continuously, because of their exoskeleton. As a consequence, insect (larvae or not) grow in discrete stages, called instars. For example, silkworm larvae go through five instars before pupating. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 28, 2023 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ It feels a bit unrealistic that egg and larva stages are so short. Usually they last a lot longer, even when the adults die within a day or two. $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2023 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ @JaniMiettinen :-) "Realistic?" (Jani Miettinen... Finnish?) Anyway, from the help center we read, "Worldbuilding Stack Exchange is a site for designers, writers, artists, gamers and enthusiasts to get help creating imaginary worlds. World building includes geography, culture and creatures for the world, not to mention magic and planetary physics, in short, everything from the physics underlying your reality to the entire universe you want to build." We're not bothered by a lack of Real World reality here. We only worry about suspension of disbelief - and sometimes not even that. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Mar 28, 2023 at 20:44

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To make the Ersen-based time system more specific, you can subdivide the four main stages into smaller increments, based on observable changes in the Ersen's development or behavior. Here are a few ideas:

Sub-stages: Divide each of the four main stages (Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult) into smaller sub-stages that represent distinct changes in the Ersen's appearance or activity. For example, the Larva stage could be further divided into "Early Larva," "Mid Larva," and "Late Larva," each characterized by different sizes, colors, or markings.

Activity-based increments: Base time increments on the Ersen's behavior during different stages of its life cycle. For example, during the Adult stage, the Ersen might engage in specific behaviors such as feeding, mating, or laying eggs. People could use these behaviors as a reference to estimate the time more precisely.

Synchronization cues: Introduce a specific behavior or event that occurs at regular intervals within each stage, serving as a synchronization cue for the entire species. For example, the Ersen might emit a distinct sound, bioluminescent glow, or pheromone signal at regular intervals, which could be used to mark smaller time increments within each stage.

Environmental factors: If the environment in your world is influenced by the Ersen's life cycle, you could use environmental cues to create a more specific time system. For example, the Ersen's activities could cause changes in the environment, such as fluctuations in temperature, humidity, or even the color of the sky, which could be used to mark smaller time increments.

Ersen-related artifacts: People in your world could develop tools or devices that mimic the Ersen's life cycle or respond to its behaviors, providing a more precise measurement of time. For example, they could create a mechanical or biological "Ersen clock" that emulates the insect's development and provides a more accurate indication of the time within each stage.

By incorporating a combination of these approaches, you can create a more detailed and specific time system based on the Ersen's life cycle, while still maintaining the unique cultural aspects of your world.

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    $\begingroup$ Robbie - Is this comment aimed at me and my answer, or the original question? I make no mention of dawn or dusk. "I ask you to waste no more SE members' time" is a particularly and unnecessary blunt statement. $\endgroup$
    – Hukk2010
    Apr 2, 2023 at 6:50

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