Leviathan 4 westerfeld

Deryn flying a Huxley

Huxleys are fabrications without a spine, similar to jellyfish. They are sometimes called Medusas because of their many long tentacles. Huxleys are one of the many creatures used on the Leviathan; they are used for the ship to send someone up higher to get a better view of the surrounding area.

Huxleys were one of the first Hydrogen Breathers (a fabricated beast that has a hydrogen filled pocket or bladder to make it buoyant, allowing it to float, sink or rise in the air.)  They are easily frightened, which can be used to control the amount of hydrogen that the creature expels. They are strictly ascenders, and need to be tethered to a rope and winch. They detest storms, as seen in Leviathan when Deryn Sharp rode an unteathered Huxley before the Leviathan found her. Huxleys are named after Thomas Henry Huxley, a biologist and Darwin's friend in real life. Their life threads are thought to be based on the Portugese Man o' War (or Man-Of-War), as they have a gas-filled bladder that keeps them floating at the top of the water. The Leviathan is an example of a much larger, more complex Hydrogen Breather, which the Huxleys helped pioneer.

In the seriesEdit

Deryn is carried up by a Huxley during the middy test, and, after a storm, is unteathered and eventually picked up by the Leviathan. She and Newkirk often go up in Huxleys as part of their duties as midshipmen on the airship. Deryn and Fitzroy use Huxleys to get down from the Leviathan when the ship is picking up Dr. Barlow. Newkirk is burned while on a Huxley when the Leviathan is attacked by a Tesla cannon; he survives, but the Huxley does not.