Utility Poles

Utility Poles are a group of subspecies of Electrical towers. They are quite small relative to most turrisids, and will only grow as tall as is necessary to keep their advanced tendon networks safely out of the range of nearby structons. Utility poles play a vital role in the ecosystems they inhabit, carrying electricity and data to other members of their local matrix as well as the many structons that rely on them. Found almost exclusively in developed colonies, utility poles are extremely social and form a dizzying array of relationships with their neighbors. Often overlooked due to their sheer abundance, utility poles are truly fascinating creatures, and we hope this overview of their behavior and anatomy inspires the reader to look more closely the next time they pass a utility pole in the wild.
The vast majority of utility poles have either wooden or metal flesh, depending primarily on their age and habitat. Wood may or may not be 'treated' for protection against the elements, and many wooden utility poles will periodically 'shed' and regrow a new wooden body. While rare, some poles may regrow a body of a different material altogether as their ecosystem develops around them.
image of wood, metal poles


reference image

Major Tendons and their Spatial Tiers

  • Supply zone: primary electric tendons are powerful but quite delicate, and can be catastrophically destructive when they make unsafe contact with trees, the ground, or even each other. They are held highest on the pole, most often on crossbars at the apex of the thorax. Special insulators protect the pole itself from its held connective tissue, usually glass or ceramic.
  • Neutral zone: secondary electric tendons can be found here, as well as less common organelles like streetlamps and traffic lights.
  • Telecommunications zone: telephonic tendons, which tend to be thicker than electric tendons are often closest to the ground. Cable tendons, which are often thinner or paler in color than electric tendons, are also typically found in this zone. Cable tendons can be identified by their distinctive "D"- shaped slacks, where a thin, taut line connected to the pole itself lets the cable tendon hang slightly looser. Because of cable tendons' sensitivity to temperature changes, this slack is crucial to prevent injury in extreme weather.
  • Clearance zone: the space between the lowest tendon and ground. many distinguishing markings and some secondary organs can be found here.

Minor Organs and Organelles

  • Transformers: large, grey canisters that typically grow in the Supply or Neutral zones. On top, it is connected to a surge arrestor, which is in turn connected to a cutout, which connects to the primary electric tendon. On side/base connects to secondary tendon, which connects to nearby structon. The transformer itself attenuates the high-potency energy in the primary tendon, making the secondary tendon less prone to unexpected catastrophic infra-structon events.
  • Splice and Node boxes: where tendons branch, grow after a dormant period, or heal after an injury, splice boxes protect the delicate connective tissue from moisture and redistribute tension or reinforce clamping muscles to ensure the tendon functions properly. When many branches grow from a single point, often to connect a larger group of structons, node boxes may help the pole to distribute the energy from its main tendons safely.
  • Bird baffles: these colorful organelles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and while they may appear purely ornamental, they serve an important function! Bird baffles are used to intimidate flying organic and inorganic lifeforms and scare them away from the pole's exposed tendons.
  • Cutouts: these organelles are characterized by their fragile fuse tubes, which are precisely evolved to break off painlessly in the event of a major injury, cutting off bloodflow to the damaged area and preventing the damage from affecting the broader connected system or the attached structon. New fuses regrow relatively quickly after recovery from the initial injury, and the attached transformers and structon can resume normal function straight away.
  • Surge arrestors: in the event of a lightning strike or other unexpected surge in the electrical tendon, this organelle helps safely guide the high-voltage current directly into the earth, away from the utility pole and its connected organisms.
  • Spacers: these cartilaginous growths help to keep the utility pole's assorted tendons safely far apart to reduce risk of catastrophic contact.
  • Venom spines: some utility poles may develop venomous spines in their base, which deter fungi and smaller organic pests from infesting their trunks.
  • Cameras: photosensitive appendages that can be prominent and motile, primitive velocity-sensors, or sometimes even camouflaged as splice boxes, these sensory organs take in electricity from the power tendons and provide information about their environment which can then be transmitted along tendons in the communication zone.
  • Routers: a tall, thin cylinder mounted to a utility pole may in fact be a large router. these function much like the transceivers in cell towers, and enable communication between microscopic organisms in the surrounding environment.
  • Slack loops: teardrop-shaped organelles growing along the tendons themselves, slack loops help keep tendons safely secured away from each other, and enable safe u-turns for more fragile tendons such as fiberoptic cable.
nice photo references
pictures here too

Markings and Ornamentation

  • ID markers: local clusters of utility poles may share similar yet unique markings, speculated to help differentiate individuals in a herd.
  • Plain tags small, colorful, round spots may reflect the individuals' tendon patterning - see upcoming articles for more on the differences between ground, neutral, and hot tendons.
  • Streetlamps and traffic lights: some poles will grow new limbs to hold structoluminescent apparatuses in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and intensities (see upcoming articles on lampposts for more). Occasionally, structoluminescent appendages can be found growing from the tendons themselves. These are much more likely to feature cycling patterns of colored light, which many suspect are used to communicate with the vessels around their base.

towerwatch home page