Some would cry foul on my making the majority of the life on Evandar to be akin to what we find on Earth. It could perhaps be declared the penultimate version of laziness when the number of unique creatures and plants I devise are actually a very small percentage of the life forms that would be found on this world. If it is laziness, then I am going to do my best to make this the most glorious bit of laziness to be found in print.
There actually is a solid reason why I place so much in this world to make it a fantastic parallel to our world. Human beings arose within a fairly specific evolutionary context. While this is fantasy that I am writing and my humans are not going to be identical to those from Earth except by fiat or deus ex machina, I am not comfortable dropping humans into a fantastic world with out any of the evolutionary cohort they developed with. I could just cast such considerations to the wind and spin out my tales with out this often ignored or assumed aspect. Many authors have and done so with great success in their works.
I, however, felt the need to place my human characters into a situation where it was as Earth-like as possible with out being a complete copy. Humans have evolved with specific biological systems in place to process certain things for their survival. These things arose due to a specific set of ecological pressures, which promoted one set of traits over the course of evolution. You can not have a human with out those ecological pressures and traits. You will have something that will be human-like but it will not be truly human.
The world of Evandar is very different from Earth. It has a system of three natural satellites which influences things such as tides and nocturnal conditions. It is in orbit about a binary star system. (The second star is a ultra cool Brown Dwarf star and is not visible due to the glare from the larger main star of the system which is a Main Sequence star, like our Sun.) This also has an influence on tides but the combined effects of the triple moons and the dual stars serves to, for the most part, balance out each other and have oceanic tides that are for the most part like Earth's.
There are arctic, tundra, temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical zones. The continent that Evandar is located on spans a reach between arctic in the northernmost extremes to the tropics in the southernmost extreme. It is but one of several continents of varying size. All of these different climates and their myriad sub-climates (and countless micro-climates) have features both familiar to us and foreign. I do my best to keep the exotic elements in harmony with what we have in the real world so that my fantasy world is at least somewhat realistic. I am still in the midst of deciding the lay out of the other continents and the defining details of the different regions. I don't think I am a fool for following what I learn about Earth's climates and various regions.
Honestly, a good deal of what my exotic life forms are like is based pretty heavily in what sort of exotic life forms we can find in our own world. When we have creatures that live for an indeterminately long lifespan with out human intervention (I'm looking at you, Galapagos tortoises.) and creatures that clearly operate with a human like intelligence but in an alien fashion (ohai dolphins, how are you, you magnificent creatures?), is it really such a shock to consider that creatures of such a nature can be found on another world? Yes, my exotic creatures are strange and definitely alien. But if you take a peek in the ocean's depths or the florid complexity of the tropical rainforests, you can find lifeforms that are no less strange and alien.