The Astomoi, or Astomi, (singular: Astomos or Astomus) are a legendary race of mouthless humanoids which inhabit India and live solely on the air they breath and the scents they inhale. In the Natural History, by Pliny the Elder, information about this species comes from the Greek historian Megasthenes, who describes them as living "at the extreme boundary of India to the East, near the source of the Ganges". Their bodies are entirely covered in hair, and they dress in clothes made of cotton wool. Having no mouths, they ingest neither food nor liquid and instead sustain themselves by consuming smells and fragrances. Some of the odors they can derive nourishment from include those of wild apples as well as some roots and flowers, "which they carry with them on their longer journeys so as not to lack a supply of scent", according to Pliny and Megasthenes. It's also said that they can be easily killed by strong odors.

Although they're not mentioned by name, The Travels of Sir John Mandeville also describes a race of humanoids which don't eat and survive solely on the smell of wild apples. These creatures inhabit an island called Pitan. They are described as shorter than most humans, but not as short as Pygmies. Mandeville claims that they're "not reasonable, but as wild as beasts". He then goes on to describe another island, inhabited by a feathered race.


  • Astomus is also the name of a genus of marine polychaetes.
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