The Flyer Crab is a small crab that lives on the windy shores of Sarvonia, especially where the wind, reversing its direction from morning to evening blows the water out and in on a fairly flat piece of beach. It is so named for the filmy wings that can spread out from its sides, enabling it to glide down silently and catch nearby insects. The Flyer Crab has one of the hardest shells in the world.
Appearance. The colour of the Flyer Crab can vary widely, depending on its surroundings. It seems that the colour is depending on the temperature, the warmer the water is, the redder the Crab. An additional feature is, that the it is getting brighter and brighter as the mating season approaches. A full grown crab is usually about a palmspan across and almost three times that with its "wings" spread. It is about half a palmspan tall and is rarely more than an od in weight.
The Flyer Crab's "wings" are a dull grey in color in southern Sarvonia, whereas, in northern parts of the continent, they are a light blue or green. Flyer Crabs allow enough light through so its prey doesn't see their shadow. However they are pinned to its sides most of the time, and as such you have to be very close to see them. If you were to pry off the shell you would see that the insides are soft and pink unless a new one is already forming under that.
On the shell are two protuberances about half a grain in size. The eyes are located at the very end of these protuberances. The legs are the only joined part of the whole shell, and there are six of them. They are the only part that doesn't lose its shell when it sheds. They are also the same color as the rest of the shell. The only immediately noticeable difference between males and females is that males tend to be slightly heavier and as a result can catch bigger insects.
The Flyer Crabs of the south are always considerably fatter and heavier, so one must be careful not to mistake a southern female for a northern male. The southern females are much heavier than the northern males, but there have been mistakes in the past about this issue.
Special Abilities. This creature has large filmy winglike things that enable it to glide from atop rocks or mounds down to their prey. They can glide up to a dash without touching the ground. Also the Flying Crabs have one of the hardest topshells in the world, which, along with a special pad on the underside of it, protects them when they fall or crash. Flyer Crabs also have unprecedented eyesight for their kind, enabling them to see small insects hundreds of peds away.
They were thought to be able to climb only rocks two fores or less before gliding before researcher Sky'an Lodus proved their ability to climb rocks two or more peds high, in the northern areas, where food is more scarce and they must fly farther. Like other crabs, they can also breathe both on land and underwater.
Territory. The Flyer Crab can be found almost anywhere on the coast of North or South Sarvonia, but Santharian ones have been known to be considerably fatter and are an excellent food source for eagles, hawks, snobyrrs, and other large taloned birds who can pry the shells open. They also have an aversion to cliff edges and mainly live on windy beaches where they can get enough moisture to sustain them for the hours while the wind isn't blowing water in. Their hard shells protect them from the beating of the waves and hold their water in, making this a perfect environment for them.
Habitat/Behaviour. These creatures live on the rocky beaches of Sarvonia, where the wind blows the water in and out perpetually. They use their longer forelegs to pull themselves up onto rocks where they spread their wings and jump off. They then silently glide toward the small insects and form their six legs into a tight cage to trap them, often in midair. They also glide down and land on larger insects, with their legs splayed out, crushing them with their body. Flyer Crabs then eat the remains of the insects, and go to climb again. Spending a lot of time with their young, they teach them how to glide and hunt. They also often fight among each other, especially in the north, when food is involved. The fights are organized ones, each participant starting on a rock and gliding toward each other. They meet in midair, and the one to close its wings the fastest has the advantage of clawing the other's wings while theirs are protected. They plummet to the ground and roll around together, using their pointed legs to attack the eyes and the soft parts of the leg. A truly interesting spectacle for onlookers...
Diet. Flyer Crabs eat only insects, spiders, and sometimes krill. In winter, they generally glide into the water to catch water insects and krill, using their six legs, to form a tight cage around their prey as they land.
Mating. When the mating season draws near, perhaps as a tribute to Etherus, the crab turns a bright red - people believe as a tribute to Etherus -, except in the north, where they are black or brown.
When it is mating season, a fight will occur among the males with the female looking on. She mates with the winner. They then stay together for about a year, the male obtaining food for the family, and the female protecting them. The mating season occurs once every two years, usually in the month of the Burning Heavens.
Usages. It is supposed that the Flyer Crabs have one of the hardest shells in the world, so the Stratanians to the south often plate their shields with them. Their film on their wings is also sometimes used for windowpanes, clothing, and even slings, and the southern ones are a delicacy in the northern Santharian provinces, lean and juicy, and draped with many delicious spices, they are served with the legs and shell still attached and are cracked open to signify the freshness. They are, after all, boiled alive in hot water, mere hours before being served.
Myth/Lore. Talia Sturmwind reported following myth including the Flyer Crab, which the Shendar tell while sitting around their campfire:
"Once upon a time when the world was still young and the gods had not finished all their tasks and Injérà was shining on the beaches and shores of southern Sarvonia, Baveras was playing with her element, throwing herself with the waves joyfully at the rocks, spraying fountains of white foam over black stones. Mighty masses of blue green water were undulating till they were running out exhausted at white sandy beaches. And Baveras was happy.
Researchers. Sky'an Lodus is a reknowned researcher for his complete and as yet flawless works on the Flyer Crab. He is interested in them more because of his devotion to Baveras than because of any real love of the animal.
Information provided by Roguehammer and Talia Sturmwind