Flutterstab or FlutterstingHabitat:
While female workers are seen continually flitting about the entire continent, the actual hives are nestled within the elder trees deep in the hearts of woodlands and jungles. The latter is their more common home.Diet:
Flutterstabs feast upon nectar, though it is not unheard of for them to consume the juices of other bugs. Larvae are fed a mix of nectar and chemicals secreted from worker males.
Flutterstabs will feed each other by vomiting the nectar from their beaks onto the tongues of another. Each transition from flutter to flutter allows enzymes to break the foodstuff down into a complex concoction, which is then stored within the hive as backup food and sealed for safety with wax. Chemicals from the stored sweetness are absorbed into the hivetree's bark, hardening the surface into something that is largely Thread-resistant. What remains from the transformed nectar is a sticky, sweet resin dubbed 'sugargum'.Habits:
Flutterstabs function with a hivemind mentality. Their primary drives are to bring nectar to the home, feed the larvae, and protect the Queen.
'Worker' flutters tend to the collecting of food. They are female Flutterstabs that lack the ability to reproduce (thanks largely to the chemicals injected into their foodstuff early in life). These workers go from flower to flower, collecting sweet nectar. They are known to fly for thousands of miles in a single day, crossing the wide expanse of the continent and returning home once their mission is completed. Pollen collects on their fur from each visit. Worker flutters are almost singlehandedly responsible for the pollination of the world's fuana.
Male 'drones' tend to the home. Their duty is to protect the young/food/Queen while maintaining the hive's construction. Drones excrete a fibrous material that is used to fix damage components and create new ones. They are not armed with stingers, but can set a pheromone-laced 'alarm' that will trigger a defensive response from the workers.
There is only one Queen of the hive, the sole female that is allowed to reproduce. Male suitors from other hives will enter her home during mating season (the beginning of spring). Thousands will breed with her, and she will store their sperm for use throughout the year. The Queen does not leave her 'chamber', constantly birthing eggs that are carried off by drones to their cells.
A single Queen is laid three times a year. When the Queen larvae mature, they will dispatch to an elder tree with several workers and drones to begin a new colony.
While Southern flutterstings are not nearly as aggressive are their Northern counterparts, they will act quickly upon any threats to the hive. Their stingers remain intact after attacking, allowing them to inflict multiple wounds without tiring. Each sting contains 50% Mellitin, which destroys blood cells by breaking up their membranes and activating a histamine release in the victim's body. Those allergic, or who are subject to many stings, will undergo an anaphylactic response that causes blood pressure to increase and bronchioles to constrict, leading to eventual swelling of the airway.
Trained flutterstingkeepers will 'smoke' a tree before attempting to collect sugargum. This will put the flutterstings in a brief catatonic state. While there has been some study about using pheromones to interact with a hive without the danger of being stung, this has yet to be enacted.
A single hive contains about 80,000 flutterstings, with larger trees containing even more. It is not uncommon for multiple hives to reside within a ten foot square range, as they are rather docile with one another. Appearance:
Flutterstings are roughly an inch long. Their heads resemble that of a bird's, with puny black eyes and long beaks equally the length of their bodies. Through the beak is a long tongue that can dip into the finer depths of a flower. Four wings extend from their backs, giving the 'flutter' to their name due to their rapid, unwavering beating.
Their upper halves, including the wings, are coated with a fine fur-like lining, bright neon green in hue. The thorax, however, is covered with a tough, bright red exoskeleton. These colors are thought to ward off predators with the threat of a painful, poisonous sting. At the tip of their thoraxes (and for workers only) are tiny, sharp stingers that extend only when threatened.
Unlike most insects, these creatures only have four frail-looking black legs.
Queen flutterstings have bright colorful crests atop their heads. Their wings are small and weak, shriveling after mating and preventing them from flying. Their thoraxes are typically inflated with the culmination of eggs. Queens are easily three times the size of a worker fluttersting.A little thing about sugargum:
This sweet, sticky concoction is typically harvested and sold as is. It can be consumed by any human, and is thought to have medicinal benefits. The substance itself is highly acidic to microorganisms, giving it an incredibly long shelf-life.With the addition of water and yeast, sugargum can also be fermented into a sweet, alcoholic beverage.
The sugargum's flavor varies on the flowers the flutterstabs feed from, but it is nigh-impossible to restrict their diet to any one species of plant. Based off of honeybees and hummingbirds.