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Mutant 59: Snow Fly by Wrathofautumn Mutant 59: Snow Fly by Wrathofautumn
Snow Fly

Hehehe, for future references and for your pleasure, I give you an insect that thrives in cold. The Snow Fly(Tabanus Ningues), a distant member of the Diptera Order, and an offshoot evolution of the horsefly. Horseflies many ages ago were introduced by accident from Kannist settlers rebuilding the ruins of the Lunari. In several generations, due largely to exposure from frost moonjade, crystals with radioactive levels within safety levels, a new species was born. Thousands of years later, they have become an indigenous part of Knowall's ecosystem, serving as one of the food sources for the food web.

description

Much like their cousins, snow flies are about the same size(25-30mm long).

As a larva, they are a palish cream color with a pair of light-sensitive eyes and blunt mandibles for feeding on its food source. Between the eyes is a valve which from a sac stored near the brain, is concentrated nitric acid for self-defense. They have small sets of feet just beneath their soft bodies. Unlike as an adult, they are cold-blooded, and require the warmth of the sun to keep them active.

As an adult, they have a physiological appearance of both a bumblebee and a horsefly. They are covered in fuzzy white hairs(for camouflaging with the environment) which provide excellent insulation from the bitter cold, even well below zero. They are warm-blooded too, which keeps them from being totally immobilized. They have claws which are designed for both gripping ice and digging(females have much stronger looking legs because of this.) Their stout legs make for excellent walking, as wings are now used until mating. One vital element to the snow fly is the packs of ice which helps to keep it together. Without these packs of ice, it would fall apart. Of course, you'd think that being warm-blooded that would be an unusual paradox; however, the mixture of harsh elements, chemicals used to make it and the instinct to reinforce its icy carapace all work to keep it alive.

Gender is distinguished mainly by the heads. Males have more of a horsefly head, with larger segmented eyes, a housefly like proboscis, and short antennae. Females have a more hornet like head, with smaller segmented eyes and a pair of special eyes which detect heat signatures. Like males, they have proboscises, but they also have a pair of sharp mandibles for digging through permafrost(which can also serve as self-defense.)

Snow-flies live as long as the winter(Approximately eight months), usually, as the summer heat will melt them, though snow-flies living in captivity can live until their energy runs out(about 14 months).

life cycle

Snow Flies start their lives as larva, feeding off lichen that thrive off ammonium sulfate coming from sulfrous hot springs. They will continue feeding until the autumn comes. If they can avoid being detected by Shepard Ants, their main predator especially during the autumn when they're going into their cocoons. They will usually find sources of water to do so, using adhesives from its abdomen, it floats across the water as it forms the cocoon around itself.

Inside the cocoon, while the tundra changes violently, a complete metamorphosis is occurring. It begins its process to becoming an adult. Meanwhile, ammonium sulfate mixes with the nitric acid stored in the sacs as a larva. Combined with water absorbed from the chyrsallis via osmosis, an endothermic reaction occurs which gives the snow fly its frigid yet fuzzy appearance. By the time, winter first hits, the snow fly will emerge from the cocoon, ready to begin its life as an adult. It will no longer have to worry about sheperd ants; in fact, they hibernate during the winter, living off the nourishment they attained during the spring and summer.

Besides from avoiding dangerous predators, the snow fly will mainly be drinking up the snow around it. Unlike the horsefly, the snow fly has evolved past parasitic tendencies. It requires no further nourishment upon adulthood, as it uses the nutrients from the lichen fed on as a larva for the rest of its abrupt life. The water it drinks leaks out of its chitin carapace, which after drinking enough, will bathe in snowstorms to further freeze it. It will continue this routine until it is eaten or until it's mating season.

As spring nears, the snow fly will begin to test its wings. When ready, it will fly towards a pack of glaciers, following a trail of pheremones left by female predecessors many ages ago, while at the same time, avoiding predators. These glaciers become buzzing harem of female and male snow flies, all whom are willing to prove that females deserve their sperm.
The females use their extra set of special eyes to detect which snow flies have the lowest heat signatures. In this way, it shows who amongst the snow flies worked the hardest to show their worth. When they pick amongst the courting males, the mating begins. After the female receives the male's sperm, it will fly off back to where it was born, a trail burned into its soul, with the smaller male, riding on its back. Any males left behind after the mating season is over have exhausted themselves to near death, and are swept away by southern winds into the ocean, providing food for surface feeders, or ride the currents until it warms up, leaving them to disintegrate.

When the mated pair reaches the hot springs, the male leaves the female to do her duty, while he marches near the hot spring and melts soon after. The female will dig a hole an inch deep into the snow, laying her eggs and secreting an insulating residue that will help keep them warm until spring. Soon after, exhausted, the snow fly female, almost an a coincidental sign of monogamy and devotion, dies next to the male.

When the eggs hatch in spring, the larva will emerge with the need to feed, and will come across newer patches of lichen on the rocks(most of which were the parents who were eventually decomposed back to the elements from which they came.). Shrugging aside any complicated thoughts, it begins to prepare itself for its harsh life from Knowall.

Annnnnd that's it! :3 Not too bad a biology for a made up creature, eh? :D

C&C well appreciated! ^_^
:iconcane-mckeyton:
Cane-McKeyton Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fearsome D=
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:iconwrathofautumn:
Wrathofautumn Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2008
It's actually cute, I feel. :3
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:iconmephis-takagashi:
Mephis-Takagashi Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2008
o.o;
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