Flycatcher - Gurgen Torosyan

Hey everyone,

here is my entry for the Alien Art Contest 2018. 

The Flycatcher is a species from the planet K'arin.

Since there are quite a few flying creatures living on the planet and most of them are of smaller sizes, the Flycatcher species seems to have adapted to catching those. 

As an extremely specialized hunter of the very fast and agile prey, they rely on different kinds of techniques. Long extremities (arms, "fingers", mouthparts) give large catching surfaces when spread. Almost like baseball mitts. Helping with prey not flying through all the gaps, sticky silk can be produces at several spots of the body. Right under the mouth, for example, is one such "dispenser", which sprays the silk in a specific zig-zag pattern, so that the extremities in use (mouthparts or arms) are fully covered with a net-like structure.
 At different parts of the abdomen (tucked in right between the legs and the hips) and the chest, other kinds of silk can be produced. When arms or fingers are pushed against these specialized glands, a new string of silk is produced and glued on the surface of the touching extremity. This way, the whole body - combined with specific movements of the extremities - can produce complex patterns of nets meeting the requirements of the hunter. 

Larger prey is often pursued by multiple Flycatcher. Already caught smaller prey is mostly "stored" right at the larger parts of the own body (mostly upper legs, back and chest). The used silk for catching the prey is perfect for gluing it to every surface. This is important since one "fly" is often too small for a satisfying meal. An experienced hunter can catch and store up to 15 flies during one hunt. 

After specializing in jumping, spreading limbs, spitting sticky silk and catching all kind of flying animals, the culture of this species has adapted to these tasks. Aside from the "flycatching" itself being the most important activity for all the hunters, other ways of using the specialized skills seem to have emerged. For example different team and 1 vs. 1 sporting events (spherical objects are tossed and caught), martial arts and more dance-like activities. These seem to be a very fertile way of training unexperienced, younger hunters in the arts of Flycatching.

Cheers and of course: good luck to everyone! 
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