Doan you go messin' around wit ma sickas, now. *hiccup* My sicka-boos produce the best Sicklebee Tea in all'a Ætoya. I juz wish I could convince the lil' buggers to share wit me, ya know?Very little is known about sicklebees, or sickas as the Nephilim of the swamp call them, as most don't wander into The Bog of Eternal Stench willingly. What little we do know is gathered from observations of the rare nest or creature found along the foothills of the Lourefell Mountains or the few conversations about them with the Nephilim - which is itself an incredibly unreliable source of information in the best of circumstances. One thing the world knows for sure, however, is that they create the famous Sicklebee Tea and are thus the most important species of Ætoya.
The sicklebee is a small flying mammal. It has two legs, two arms, and a chest that is significantly larger than its abdomen, giving it a strong V-shape. It's dark green fur is short and slick. The hands of sickas each have 5 digits: four clawed fingers, and one opposable thumb. On each sicka, one of the index fingers end in a sickle-shaped claw, giving rise to the creature's name. On the back of each sicka grow two thin leathery wings that are anywhere from grey-ish green to greenish-black. The wings are supported by bony outgrows of the clavicle and shoulder blade. Their eyes are dark-blue, almond-shaped, and multi-faceted. Each eye has both an eyelid and a nicitating membrane. The nicitating membrane is transparent, allowing partial sight when it is covering the eye. Above its eyes are two fuzzy antennae. It's jaws end in mandibles. The tips of which are hollow and connect to venom sacks along the sicklebee's jaw. The inside of each mandible is deeply curved creating a hollow or pocket.
Genetics and Reproduction
Sickas create nests containing 10-12 adults. Genetic diversity is ensured by fact that they don't mate with just one specific individual. And the young, once they reach maturity, always leave to find other nests. Females lay one or two eggs which incubate for 110 to 280 days. Eggs are cared for by the entire nest. Once the eggs hatch, the young are also fed by all adults and mature within six months. The adults will "prune" out young at the egg stage, dropping them over the edge of the nest. This tends to happen in larger broods and during Ætoya's high or low-tide extremes. Scholars believe that the creatures do this because during these times, it is difficult to find brackish water. Lack of this resource puts a stress on the entire nest, and therefore they sacrifice a few to save the whole.
Ecology and Habitats
They are only known to exist in Ætoya and create nests high within mangrillows to avoid the periodic flooding that the area is known for. Individuals will aggressively guard their nests and trees from predators, including foreign sicklebees that might try to harvest the bark from their tree. The sicklebees harvest the inner bark, or “phloem”, from nearby mangrillows using their sickle-shaped claw to scrape away outer dead bark. They never harvest the bark of a tree in which they are currently nesting. Nests are flat two-tiered structures made by intertwining the leaves of the mangrillow tree. The top platform is where the collected phloem is stored and combined with the acidic brackish water collected in the hollows of their mandibles. As this mixture steeps, it creates Sicklebee Tea. This tea slowly drips down betwen the intertwined leaves onto the platform below, where the eggs are maintained. The eggs become covered in the tea, though why this is necessary is not understood.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Sicklebees are opportunistic omnivores. They will eat anything that is readily available, even fresh carrion. Their primary food source, however, is insects, which they kill using the venom injected from their mandibles.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Based on Nephilim descriptions, the sicklebee can use their antennea to sense water salinity. The creatures will hover over water bodies, and their antennae will twitch, with larger movements indicating the presence of greater salinities. Some Nephilim will capture the creatures and use them as a way to search for less saline water sources, for the rare occurence when they aren't drinking Sicklebee Tea.
10 - 15 years
1.2 to 2.3 inches