Flitting Through the Ages

You may have to crowd a bit closer for this next exhibit.  I realize that a two-foot wingspan on an insect may seem large by today’s standards, but in the Late Cretaceous this was just a little guy.  In the back there, yes, you - try to keep up, won’t you?

I present to you the Flit-Flit.  These multi-winged critters - be sure to count all eight, now - infested the tropical jungles of the world for 369 years before I figured out what to do with them.

I’m sure you’re thinking that this specimen doesn’t look all that bad.  A ten-inch segmented body with a dozen legs, six faceted eyes, and those gorgeous gossamer wings.  To tell you the truth, the Flit-Flit did amuse me at first, which is probably why it lasted as long as it did.

I’ll ask you to pay particular attention to the jaws, more specifically the inch-long retractable fangs.  Those fangs delivered the Flit-Flit’s specialized venom.  In addition to its anti-coagulation properties, this substance had certain other… chemical components, shall we say.  Now, the Flit Flit only required an ounce of blood every 48 hours to survive, so its prey was relatively lucky.

I say relatively, because every creature this insect fed on subsequently became convinced that it, too, could fly.  This situation was alright for the birds and such, but you can only watch small mammals climb trees and fling themselves off for so long before it becomes boring.

I introduced a tiny change into the Flit-Flit’s feeding behaviour for subsequent generations: the irresistible need to call loudly in order to engage those fangs.  Needless to say, with this ample warning time the Flit-Flit’s prey opportunities were severely limited.

Oh, you were wondering what the call sounded like?  There wouldn’t be an adequate comparison today, but think of it as a cross between a blue whale and a giraffe.

Keep up now; on with the tour.

The End

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