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|Habitat||Mountainous regions of Pandora, including (most notably) the Hallelujah Mountains.|
|Anatomy||Leathery membranous wings stretched taut over hollow bone structure. Large distensible jaw. Complex coloring scheme. Teeth are obsidian-like and extremely sharp. Bones composed of biologically produced carbon-fiber composite.|
|Feeding Ecology||Shape of jaw indicates that ikran may have evolved from fish-like organisms.|
|Size||Wingspan of up to twelve meters.|
|Notes||Can make subtle adjustments to flight attitude and speed with an articulated tail tip, which can flare or remain tucked.|
Bonding with a banshee is a dangerous and required rite of passage for all would-be Na'vi warriors. Like the direhorse, a Na'vi can connect to a banshee through a neural interface that allows animal and rider to move with apparent effortlessness through the skies. Unlike the direhorse, however, the banshee will only bond with one Na'vi in its lifetime.
The mountain banshee rookery is high in the Hallelujah Mountains. The largest rookery, which features the biggest specimens (and therefore the best to tame for riding), is in grottoes and outcrops on a sheer cliff face of Mons Veritatis, one of the largest of the floating mountains. It is here that the Na'vi come to select (and be selected by) a banshee for domestication. The bonded mountain banshees nest in the highest branches of Hometree, where they can be close at hand for their Na'vi rider.
The mountain banshee (like its smaller cousin, the forest banshee) is highly adapted for flight. Specially developed muscles attached to the breastbone allow for the powerful strokes needed to achieve lift. Xenobiologists continue to study the aerodynamics of the banshee. It is believed that all of Pandora's flying animals take advantage of gravity that is lower than Earth's and the increased air density, (which requires more force to displace with the downward/rearward stroke of their wings, and thus gives the animal's body more impetus with each flap). The downside is that the denser air is harder to move through, and requires highly-efficient streamlining to achieve high flight speeds.
Though reptilian in appearance, the banshee has a metabolism that is bird-like, and generates tremendous heat. The banshee has a complex cooling system to keep it from overheating during strenuous flying. The breathing system is central to this cooling. The air inlets, or spiracles, face forward at the front of the chest cavity, like the engine intakes of a jet fighter. Induction of air is controlled by a cartilaginous operculum, or flap-valve. The banshee lung is a bellows like structure, inflated by rib movement, but unlike the lungs of terrestrial animals, it has unidirectional flow, venting aft through gill-like slits.
Like many of Pandora's creatures, the banshee also has a remarkably strong cell structure. This structure, which is a biologically produced carbon-fiber, makes their bones much lighter and stronger than any organic Terran equivalent. This in turn allows them to generate more power and lift with every flap. The biochemistry of their muscle tissue allows them to generate nearly twice the force per pound of muscle as terrestrial flying animals such as bats and birds. This, again, generates tremendous metabolic heat. The hollow bones are connected to the bellows-like lung, and cooling air moves through the long bones of the fore and aft wings.
Each large fore-wing has three Primary Vanes at its tips. These form like the wings of a dragon fly, by the extrusion of a resin into the veins of a flexible membrane, which unfurls then cures in the sun into a rigid transparent vane. These vanes are replaced through molting. The purpose of the vanes is to generate lift and to provide fine control in flight. They are also quite robust structures designed to fold inward if the wingtips hit tree limbs or other obstacles.
The smaller hind wing, or canard, plays a dual role in Banshee flight. In level flight, when large amounts of power are not required, the creature propels itself with the fore-wing and uses the canard as a tail-plane, for steering. When more power is needed, for take-off and climbing, or escape from an aerial predator such as the leonopteryx, the canard becomes an additional wing, flapping to provide propulsion.
The steering vane under the banshee’s lower jaw and the featherlike fan at the tip of the tail provide additional turning authority for high performance aerobatics. The banshee is highly maneuverable and can dive at speeds close to 140 knots.
The banshee has two primary eyes which see in full color in roughly the same spectrum as human vision. Aft of the primary eyes are smaller secondary eyes, which can move independently or together with the primaries. They see in near infrared, for night hunting. They also are highly sensitive to motion, and act as an early warning system against attack from the rear. All four eyes are protected by lids and by transparent nictating membranes. Forward of the primary eyes are lines of sensor pits. These are thought to provide airflow information in flight, like a pitot tube on an airplane. Another hypothesis is that they are sensitive to sound, and have an echolocation role, by sensing the reflected sound of the banshee shrieks.
Banshees were so named because of their piercing signature cry. This is only one of the banshee’s many vocalizations, and is thought to be a distant call defining territory. Other vocalizations include a warning hiss, which is part of an overall threat display posture, and a short sharp shriek which denotes stress or fear. There are also warning sounds, and other stress vocalizations, as well as more guttural vocalizations associated with social grooming and contentment. The banshees are social animals, and communicate frequently, generating quite a din at rookeries and other communal areas.
The banshee emits sound from its head, using the open mouth to focus the direction. However, it does not have a trachea in its neck, since it breathes directly into the chest cavity. It has instead, a tube running from the lungs up into the head which pumps air through the vocal organ, the syrinx. Chambers in the head amplify the sound before it is emitted into the mouth cavity for directional aiming. Some banshee vocalizations are emitted directly from the resonating cavity, when the mouth is closed.
|Taxonomy||Equidirus hoplites or “feared armored horse”|
|Habitat||Rainforests and grasslands, but adaptable to most Pandoran environments. A grazing animal that has been domesticated by the Na’vi as a riding animal.|
|Anatomy||Horse-like creature with six legs, tough skin with no fur, long necks and small head, bold stripes, flexible carbon fiber armor over shoulders and along the back of the neck and head.|
|Feeding Ecology||Land omnivore that uses long snout to feed on sap. some protein intake through insects trapped in sap. Favored food is direhorse pitcher plant. Effective pollinator.|
|Size||Over 4.25 meters long, up to four meters in height|
|Notes||Animal has neural interface that allows Na'vi and direhorse to move together with apparent effortlessness. A highly intelligent, calm creature that, like the Na'vi, can turn fierce in the face of battle.|
The Direhorse is a large hexepodal (six limbed) grazing herbivore that shares characteristics of both Terran equine and ruminant animals. They eat vegetation almost exclusively, and possess a complex system of three stomachs, each specializing in the break down of specific types of biomass. Their six legs each end in a powerfully built hoof reinforced with a natural fiber weave much like the animal's skeleton. The reinforcement nearly eliminates the chances of a hoof cracking and splitting.
To fuel the muscles of their six powerful legs, the direhorse's lungs are fed directly by two rows of breathing valves located on the front of the chest, eliminating the rebreathing of air present in a windpipe when routed through the throat and mouth. The multiple valves also drastically increase the volume of air available, giving the animal impressive speed and endurance. The only drawback of this system is a direhorse cannot traverse water any deeper than its legs, as it will drown.
The direhorse has two prehensile neural interfaces that emerge from either side of the animal's skull. These appendages have feathery tips loaded with neurons and remain in constant motion as the animal explores its surroundings. In addition to their function as a link between herd members and their Na'vi riders, the interfaces also seem to possess a sensory function, much like the antennae of Terran insects. Xenobiologists believe that the touch of interfaces is for pleasure and affection, but also a means of transferring information about food sources and potential dangers; herds often move in unison shortly after touching antennae.
The animals are easily startled and can reach ninety-five kilometers per hour. The direhorse is larger by a third than the largest Terran draft horses such as the Clydesdale or the Percheron, and substantially larger than the biggest horse ever recorded on Earth.
The Na'vi are excellent riders and the direhorse is a swift, nimble mount that is well-adapted to the rugged Pandoran terrain.
The Direhorse is a land herbivore found throughout most of Pandora's different environs. It is believed that it originated from the grassland regions, where herds of a few dozen to a few hundred animals range over territories of five hundred square kilometers or more. The direhorse's introduction to the planet's tropical regions probably coincided with its domesticated by the Na'vi.
On the plains, an adult direhorse had few natural predators that would risk challenging a herd. However in the jungle, the Thanator and Great Leonopteryx have both been observed isolating lost individuals and bringing them down with relative ease. Even a pack of Viperwolves have a fair chance to predate an adult direhorse cut off from the rest of the herd.
It grazes using its long snout and dexterous giraffe-like tongue, to feed on a wide variety of Pandoran flora, including grasses, ferns, and low lying leaves. In rain-forest environments, direhorses seek out beds of flowers for a quick caloric boost of sweet nectar, making the direhorse an important pollinator.
Many direhorses are tamed to aid their riders in the hunt and in battle. To bond with (or, in human terms, to “break”) a direhorse, a Na'vi must mount the animal and connect their neural queue to the animal's antennae (or neural whip). Once queue and antenna touch, the feathery tendrils automatically intertwine, almost as if possessed of free will. Although the exact motive force remains unknown, it is believed that the antennae may secrete a pheromone that evokes the unique intertwining.
Once intertwined, the Na'vi rider can communicate motor commands instantly through the neural interface. The apparent lack of effort makes it seem as if the direhorse is an extension of the rider's own body. This frees up the Na'vi to use a bow and arrow during a hunt or battle.
Unlike the Mountain Banshee, however, the neural link made between rider and direhorse does not lead to a life-long, exclusive bond between Na'vi and animal; although Na'vi have their favorite mounts, it is possible and permissible to ride another clan member's direhorse.
The direhorse is a perfect mount to ride in the obstacle-strewn close quarters of a Pandoran forest; direhorses have excellent reaction times and can leap large distances.
Direhorses are the perfect warfareing mount for the Na'vi, and played a crucial part in the showdown between Na'vis and humans. Direhorses are an important part of many Clans, such as the Horse Clan of the Plains.
|Taxonomy||Rhinoquadruculus hammercephali or “four-eyed rhinoceros”|
|Habitat||Prefers open grasslands, but frequent visitor to rainforest|
|Anatomy||Massive, low-slung head with boney projections on either side of the skull similar to Terran hammerhead shark. Soft ungulate mouth is protected by a rigid, beak-like jaw structure.|
|Feeding Ecology||Land herbivore. Main food sources are grass and shrubs, but also eats various fruits and leaves of the rainforest.|
|Size||Can be six meters in height, twelve meters long|
|Notes||A plant eater, but potentially deadly. Almost twice the size of an African elephant, but much faster.|
This massive, grazing creature travels in small herds or packs. It is moderately social, but also extremely territorial and hierarchical. Constant threat displays, both visible and audible, are a large part of the titanothere's day. When angered (which happens easily and often), a titanothere will raise a semicircle of colorful skin flaps on it's cranium and begin vocalizing a challenge, which sounds similar to an elephant (it is hypothesized that there may be air channels inside the hammerheads that act as resonance chambers, although no dissection of an adult has been attempted as of yet). If this fails, the animal will lower its head and charge at the perceived threat. The sheer momentum and ferocity of this display is usually enough to send any Pandoran creature running for cover, even viperwolf packs and wild mountain banshees. Once early in the human presence on Pandora, a confused Titanothere stumbled into a R.D.A. mining pit. Before it could be scared off, it had managed to disable two utility AMP suits and one ore hauling truck by punching a refrigerator sized hole in the vehicle's radiator. This incident had been part of the justification for the building of a perimeter fence and the militarization of the security force.
The imposing hammerhead structure is formed of cartilage rather than bone in the juvenile animal. It can bend to allow the animal to pass through restricted spaces which an inexperienced young hammerhead might enter. As it matures, the structure ossifies, and becomes solid bone. Fighting males will attempt to injure their opponents' legs and joints with the knobs at the ends of their hammers. Due to the heavily reinforced nature of the animal's bones, these fights seldom end with permanent injuries, although it is not unusual to see mature males limping on one or more legs in the weeks surrounding musk. The titanothere is highly territorial. Alpha males use their considerable momentum to spread their scent by smashing trees, thus warning other animals (including titanothere bulls) to steer clear. A large herd of Hammerhead Titanotheres can potentially destroy small forests.
The titanothere has poor distance vision, but makes up for this with acute hearing and an excellent sense of smell. Although massive, its six limbs allow it to pivot rapidly when it detects a threat from the side or rear. The animal's overlapping body plates and large, bony shoulder and back offer protection during battles with other titanothere or large creatures such as the leonopteryx or thanator.
In addition to the titanothere's impressive individual defenses, they also exhibit strong herd coordination. When threatened, a herd will form a defensive line or circle, hammerheads forward and the juveniles and elderly members behind. If the interloper doesn't get the message, the entire line of adults may charge forward. The only way to ensure survival from a charging herd of titanothere is to run faster than them.
For all its size, speed, and power, the hammerhead titanothere is not particularly bright. During mating season, males have been observed challenging prolemuris, fallen trees, even rock formations. They are almost entirely driven by instinct and have resisted all attempts at domestication. Only very rarely has a Na'vi gotten close enough for long enough to attempt a bond with a titanothere, and the experiment has never been successful. The animal generally reacts with panic and smashes the nearest tree, dislodging the intruder who is lucky to get away intact.
|Na'vi Name||Palulukan or “Dry Mouth Bringer of Fear”|
|Taxonomy||Bestiapanthera ferox or “fierce panther beast”|
|Habitat||Rainforest floor. Similar species have been observed in subarctic regions.|
|Anatomy||Armored head and massive distensible armored jaw. Teeth are twenty-three centimeters long. Burnished black skin banded with stripes of yellow and scarlet. Ten external sensory quills. Upper lips fold back for maximum tooth extension. Armored chitinous plating over dorsal area.|
|Feeding Ecology||Apex land predator, omnivore with preference for nocturnal hunting|
|Size||Reaches more than 5.5. meters long, up to 2.5 meters tall|
|Notes||The most fearsome of all Pandoran land predators. Wide, armored tail can slam prey or defend against other thanators. Cartilaginous plates around its neck that can flare, possibly as a threat display but more likely as an echolocation or other sensory pinpointing system. Given its anatomy, it is likely that thanator is evolutionary relative to the viperwolf. In the Avatar movie Neytiri manages to bond with a Thanator, showing that Thanators can bond with the Na'vi and Avatars.|
Although many regions of the moon have yet to be explored, xenobiologists currently believe that the thanator may be the apex land predator on Pandora. Reminiscent of a Terran panther, this enormous, powerful animal is unique in its ability to lord over its territory and strike fear into the largest and fiercest of Pandora's creatures. Even the Na'vi, who are renowned for their courage, are shaken by the approach of the creature; it is not celebrated in dance or song.
Its musculature is pronounced and impressive, providing power for protracted runs and leaps. The speed of its neck and jaw strike is as swift as a camera shutter. In addition to conventional ripping and tearing, the thanator can also deliver a lethal blow from its armored tail. Not even the roots of a great Pandoran tree can protect a thanator's prey from it's razor sharp claws. In addition the thanator's senses are so highly developed that, depending on atmospheric conditions, it can detect prey up to thirteen kilometers away.
The thanator appears to hunt alone and normally does not stray outside of its territory, which is believed to be roughly 300 square kilometers. It appears to hunt mainly at night, although seems to make an exception if hungry enough.
Surprisingly, the thanator has ten sensory quills, two each sprouting from armor plating that encircles the rear of the skull. The function of the quills is poorly understood, but it has been hypothesized that they may be tied to an internal mechanism of prey location.
This magnificent creature's black leathery skin also boasts several skin flaps on the rear of the head and surrounding the mouth. Xenobiologists have deduced that these flaps are a type of warning to intimidate the thanator's prey. Upon seeing it's prey, or any sizable creature, the facial folds proceed to flesh out. This activity much resembles the territorial display of a terran snake or a peacock's presentation of its feathers during mating season. Although such an event has never been witnessed, it is hypothesized that these flaps may also be used by the thanator to impress its mate. Although the thanator's violent nature makes it very hard to study, it continues to be one of Pandora's most impressing features.
(Na'vi name: Fpxafaw) are large jellyfish-like creatures that live in the skies of Pandora. Medusas are almost always hungry. To feed, they drag their tentacles through the forest. When a medusa has found prey, it curls it tentacles and consumes the animal. Once the food has been digested, the medusa produces hydrogen which keeps it afloat.
Medusas are filled with hydrogen. They lack the ability to steer well but can control some movements by squeezing their muscles. little more is known. they seem to be a bird-like creature.
One of the main sources of animal products for the Na'vi. As such, Sturmbeest are a primary organizing force in the clan culture. A number of different clans extol the virture of the animal in textiles, music, song, dance, and art.
Sturmbeest are herd animals. They are extremely social and highly protective of their young. They are also territorial and will mass for attack against any would be predator. When the predator is too large or in too great a number, the will stampede, often breaking off into smaller packs for evasion.
The male is about 15 percent larger than the female and has a bigger ridge bone on its back. The mate also has a dramatic top horn that is used for defense and contest and other bulls.
Their brain-mass-to-body ratio is low and the creatures are slow to react and slow to stop reacting. The young, old, and lame are prey only to the largest or fiercest predators, such as viperwolf packs, the thanator, and occasionally a large Great Leonopteryx
Massive buffalo like heard east with six legs and indigo and orange coloring. Its skull features a single large bony hornlike extrusion above the eyes. Extrusions are reddish or orange, with striated slashes of blue
Land animals that feed on grass, shrubs, and various fungi. Hornlike jaw extension acts as plow for digging up roots, grubs and other subsurface food.
(from the greek word έξι exi meaning six and the latin word pedis meaning foot) (Na'vi name: Yerik) land herbivore's habitat is ubiquitous in various biomes of Pandora, including rainforests, savanna, subarctic tundra, and mountainous regions.
Hexapedes are of the most beautiful and fragile creatures of Pandora. Although a prime target for any land or aerial predator, the rapid pace of their breeding is the only thing keeping them from extinction. The hexapede is a food source for the Na'vi. It is one of the prime targets for Na'vi hunters. Hexapedes resemble six-legged deer. They are dark blue herbivores, with white and yellow stripesSmall, sloped skull is topped by a retractable, light-colored fan structure. This fan has an eye pattern on it similar to those found in Terrian insects (such as the Luna Moth) that it will use as a defence mechanism, flashing it to predators in an attempt to seem bigger and intimidating. Its eyes are wide-spaced and large. Has a longish snout that ends in a small bifurcating jaw and bifurcated lip that can be retracted. Twin horn structures that sheathe a thin, patterned membrane. Skin membrane 'beard' hangs under jaw and runs length of neck.
Twin lines of dark hairlike bristles run down its back. Long, thin neck and legs ending in round, beveled hooves. Body is dark blue with white-yellow stripes. Size ranges up to 1.5 meters long, 2 meters in height.
Fan lizards are known for the large retractable disk on their back. This disk has a structure similar to that of the Da Vinci Helicopter. This appendage is bioluminescent and used for flight as well as to ward off any attackers with the brilliant light display and sudden increase in size. Note that when the Fan Lizard uses the appendage, the movement causes the body to spin with it.
The Forest BansheeEdit
(Na'vi Name: Ikranay) natural habitat is the Rainforest in both the upper and lower canopies as well as rookeries spread throughout cliffs and mesas of the mountainous regions of Pandora. The forest banshee has obsidian like teeth with a total of four wings (2 aft) and bones comprised of biologically produced carbon fiber composite much like its larger cousin, the Mountain Banshee. The Forest Banshee is an aerial carnivorous predator, usually feeding on smaller rainforest creatures such as the Stingbat and the Prolemuris
The Forest Banshee, although smaller than the Mountain Banshee, is still a feared predator but it lacks the size to support a Na'vi rider. Forest banshees usually hunt alone, but can migrate in large flocks spread out in a wide, loose pattern (reasoning for this behaviour is not readily understood). Like a terran reef shark, the Forest Banshee may size up potential large prey, but seldom attacks anything close to its size, preferring smaller forest animals. A banshee will make an exception however, in the case of self-defense or when it finds large prey in distress. Furthermore, like terran reef sharks, banshees will congregate to feed, and if necessary will fight one another for their portion of food. The creature shares the same basic anatomical advantages as the Mountain Banshee: strong carbon fiber bones; specialized flight muscles and a stiff torso to support its wings; they can make subtle adjustments to their flight attitude and speed with an articulated tail top which can flare or remain tucked for aerodynamics.
The Hellfire WaspEdit
shaped much like a typical Earth wasp, but is similar in size to a sparrow. Although usually observed flying alone, swarms nearly the size of a robodozer have been sighted.
It has an accurate organic targeting system that uses an olfactory organ to detect the biochemistry of any nearby creature. If it senses danger, its flight becomes agitated and erratic, and it will usually attack.
If stung by this dual-stinger insect, the RDA personnel are commonly placed on medical leave. Although rarely lethal to humans, it is believed that an attack from a swarm of Hellfire Wasps would ultimately result in fatality. Wingspan of 13 centimeters, hard exoskeleton, compound eyes, bioluminescence, dual stinger, Height of 25 centimetres.
Various wasp species have been found in Pandoran microclimates, including mountain valley stream beds and beaches. Hellfire Wasp builds small nests in fallen, rotting trees within rainforests and swamplands.
is a chattering, non-aggressive tree dweller that prefers the relative safety of the canopy to the dangers of the rainforest floor. Prolemuris are similar to apes on Earth.
The prolemuris has lateral membranes that grow out of its sides and between its lower arm and thigh. When it leaps from tree to tree, the wind catches in the flaps and slows the animal's rate of fall. This allows the animal to fall for more than twelve meters without risk or injury. They have hollow bones, and the density of their musculature and flesh is also porous, which makes them much lighter than they appear (even the largest weigh less than six kilograms).
Its ears are erect flaps that can move independently of one another in order to track sounds precisely. Its toes are webbed and have a vestigial thumb that helps the animal cling to branches. Its arms bifurcate below the humerus. It can reach up to 1 meter in height. It has large eyes giving it binocular vision, an apelike skull with a short snout, Small nostrils and jaw, needle sharp teeth adapted to cut through tough Pandoran flora.
The prolemuris can use its four arms to move through the trees faster than an average man can run. It has near-perfect balance and its superb depth perception allows it to leap from branch to branch while selecting just the right handhold out of the forest mosaic (in this it resembles the Na'vi, who can also move through the rain forest canopy with tremendous agility).
a class of flamingo-like bird that looks almost Earth like until one notices it has four wings, with two on either side. The birds also feature a unique twin tail used for balancing their body weight as they hunt or land.
There are two types of Tetrapteron, aquatic and arboreal. Although similar in appearance, the aquatic birds have longer necks and legs for life in wetlands. The Tetrapteron have excellent long distance vision, and can detect movements as little as 1.25 centimeters from a height of 45 meters. They usually hunt in flocks. Of all the creatures on Pandora, these seem the most cooperative, both on the hunt and when socializing. While many predators on Pandora nurture their young, none take more care of their offspring with as much attention and duration as the Tetrapteron. Two pairs of wings, twin tail, Large beak and gullet with glassy teeth.
Wingspan nearly 1.5 meters
(Na'vi name: Lenay'ga), or strange terrible sloth, (scientific name: Acediacutus xenoterribili) is one of the oddest and most dangerous creatures yet discovered on Pandora. Growing in size up to 2.4 meters in height, this land predator/carnivore prefers a dense rainforest habitat and it's main food source is the Hexapede. When hunting, this creature moves slowly and silently through the forest ferns. when it senses prey, its muscular neck cocks back into striking position, then snaps forward. Its long, pointed, and winged head detaches and flies toward prey as a self-guiding venomous projectile. After the head embeds itself into its target, the dart then emits a series of high pitched squeals. these squeals act as signals to allow the body (now sightless)to find the detached head. While still separated,the partners consume the prey until sated. The neck bends down and a mesh of hairlike tendrils rejoin the head with the body. Biologists were stunned to discover that their body and its dart like head are not a single creature with a singular method of hunting. Instead, the dart is actually the 'child' of the body and will stay in the symbiotic relationship with it's 'mother' until it is too large to perform its function as the dart. It then mates, detaches from the mother body and metamorphoses into a smaller, complete slinger with its own slinger dart head. At this time of youth, the slinger is a single color as different colorations are most likely created with subsequent growth. Left behind with out a dart offspring, the mother-body is unable to feed itself and inevitably dies. In this cycle of renewal, each generation becomes the grain for the previous generation.
Na'vi hunters have been known to retrieve a dart that has been orphaned from its mother-body to use later as an effective weapon. Additionally, sap from a specific plant is also rubbed on skin that replicates the smell of a slinger to ward off would be Viperwolf attackers.
(scientific name: Scorpiobattus volansii), or 'Flying Scorpion bat' are small aerial predators with a highly developed navigation system and four eyes.
The Stingbat's has translucent fangs and claws with predominant bioluminescence on the wing membrane and torso. One of the Stingbat's features is a Scorpion-like tail stinger and a small brain cavity. The Stingbat is an omnivore, feeding on both flora and fauna; prefering rodent sized creatures, lizards, and fruit. The Stingbat usually feeds alone but will swarm with other Stingbat's against larger prey such as small Hexapede.
Despite the highly developed visual navigational system their small brain cavity and cerebral cortex inhibits their innate survival mechanisms. Despite a constant slaughter, the creatures continue to fly into the range of automated sentry guns that defend the Hell's Gate compound. Their diminished cerebral capacity makes them common prey for larger predators such as the Forest Banshee. But their prodigious mating habit ensures a steady population.
The Great LeonopteryxEdit
(Na'vi name: Toruk meaning "Last Shadow") is a species of airborne apex predatory animals native to Pandora. Scientifically, it is known as leonopteryx rex - "flying king lion" (from the greek word λέων leon meaning lion and πτέρυξ pteryx meaning wing and the latin word rex meaning king).
The fierce beauty and nobility of the leonopteryx gave the species a central place in Na'vi lore and culture. It is celebrated in dance, song, and with elaborate totems that symbolize both the fear and respect accorded to the creature. Indeed, the leonopteryx is crucial to the Na'vi's sense of destiny and interconnectedness. This creature's name in Na'vi translates roughly to "Last Shadow" as its preferred method of attack is from above. Therefore, the last thing you see is its shadow. The Leonopteryx is carnivorous, feeding on mainly Mountain and Forest Banshees and occasionally on Medusa. Occasionally, under the rainforest canopy, the Leonopteryx will feed on ground animals such as Hexapede. It has no known threat from other creatures except other Leonopteryx. Leonopteryx Striped scarlet, yellow, and black, with two midnight blue crests on the head and lower jaw. The crest on its head is razor sharp and can be used to injure or disembowel prey, or cut vegetation obstructing flight. It has a distensible jaw, a large brain cavity, and membranous wings stretched taut over carbon fiber bone structure. It also has powerful talons for grasping prey and perching, twin tail for flight control, and flow-through ventilation for high performance. The Leonopteryx is closely related to the banshee, although significantly larger grasping claws, long teeth for snatching prey on the fly, flexible wings for maneuverability, excellent eyesight with forward binocular vision and powerful jaws which can open at a wide angle, capable of cleaving a Mountain Banshee in two midflight. Despite their superior vision, they are unable to see directly above them, possibly due to the head crest which covers the top of their eyes, or the fact they have no need to. The Leonopteryx embodies a impressive rate of climb and when plummeting out of the sky, resembles a massive Terran Hawk. The wingspan is more than 25 meters with the wings being composed of individual finned members that can separate to act as slotted airfoil, or overlap and seal to form a solid surface. When separated they can rotate individually to induce or retard vortex formation. These finned members are not unlike the primary feathers of many Terran birds. Again, the fiber composite bones help the animal to achieve flight through the dense Pandoran atmosphere as with other flying animals of Pandora. ==edit Habitat, Mating and Encounters== The Leonopteryx rookeries are difficult to locate, exacerbated by the associated risk with trying to locate the resting place of such a massive, dangerous animal. However, some have been sighted in the Hallelujah Mountains. The species mate for life and breed every two years. Primarily the Great Leonopteryx travels alone, and occasionally in pairs, but they have never been observed in a swarm or other high concentration.
Although Leonopteryx are wary to encounter their own kind, it is documented that a team of Avatars observed a battle between two Leonopteryx in the space of 3 hours. The battle ended when both fell to the forest floor from their mortal wounds and were believed to be dispatched by a large pack of Viperwolves.  - Activist survival Guide. In the Na'vi culture, those who manage tsahaylu with the Great Leonopteryx are given the title Toruk Makto. This means "rider of the last shadow". During the timeframe of the film, no Na'vi has been successful for four generations and only five have ever managed to do it. Jake Sully becomes the sixth person to master the skill which re-earns him the respect of the Omaticaya Clan who previously held him a traitor. Speaking of his attempt to bond with the Great Leonopteryx, Jake said "The way I had it figured, Toruk is the baddest cat in the sky. Nothing attacks him, so why would he ever look up?" After the final battle against the RDA, Jake releases the Toruk back into the wild, reasoning "Toruk Makto was no longer needed" as the time of "great sorrow" (the RDA's invasion of the planet) had passed.
It has also been said that a previous Toruk Makto had gathered all the clans for a 'Time of great sorrow'. This grows mystery behind the reason as to why the clans were gathered together, hindering a possibility that the Na'vi had been previously visited by extraterrestrials, in search of something for use from Pandora, at the time.