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Speed Kite
Topic Started: Oct 23 2010, 07:19 AM (478 Views)
StinglessBee
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Name: Speed kites
Time: mid-late Carboniferous
Size: 4.6m in length, fin span 2m
Diet: carnivorous, usually eating rocketeers and smaller cephalostia
Habitat: mainly shallow water, though it often wanders into the open ocean or into neospoggia reefs in pursuit of prey

Whilst the large giant sea kites died out, their smaller relatives lived past the Devonian extinction. Being less specialised for eating cnidarians than their extinct relatives, the remaining sea kites diversified somewhat. The speed kites are probably the most derived example of this diversification, with the originally short tail of their sea kite ancestors growing longer and more muscular for high speed swimming. Meanwhile, the beak became longer and thinner, designed for catching far smaller creatures (to put it into perspective, these creatures mostly rely on eating creatures between 20 and 90cm, sometimes going for larger prey).

The speed kites hunt almost entirely using speed. Their advanced eyes allow them to spot prey long before the prey notices the speed kite. Upon this, the speed kite attacks the prey: with most prey being taken in the following chase. Whilst speed kites normally hunt alone or in pairs, they do gather in shoals to mate.

Though speed kites were for a brief time a success story, being fairly common in the middle Carboniferous, they were prey to the new, deadly ocean dragons, and were out competed by them by the time the Permian dawned. Those sea kites which survived, meanwhile, were those which had remained closer to their cnidarian eating roots.
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