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Speed: Approx. 2 km/hr.
Habitat: Shaded marshlands.
Anatomical Features: Typical
insectoid features with atypical bi-directional “flight competence”
Feeding Habits: Small insects and certain types of water-borne plants.
The Kaltuk is a curious insect that starts its life an airborne entity and enters the waterways in its adult life. The creature is a wonderful mix of entomological oddities from its flexible (rather than solid) exoskeleton, five (rather than three) segments in each leg and the unusual ability to fly as competently backwards as it can forward. A pair of antennae were believed to be the animal’s “head,” but its proficiency at flying in the opposite direction may mean the antennae are really sensory organs mounted to its abdomen (to the rear of the creature). In short, we’re not sure which side of this insect is really the “front.”
The Kaltuk Gnat is only called a gnat because it serves as a hefty, buzzing annoyance to the minions of Tel’Forae. It also helps to differentiate it from the adult form of the animal (simply, “Kaltuk”), which are rarely observed as they shuttle across murky marsh beds. The adult Kaltuk is able to process methane compounds for its respiration. The larval and adolescent forms of the Kaltuk, however, require oxygen. As with many natural wonders on Anomaly, I fear I will not be able to properly study such fascinating creatures as I should.
The Kaltuk Gnat, a forbidding-looking bug the size of a large bird, is harmless to all but the tiniest bugs in Tel’Forae. There is no discernible mouth – the only carcass we’ve dissected revealed nothing remotely close to one. It is entirely possible it ingests its food is through its limbs, or perhaps an organ hidden just beneath a pleat in its exoskeleton. The “antenna” appears to sense its surroundings with great acuity regardless of light. A camouflaged Monc would be hard-pressed to sneak up on a Kaltuk Gnat, suggesting there are heat-sensing organs across the otherwise featureless outer shell of this insect. They aren’t fast, but they are unnervingly maneuverable. Try swatting one. Fifty credits say you’ll miss!
This is also why we remain unable to capture one for further study. The Moncs liken the quirky flight ability of the Kaltuk Gnat to that of a ghost (or “spirit”) for its directional ambiguity as well as easy navigation of the thickest foliage. Moncs use the game “Catch the Kaltuk” to teach younglings to quickly circumnavigate the challenging environment of Tel’Forae.