The Stonebeak Phlyer split from its ancestor. Rather than diving into water to catch aquatic prey, it hunts floating fauna and semi-aquatic fauna which live on free-floating nests and flora. It is named for an unusual feature which sets it apart from other plents—the exposed wood on its body is not actually made of wood, but of a unique calcified cellulose material called Petrolignin. As this new material can withstand much greater forces than ordinary wood, this gives it a significantly stronger bite than its ancestor—in fact, it has the strongest bite of any plent before it.
The Stonebeak Phlyer’s forewings are somewhat shrunken, granting it a wing setup where it has stabilizers in both the front and the back like some Terran airplanes. The “leaf” surface of each wing extends significantly beyond the “stem” portion, reducing weight by not having as much of its skeletal structure extended into the wing. The wings remain stiff enough for flight thanks to cellulose fibers within the structure of the membrane. Despite its color change, with a purple back and pale underside for camouflage, the Stonebeak Phlyer still performs photosynthesis just fine with green pigments—the underside didn’t need to be so densely pigmented anyway since it wasn’t as exposed to light, and the purple pigment it uses does not interfere with photosynthesis.
The Stonebeak Phlyer’s butt nostril has a septum, and therefore is two nostrils. This makes it significantly easier to breathe while flying, as well as allowing it to continue breathing if one nostril is blocked.
The Stonebeak Phlyer hunts by swooping down and trying to hook prey with its claws. If it succeeds, it will either proceed to eat it alive or, if it’s something especially large such as a Seashrog, it will first bite it to death. Its petrolignin beak allows it to bite down hard enough to crush the mineralized bones of carpozoans with ease, a feat which would cause any other plent’s jaws to shatter into splinters.
The Stonebeak Phlyer especially has a taste for the Seashrog, as it is large and fairly slow and therefore provides a lot of meat with a relatively high success rate. If it catches an unsuspecting Seashrog, its armored belly protects it from its osteoderms, though a strike from the tail could still cause severe injury if it does not kill the shrog quickly. If the Seashrog spots the Stonebeak Phlyer first, however, it will try to veer away—unlike other potential prey, the Seashrog can defend itself with long spears, and being impaled by one would mean certain death whether by bleeding out or permanent damage to its wings. The phlyer will then circle the shrog, harassing it until it falters—at which point it swoops in for the kill. It has a higher success rate against lone Seashrogs, as mated pairs will often fight together. Failures usually occur as a result of the Seashrog either taking too long to falter, or escaping into its nest or the water. If the hunt is successful, the Stonebeak Phlyer will eat its fill and rest on top of the Seashrog’s now vacant nest, wings outstretched to soak in the sunlight. It will not need to eat again for a while, and the nest makes a good safe spot to rest.
Much like its ancestor, the Stonebeak Phlyer is a good swimmer and can rest and even give birth in the ocean. Its body is covered in a waxy coating which repels water, helping it take off from the sea. Like most plents, it mates mouth-to-mouth, and it usually gives birth either hidden in flora or on the deck of a Seashrog nest which it has made vacant by eating its inhabitants. Its young are superprecocial and can fly within a few hours of birth.