When hunting, this creature moves slowly and silently through the forest ferns. When it senses prey, its muscular neck cocks back into a striking position, then snaps forward. Its long, pointed head detaches and flies toward the prey as a self-guiding venomous projectile. After the head embeds itself into its target (often a hexapede), the dart emits a series of high-pitched squeals. The signals allow the body (now sightless) to home in and locate and move toward the detached part. Still separated, the strange partners enjoy their prey. Sated, the neck bends down and a mesh of hairlike tendrils rejoins head with body. As if this were not compelling enough, biologists were stunned to discover that the 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 its “mother” until it is too big too fly. It then mates, detaches from the mother/body and metamorphose into a smaller, complete slinger with its own offspring dart/head. Left behind without its dart offspring, the mother/body is unable to feed itself and dies. In this odd cycle of renewal, each generation becomes the brain for the previous generation.
This would all be academically intriguing were it not for the fact that slingers have proven deadly to human colonists. Several have died-- badly-- after being struck by a slinger dart.
Relationship with Na'viEdit
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. The Na'vi have also been known to rub sap from a leaf that replicates the smell of a slinger to ward off attacks by viperwolves.