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Cragspringer

The cragspringer's back is armored with interlocking scutes. Despite this protection, however, many are lost to the rockslides and avalanches unleashed by the frequent tremors in Darwin IV's young and still-unstable Equatorial Mountains.

The Cragspringer is a swift, agile, herbivorous tripedalien from the Equatorial Mountains of Darwin IV. It was discovered near Mons Burton, during the First Darwinian Expedition. It is distantly related to the winged springwings. It fills a separate but similar niche to the springwings in their mountain biome.

The cragspringer lacks the wings of its distant relatives, the springwings. It is incredibly nimble, with leaping abilities that can be breathtaking. There has been recorded many 20-meter-plus chasm jumps and very few injuries. It seems to be engaged in a continual search for food, choosing as its main diet the screeweed that covers the vertical rock faces, tracking their odiferous spores.

A troupe of cragspringers will find such a cloud of spores to feed. The cloud probably triggers an instinctive feeding reflex, for a herd will start to bob their large heads up and down. They continue this motion as they draw nearer a stony wall of screeweed, producing loud sounds as they scrape their horny facial shells against the stones. The creatures are actually shaving off the screeweed in long strips with their feeding grooves. From these feeding habits, they leave multiple abrasion marks on the cliffs.

At dusk, animals like cragspringers are outlined by their own biolights, twinkling like mobile versions of the emerging stars above.

The darkness of night generally brings about a slowing of activity among the mountain herbivores, with most springwings and cragspringers bedded down by nightfall. Whether this is due to their diurnal clocks winding down or to the increase of crepuscular predators, both flying and rockbound, it remains uncertain.

Trivia

In the documentary adaptation, Alien Planet, the scutes of the Cragspringer were given to the Littoralopes.