Apocritans

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Apocritans

Post by Feral Dog on Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:00 am

Planet Name: Apocrita
Inhabitants: Apocritans

Appearance: Six-legged insectoids. Hands on the front two pairs of limbs, with two claws on the other pair. They also have two pairs of wings, and segmented bodies. Apocritans have large compound eyes, with three small simple eyes (which only see light/shadow) on top, and long antennae. Their breathing system is like an insect's- it consists of spiracles in the exoskeleton leading to air sacs. The spiracles don't close, so they can't hold their breath.

A lot of the individual anatomy varies by caste, which depends on nutrition during larval stage. The castes are Queen (divided into the Queen, who rules everyone, and the lesser queens who run tributary colonies), Soldier (divided by "brood age" and status of their mother) and Worker (not divided). These are all female- the male drones aren't considered part of the caste system.

-Queens: Look like 9 foot wasps with thick, bulky abdomens for their eggs. Physically stronger than any other caste, they also produce stronger pheromones- strong enough to force someone from a lower caste into compliance, if needed, but that's pretty rare. They rarely fight, except after emerging from their brood cells (where they attack rival emerging queens). A queen will outlive several generations of Workers and Soldiers. They eat honey, fruits, royal jelly, and meat. Because queens are perpetually pregnant, they have a massive caloric intake. The Queen is considered the Mother of the Hive, with the lesser queens sharing their "older daughter" status with Soldiers from her personal colony. In addition to the biological controls all queens have, the Queen is the closest thing to a deity the Apocritans have. An obvious "plus" for her.

-Soldiers: Look like 7 to 8 foot wasps or winged ants. Their abdomens are shorter and narrower than a queen's, since they aren't normally fertile, but the trade-off is a very sensitive and prehensile stinger the length of their bodies. While not as strong as a queen, they are capable of chewing, clawing or stinging through metal, stone, wood, etc. given time. Like the queens, they are omnivores, but they don't have to eat as much. They do have a very strong hunting instinct, which drives them to search for food even when they aren't hungry. Soldiers love fermented fruit (and fermented fruit juices), but unlike many other species can't get drunk- their bodies convert alcohol into food too quickly. Their jobs include, but are not limited to: protection of their home colonies (and the Hive as a whole), bringing their queen meat, raising and educating the larvae and pupae, and training younger adults in various skills. A little under half of all Soldiers survive their first five years after emerging from their cocoons, and so aren't named until that point. Soldiers from the Queen's colony are considered almost equal to a lesser queen and superior to the Soldiers from the other colonies.

-Workers: Look like 4 foot tall honeybees or bumblebees. They are covered in thick fluff, unlike Soldiers and Queens, and have large abdomens for storing the nectar they collect, and short stingers. Like real bees, they process the nectar and pollen they gather into honey. They can't digest meat. Since they aren't predators, they have much smaller mandibles. They can chew through wood but not most rock or metal. While not as strong as the other castes, Workers are pretty tough for their size. Since they don't have to compete with one another or actively pursue predators, they have a much better life expectancy. Their jobs are to gather food (except for meat) and other materials, construct and maintain the home, clean it, regulate the temperature and humidity, feed and clean queens and larvae, and pretty much anything else they're told to do. While Soldiers and Queens would be considered adults anywhere, Workers are perpetual children ('children' who are indiscriminately friendly, naturally subservient, and full of enthusiastic energy- creepy to an outsider). Despite their friendliness, if they are threatened they'll fight back, and their venom is more concentrated than a Soldier's. They have the same status no matter what colony they're from.

-Drones: Look like Soldiers, but with a broader thorax, weak and shortened mandibles, and no stingers. Their diet, oddly, is the same as a Worker's. Not much is known about them since breeding kills them, and that's what they'll do the second they're able. Because drones can't do most necessary tasks and they eat a lot more than a Soldier, they are considered a huge drain on resources. Drone eggs are only allowed to develop when replacement queens are being grown.




Society:
Apocritans live in colonies. These colonies can be inside trees, caves, or most commonly in a dugout underground nest. Regardless of location, these colonies can easily number in the millions and are lined with paper or wax hexagonal cells. Workers make wax cells and Soldiers make paper ones. Worker eggs are grown in the wax and Soldiers in paper- the dietary differences start at this stage. A larva fed both honey and meat after the age of two will develop into a Soldier, one fed only honey after this stage becomes a Worker, and a queen's egg is fed a combination of honey, meat, and royal jelly. It takes fifteen years from egg to pupa, and then the pupal phase varies by caste. Once the adult emerges from the cocoon, it can be another decade to develop the necessary skills and muscles to work effectively. Workers and Soldiers, from the point of emergence, have a maximum lifespan of 120 years but most Soldiers don't make it to 50 and most Workers don't live beyond 70.

Their mortality rate is pretty high, due to predators (spiders, centipedes, and other arthropods), frequent food shortages, and intense competition between Soldiers of the same "brood age" (anyone born withing the same decade). Disease is another killer, but much less common than would be expected due to the symbiotic fungus in their bodies eating most pathogens.

During the day, everyone in the colony (except the queen) does whatever available task they can (the queen is busy eating, laying eggs, and any sort of government work that crops up that she doesn't delegate to Soldiers). At night, everyone clusters together to sleep. Apocritans 'hibernate' in winter, eating stored food when they wake up and staying semi-conscious otherwise.

Advanced technology is almost entirely limited to satellites and other forms of communication. They do not have roads, and prefer to dig out minerals than construct mining equipment. There are smelting plants and other factories, but these tend to be for specialized equipment only. Apocritans do not use fossil fuels (they can't dig down far enough to get it in most places, and find the odor unspeakably awful), instead using their overly-abundant water supply for power. Electrical wiring and indoor plumbing don't really work in a wax-and-paper home, so electrical power isn't something most outside of the production centers are familiar with. They are aware of the principles behind higher technology, but their constant need to collect food (agriculture hasn't really occurred to them, though some of the tributaries have domesticated a few animal species) makes it difficult for engineering and other specialties to thrive- there's plenty of theoretical knowledge, but almost no practical experience compared to other planets at a similar technological level.

Apocritans place a lot of value on hygiene- calling someone "filthy" is the second-worst possible insult, and refusing to groom others (or be groomed by them) is unspeakably offensive in all but the most extreme circumstances. Personal space is a nonexistent idea- they literally crawl over each other inside their nests, and their language consists of posture, touch, and pheromones. The posture and touch can be understood from a distance, but without smell the exact meaning has to be guessed from context. They can mimic speech through their spiracles, but most aren't good at it due to lack of practice.




So that's Apocrita. The names of Queens and Soldiers come from names of wasp, ant, or bee species (not necessarily those they resemble), while Worker names come from plants. Smile


Last edited by Feral Dog on Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:41 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : spoilers)
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Re: Apocritans

Post by Ranger-Nova on Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:29 am

Wow, that's a lot of detail! It sounds like you've put a lot of work into developing this species.

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Re: Apocritans

Post by Senior Doctor Thalassi on Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:16 am

Ooh, I like these guys~ In a way, it reminds me of an original species of mine, the Lanarekki.

Now I find myself wondering what they would taste like with Bubones fire tree syrup.... jk, jk. Bubonese are strictly fruit-eaters; it's the Obsydorans they'd have to be worried about. ;P
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Re: Apocritans

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