The Skreb(Librovescor Atrides) Overview The Skreb are a relatively intelligent, sentient species of beetle-like hominids. Living in massive hive-castes they are a prolific species, though few progress to the adult stage seen above (see notes on Biology below). Skreb are classified as herbivores in terms of diet, though the term librovore is perhaps more accurate as the Skreb seem to derive nutrition from the consumption of knowledge. Indeed, much of their vast hives consist of areas that are as much library as farm, growing bio-engineered, organic books encoded with knowledge for future generations of adult Skreb to consume. History The Skreb recollect their rise to sentience much more thoroughly than other races (as should be expected of a race that literally consumes knowledge). Just a mere hundred revolutions of their homeworld ago, the Skreb were little more than hungry, bipedal insect-like creatures. It was entirely by accident, then, that the First of their kind consumed detritus with scratch marks and damage that resembled the skreb themselves. The chances of this occurring in the known universe are roughly the same as seeing a religious figure appear on a slice of toast, consuming said holy toast, and becoming divine as a result. Nevertheless, this is exactly what happened to the Skreb. Minus the toast, of course. The burst of enlightenment that followed as the First of the Skreb digested a crude happenstance pictograph of itself changed the Skreb forever. The First of the Skreb was introduced to such profound knowledge that it began to ask very important questions of itself. Questions like, "What makes me different from that Skreb over there?" and "Am I, as a being, more than just the sum of my base motive instincts?" and "Was that bit of fungus growing in poo?". Realizing the import of It's discovery, the First made several more crude pictographs of it's kind, which it fed to those hive-mates near it, bringing them to an enlightened (if very early, and rather crude) state of self-awareness. The rest, as they say, is history. Biology Skreb are an egg-laying species, much like terrestrial insects. The average female Skreb will lay forty-thousand eggs in her lifetime, though many of these will be used for purposes other than the hatching of young. Roughly one in ten eggs will reach maturity. Once these eggs hatch, the Skreb larvae begin a few idle months of chewing on tamed fungus and flora grown near the egg chambers. For many of these grubs, this is the farthest stage they will achieve towards adulthood, being a resource for the Skreb's vast talent at bio-engineering. All told, less than half of a percent of the remaining grubs are allowed to molt, reaching an adult form. Adult Skreb have complex and complicated neural systems distributed throughout their bodies. Much like terrestrial octopodes, they possess a central nervous system with additional nodes, or mini-brains, at important locations throughout their anatomy. Several of these clusters of neural tissue are scattered throughout the digestive tract, theoretically allowing the Skreb to analyze and discard hazardous foodstuff before it had permeated too far into the body. This also appears to have been a fundamentally important evolution for the eventual rise to awareness for primitive Skreb. Culture Skreb typically belong to one hive for the duration of their lives. Should that hive be destroyed (an uncommon occurance) the hive-mates wither and die within a fairly short period of time. It is apparent that the Skreb are quite capable of building new shelter and facilities, so this lack of impetus and suicide is notable and curious. As a whole, Skreb are a communal species. They work towards the common good of their hive with an almost single-minded devotion. Indeed, the experience can almost be likened as religious based on the conversations and translations of scholars amongst the Skreb who see this obligation as of the utmost importance. Outsiders, even Skreb of other hives, are treated with a modicum of wariness though the Skreb seem to quickly accustom themselves to creatures that do not show aggressive tendencies. Researchers have been integrated into hives, with their apparent status based on the amount of effort that they put towards the greater good of the hive itself (several report that they have been treated as little more than grubs, no doubt owing to their own scholarly aloofness). Interestingly, there are cases of individual Skreb who are not only able, but apparently eager to leave their hives. Lacking the self-destructive impulses of their hive-mates, these odd few are quite capable of faring regardless of the state of their original hive. It is not clear what differences exist that allow this phenomena. I know that's an awful lot to read without many pretty pictures, but I'm working on a few more things to add to this over the next few days. Be patient, my compadres.