Name: The Silkmother, Broodspider, SpouseStealer, Megarachne Sollicitus, and various other nicknames. Description: A queen silkmother. Silkmothers are massive arthropod creatures with distinct resemblances to arachnids such as vinegaroons and whip spiders. Invertebrates, Silkmothers have a chitinous exoskeleton that acts as thick armor, however do not suffer the same size constraints as most arthropods due to their complex respiratory system, where oxygen is pumped in through their spiracles via muscular contractions as opposed to passive absorption. A silkmother has two sets of limbs not used for walking, the first pair being large claws used as masticating organs, the second pair being manipulating raptorial graspers designed to crush and impale prey and rivals alike. Workers and soldier Silkmothers have a completely solid cephalothorax, however royal silkmothers have no exoskeleton at their very front, instead just thick skin which peels apart to expose their various organs. Only unfused royal silkmothers exhibit this, as most royala will have a host in various stages of fusion. Silkmothers have several photosensitive patches along their body, with only royals having true eyes on the tops and sides of their heads. All over variants use sense of touch via their antenna-like third set of limbs, or by scent, which they are very good at detcting. Queen and Princess silkmothers have an extended abdomen whos spinnarettes are replaced by an additional set of grasping limbs used to manipulate eggs layed by their stinger-like ovipositor. Worker Silkmothers have no tail-like organ, instead only spinarrettes, and soldier silkmothers have a true stinger. Silkmother's often have a hive-based color scheme, subordinates of the queen sharing her color and pattern. Though the entire species has little any other beyond greys browns and yellows. Behavior: Silkmothers often live in massive eusocial colonies within cliffaces, mountains, and cave systems, where they bore deep into the sediment, lining the walls with sturdy silk to act as reinforcement. This silk covering often extends far outside of the entry ways, with guard lines stretching the farthest so that intruders can be detected from several meters away from the entrance. At the center of every hive is a queen silkmother, the only breeding female in the entire hive, who shares the egg chamber with princes and princesses and the special eggs they hatch from. Queens spend much of their mature lives laying countless eggs to keep the hive stable. The most noteworthy adaptation of the silkmother is its parasitism on other species: Silkmothers' ancestors were solitary and incapable of reaching such cooperative populations. A breakthrough in their evolution transpired when solitary silkmothers began preying on animals and absorbing their hormones to begin the first small hives. Eventually this adaptation reached its apex, and now the silkmother is a terrifying monstrosity to behold. Silkmother workers will patrol outside the den at nightfall, following the scent of animal pheromones to find suitable hosts, which are paralyzed, cocooned, and dragged to the royal chamber. Once inside the royal chamber, Prince and Princess Silkmothers without a host will begin devouring into the paralyzed specimen, but not killing it. Their heads split open and begin secreting adhesive as tentacles full of neurological tissue began digging into the host. Once firmly attatched, specialized cooperative bacteria within the silkmother adhesive forces a long and grueling gene therapy upon both the silkmother and the host. The first change is to shut down the host immune system so that the silkmother can immediately begin attaching its vital functions to the host body such as respiration. During the early stages of this process the host is still entirely aware, though as time goes on, the neural tentacles begin attaching to the spinal cord and brain of the host, connecting host and silkmother neurological systems. Once the host and parasite are perfectly genetically combined, the royal silkmother is evicted from the hive to start their own, after mating with one of its siblings. Prince silkmothers will only accept males, and princess silkmothers will accept females. Males will thus go rogue in search of more females, and females will establish their own hive. This advanced parasitism is so that breeding Silkmothers have a constant replenishing supply of hormones and pheromones with which stimulates its productivity in bearing offspring, but most importantly communicating with the other members of their hive, which are born receptive to the specific pheromones of their queen. By keeping the host alive, their endocrine system can continue to be stimulated until the queen dies. A side product of this extreme parasitism is that royal silkmothers often are intelligent to some degree, often like that of a dog, and rarely that of a chimp, but never achieve true sapience. The parasite's brain is hardwired to override the host's brain, however they will still communicate with one another as if part of a single nervous system. Additionally, once genetic fusion is complete, the silkmother will often make use of the abilities of the host, such as their vision, tactile sensations, even using their voice for verbal communication. Tamability: Cannot be tamed. Intelligence in breeding individuals may be able to comprehend certain actions and behaviors the brood cannot. Where is it found?: Silkmother's native environment has been tracked to a floran owned planet, where they were dispersed across hylotl space during their ongoing wars as biological weaponry. Hence, Silkmothers are invasive across many systems. Rarity: highly territorial, and thus have sparse populations, however are invasive in many systems, however if you have the misfortune of settling near a hive, their swarms will be a nightly menace. Diet/Method of gaining nutrients and energy: Silkmothers are largely carnivores, and their hives will spend night after night foraging for ample amounts of flesh to sate their restless nymphs in a rampaging nearly blind horde. Similar to ants, silkmothers are capable of trophallaxis and thus ensuring no member of the hive will starve to death. Products?: - Silkmother hives provide an endless supply of food as they are entirely edible- though ethically questionable depending on the queen's host species. - The large soldier's and Queen's carapace is very thick and durable, making it easily used to make weapons, armor, and other such items. - A vacant silkmother hive can have its roughly pencil thin strands of silk harvested. Reproduction: Sexual reproduction. Rogue Male Royals will seek out hives with receptive queens or princesses to deliver a packet of gametes, which the female will hold in its body for up to seven years as it makes hundreds of thousands of eggs using several male's genes. Because queens are genetically fused to a host species, offspring may also have mutations relating to the host species, though few are helpful. Size: Queens can grow to massive sizes, the largest documented reaching 16 meters from head to tail. Soldiers rarely exceed 8 meters, and workers 4 meters. Weight: Queens can weigh up to several tonnes, largest estimates around 5. Lifespan: A silkmother queen, and thus her hive, can live for 30 years if undisturbed and conditions remain optimal (plenty of oxygen, dry enough not to mold over the incubating eggs, cool enough so that they dont overheat from gigantothermy, et cetera). Soldiers and workers will often die for their hive prematurely, but may die naturally after 5 years. Abilities: -The silk produced by members of the hive is no different than that of an ordinary spider, however because of the size discrepency a single strand of their silk comes out to 6 millimeters thick. The result is their silk is highly valuable for industrial purposes, however venturing into a silkmother hive to collect this substance. is often times suicidal. -Silkmothers have a very complicated communication system based on pheromones. -Silkmothers with a perfectly fused host may experience significant degrees of intelligence. -The bacteria that allows for the gene meshing process will keep genes consistent throughout their lives, this is a double edged sword however as they will not get any type of cancer, but if they were born with a genetic defect they will keep that defect their whole lives. Flaws: - Silkmothers are not very swift nor agile due to their size and weight, they are however very stable and sturdy to compensate. - If the host has any genetic disorder or retrovirus, it will be transferred to the individual and their offspring, perpetuated through the hive. Other: - Some silkmothers thought to be capable of proper speech, though this is undocumented. - Often times silkmothers will remember relatives and friends of their host, as a result these individuals are often accepted by the hive, or if nothing else do not get eaten during forages.