- This article is about the species. For the demonym of the United Kyekna Monarchies, see United Kyekna Monarchies.
The Kyekna are a species that originated on the planet Kenaklesh, in the Chechkal Cluster of the Crucible Galaxy, all extant civilizations run by the species were united into the United Kyekna Monarchies in 0 UE. The Kyekna are isopterid, insectoid arthropods with a eusocial caste system, resulting in significant variation in size and shape between castes.
Like other arthropods, the Kyekna are carbon-based, exoskeleton-bearing invertebrates that breathe oxygen and use a hemolymph-based open circulatory system to transport oxygen and nutrients from their lungs and digestive system, respectively. Kyekna are herbivores, typically consuming a largely xylophagous (wood-eating) diet, but also able to live off of cellulose-rich grasses and other plants.
Kyekna are an epicene species lacking in sexual dimorphism, with the exception of the reproductive caste. Kyekna are generally lacking in individual distinguishing features, instead distinguishing members of their own species by pheromones.
Like other insects, the Kyekna body plan is divided into the head, thorax, and abdomen; The division between the three body segments of the Kyekna is ill-defined, as with other isopterans. The Kyekna have six limbs, all of which can function identically to one another, but the Kyekna are generally not agile in grasping things with their bottom pair of limbs.
Kyekna can either stand in a bipedal position, standing only on their lowermost leg, or crawl on all six limbs. Bipedal walking sacrifices mobility to free up an individual's top and middle arms to hold weaponry, interact with technology, build, or engage in combat. Moving on all six limbs enables Kyekna to climb and crawl on various surfaces, even 90 degree or greater inclines, provided adequate terrain to grip on to.
As a consequence of being able to function in both bipedal and hexpedal mobility, the heads of the Kyekna cannot rotate to look around, instead simply sloping down to face forward when the Kyekna individual is standing on two legs. Kyekna have three sets of compound eyes, though they are difficult to spot as they are small and colored to blend in and avoid being targeted by predators. Sound and smell are detected by a pair of segmented antennae mounted atop a Kyekna's head.
All the Kyekna warrior castes have a fontanellar gun, called either a nasus (for the generalist and nasute castes) or a fontanelle (for soldiers, bashers, and royal guards), from which they can project toxic, acidic chemicals. Kyekna workers lack this fontanellar gun, but retain the sac that produces its chemicals, to be used as a retribution attack if a worker is stabbed through by a predator.
The Kyekna have somewhat soft, off-white exoskeletons, but with hardened, durable amber(or black)-colored sclerites of exoskeleton armored to protect against damage. The location of hardened exoskeletal armor depends on the caste, with the warrior castes having their entire heads covered in a shield-like bulwark of armor. Workers and warriors alike have sclerites of toughened exoskeleton comprising their arms and clawed hands, to contend either with predators, terrain, or workloads.
The worker caste is designed to be versatile and utilitarian. The worker Kyekna have large, bulbous cream-colored bodies and small, rounded heads. Workers have durable mandibles capable of sawing through lumber and rock, but these jaws are not built for combat purposes, and to compensate for their lack of offensive power, workers' rotund bodies are swollen with a large sac that spews out toxins if its thick membranes are pierced by the stingers, claws, mandibles, etc. of a hungry predator.
The soldier caste is built to defend the colonies of the Kyekna from attacks by predatory groups. The soldier caste has a cream-colored bodied that is more muscular and armored than that of the plump worker caste, and a large, somewhat oblong, and amber head that stores the large muscles necessary to power its sharp warlike mandibles, which they can snap shut at alarming speeds.
The soldier caste has much thicker exoskeleton armor than the worker caste, and more carapace plates than the worker; The soldier caste also has a fontanelle which can fire off a spray of a highly acidic, silvery substance, but its high spread makes it inviable as a long-ranged weapon.
Nasutes have a black head and lack mandibles, they instead have a nasus through which they absorb liquids. The nasute is a defensive class and can fire out a fast, powerful shot of acidic venom containing neurotoxic peptides.
Generalists possess both a set of mandibles and a nasus, but excel over soldiers and nasutes respectively with neither.
The basher cast is similar to the soldier, but its head is more ovular and long, and its mandibles may appear distended and mangled beyond recognition due to a complex specialization; The basher's mandibles are not meant to clamp down on a target, but instead to rapidly spring outwards and knock them away.
A caste of soldiers designed specifically to guard the kings and queens of Kyekna colonies, they are similar in appearance to soldiers, but have jet-black exosekeletal armor and are somewhat larger and more powerful than ordinary soldiers.
Alates are winged reproductives that may go on to become Kings or Queens one day if they breed, but are produced only once every few decades. Alates are capable of flight. Alates, after mating, become Kings and Queens, which are the only Kyekna capable of breeding.