The Kroeiers are unique among sapient beings in their peculiar life cycle, in that their different stages of development are different enough from one another to almost constitute separate species. Different developmental stages will be discussed individually here.
Architect (Larval Form)Edit
This is the earliest phase of Kroeiers existence, and yet arguably the most important for individual communities.
Larvae, or "Architects", somewhat resemble large, milk-white caterpillars, hatching from their eggs at 0. 15 meters long and growing to lengths of a full meter or more before moving on to the next stage.
This phase possess large, chewing mandibles, which it uses to consume a wide variety of plant matter. The mandibles can be folded backwards, releasing five fleshy appendages at the top of the throat. They possess eight stubby legs, but no hands.
The stomach is quite advanced for such an early stage, capable of processing food into a rich gelatinous substance, which quickly hardens into a tough crystal. This can be quickly regurgitated.
By far the most intriguing property of Architects, however, is the complex brain they are born with. The mind of a larva is pre-programmed with a wealth of computational and structural data, in what is currently the most advanced form of natural instinct known to science. Using this knowledge, the Architects will quickly set to work building massive hive-like structures using the crystalline substance produced by their guts. Provided food and protection from predators, a dozen larvae can build a structure the size of an average house in only two weeks. Great "Citadels" have been produced when succeeding generations of Kroeiers collaborate on a structure through their infant years. These have been described as looking somewhat similar to decorated cakes.
Serrated (Male Form)Edit
Architects are sexless organisms, existing only to eat and build, possessing little volition of their own. But after about a year of labor, Architects will begin a rapid metamorphosis into a young male Kroeiers.
This phase is larger and more independent than the previous form. A Serrated stands one meter high at the shoulder, and is 1.3 meters in length. They typically weigh thirty kilograms. The first four legs are walked upon, while the two foremost limbs are held in front of the creature, above the ground. These limbs are what give the Serrated caste their name--the arms are long and bladed, not unlike those of the praying mantis of Earth. The other two limbs have by this point become broad wings, nearly two meters in wingspan. They are striped gold and green in color, which helps them blend into their surroundings. Serrated are the hunter-warrior caste in Kroeiers communities, venturing out of their dens in order to collect plant matter for new batches of Architects Architand fresh meat for the older females. The Serrated themselves feed on a mixture of plants and small animals as they go about their errands.
By this point, the old instincts have faded, and the Serrated no longer possess instinctive knowledge about architecture or mathematics. Indeed, intellect is not a defining feature of Serrated, which score predominantly in the 60-80 range when given IQ tests.
Serrated live dangerous lives, which is why they possess such blades on their arms. Many of them remain as males their whole lives. But those which display particular intelligence or devotion in the course of their duties will be allowed to mate with a female, thus triggering development into the next stage of the Kroeiers life cycle.
Duchess (Female Form)Edit
Once a male has mated, he will over the next few months gain a tremendous amount of weight, changing internally as he becomes a member of the Duchess caste.
This phase is quite different from the previous caste, though the change is not as extreme as the transition from Architect to Serrated.
Duchesses are much larger than their younger male counterparts, standing two meters tall at the shoulder and weighing almost a ton due to enhanced fat deposits. The wings are useless by this point, and have no use other than decoration. The previous, striped coloration has given way to a dull black.
Females have lost their mandibles, now possessing internal mouthparts exposed only by a small mouth-hole. The fleshy appendages they possessed in their earlier forms are used to slowly feed meat into the hole for chewing.
The two forelimbs have lost their blades, and now end in hand-like graspers, each with seven, highly jointed fingers.
Most importantly, the change from Serrated to Duchess has caused a great deal of brain growth. Duchesses, when tested, frequently score a startling 140 IQ points or more.
Duchesses serve as the leaders of Kroeiers communities, seen as the pinnacle of development. Their high intelligence enables them to solve problems the community is faced with.
After a long period, which varies between cultures, a Duchess will decide to die, and will select a male Serrated with which to mate with and produce children. Mating is a short process, taking only a few moments. Afterwards the male, who by this point is akready starting to become a Duchess, will care for her as she passes into the final stage of Kroeiers development: the Deadgate.
Deadgate (Mother Form)Edit
The Duchess will rapidly lose weight, her fat deposits all diverted into growing her new eggs. At this point, the brain largely ceases to function, shifting into a basic instinctual phase not unlike that of the Architect. All individuality fades away, and the personality is destroyed. The new organism is large but lean, and is capable of running great distances assisted by occasional wingstrokes. The Deadgate, left to her own devices, will select a site far away in order to lay her eggs. Modern Kroeiers, however, keep Deadgates confined in strategic positions so that her children, a new litter of Architects, will strengthen the Citadel.
When the lifespans of all four stages are added together, the average lifespan of a Kroeiers is 130 years, with most of the life spent in the Serrated and Duchess stages. However, there is a great degree of variability between individual lives, and so no truly average figure may be deduced.
Like most races, Kroeiers are variable as a species. Different populations have adopted different cultures and societies in respknse to their environments, and thus have diverged into many different groups. Most Kroeiers societies can be categorized into a few groups, however, just as human nations can be categorized as republics, monarcgies, communist states, and other political systems.
This is the most basic type of society, the system that the Kroeiers evolved to live in. It has been argued that it is the most efficient.
In this system, Duchesses are undisputed as the masters of the community. Architects originally found a settlement, beginning a Citadel. They grow into Serrated, which occasionally become Duchesses.
Citadels are usually deeply religious in nature, with religious zeal motivating Duchesses into transforming into Deadgates. These nations often consist of many Citadels held together by a single Duchess, residing in a capital. Her direct offspring go on to found new Citadels, while her successor is chosen from among the Serrated.
An Equality is a more modern form of government, and currently is the least successful. It is also the system most similar to humanity.
Here, Serrated are very quickly mated to females, accelerating the development. The Duchess form is emphasized just as in Citadels, but the fast rate in which the generations turn over produces less stability. Duchesses stay in power for only a year or so before they mate and die, giving way to the next generation of leaders.
This is the last of the major groups of government--other forms have been experimented with in the past, but have collapsed fairly quickly.
In Slews, emphasis is taken away from the Duchess caste and placed with the Serrated. These dominant males travel in greater groups, frequently nomadic in nature. For reproduction, Slews capture Architects that are on the verge of metamorphosis and raise them up as their own.
The flaw in this system, of course, is that Serrated lack advanced intelligence. The only Slews currently in existence are those that have been manipulated