Anatomy- Adult (female)
The T'Katarans at first glace resemble large furry spiders. The have six locomotive limbs arranged in a radial symmetry from their massive thorax. Each limb terminates in a double claw with a third opposable claw, capable of simple grasping, but no fine manipualtion. Fine motor skills are are proveided by the maniples. The maniples are tiny, four-fingered limbs that are mounted on the skull.
The front of the thorax is protected by a flexible bony plate (DEF 4, 9- ACT). The ears are mounted on the thorax. Respiration is carried out by large spiracules, eight to a side, located on the anterior of the thorax.
The "neck" is actually a specialized limb with a joint at thorax, skull and midway between. At rest, the neck folds back atop the thorax and the head rests atop the bony plate. There is a pulmonary located in the neck to assist in blood flow.
The head is wide, flat and triangular. Huge compound eyes are set at left and right extremities, the maniples are mounted below and slightly inward. The eyes are somewhat near-sighted, though their ability to distinguish detail is somewhat superior to humans. The mouth is a hard, leathery, beak-like affair with one retractable tooth. The tongue is thick grey and rope-like. A small air-bladder allows the mouth to make sound. T'Kataran speech sounds to human ears to be mostly consonants and glottal stops. Careful listening can make five vowel sounds plus a number of stops. T'Katarans have no history of music, though they are capable of hearing pitch.
The body is entirely covered with hair with the exception of claws, mouth, maniple digits, and plate. Part of the underbelly may be hairless in advanced age. Coloration tends to be black with yellow, orange or red stripes. In some individuals, this may be reversed.
All adults are female.
Anatomy- Juvenile (male)
The juvenile form of the T'Kataran is basically a pupal stage. At this point in their development all are male. The male T'Kataran resembles a large termite, and is somewhat repulsive to human eyes. They are fat, hairless and have rudimentary limbs. They are incapable of caring for themselves. Their eyes are single-faceted, and the the neck-limb is very short but flexible, lacking the middle joint. The maniples and beak are similar to the adult form.
The T'Kataran egg is about the size of a softball.It will grow to about the size of a soccer-ball before hatching. It is grey and leathery, similar in texture to the T'Kataran mouth.
T'Katarans are warm-blooded, carbon-based life forms with similar amino acid structure to humans. They can eat many of the same foods a human would eat, but they are primarily vegetarian. They are adapted for a colder climate than humans and are capable of hibernating for decades at a time. Such hibernation is extremely stressful for a T'Kataran and they will go to great lengths to avoid it. Most modern T'Katarans have never hibernated. They have an endoskeletal structure for locomotion and an exoskelatal carapace under the fur for protection. (DEF 1) The front part of the carapace is extra-thick concealing the brain (DEF 4)
Sight: T'Kataran's are near-sighted and see best in the longer wavelengths. They do NOT have infravision, but they are more likely to detect a heat source or luminous object than humans. (-3 range, +3 luminous or hot objects)
Hearing: T'Kataran atmosphere is very thin (about twice Mars) and the T'Katarans have developed good hearing to compensate. The hairs of the carapace pick out sound (Telescopic hearing and +3 hearing perception.
Smell: T'Katarans have no taste of smell.
Taste: T'Kataran taste is far superior to human, and taste organs are to be found in the beak and the maniples. The T'Kataran environment is bacteria-rich and parasite-rich and they have developed the ability to test for the safety of what they eat before they actual place it in their mouths. (+3 taste perception, detect poison)
Touch: The maniples of of a T'Kataran are slightly less sensitive than human hands (-3 touch Perception)
A T'Kataran will mate twice in its life. When it is hatched as a pupal male form, it will require the same care and training as a human child for about ten years. At this point it will become sexually mature. When conditions are right, it will mate with as many females as possible for a period of about a month. Then hormonal changes will allow it to spin a coccoon. It will ie in this chrysalis for 6 months, slowly changing sex and gaining adult characteristics. What emerges is a young female, ready to be trained for her life's task (see Culture and Behavior). A female decides when to sexually mature. When she is ready, she will mate. If the first mating does not result in pregnancy, she will try different males until fertilized. Three months later she will lay a clutch of 5-10 eggs. These will be tended in a communal nursery. Racial clues allow a parent to know which children are hers, but all children are the responsibility of the warren and those females who have devoted their life to the Nursery. After reproducing, the female becomes sterile, but retains her female characteristics. T'Katarans live for about 70 earth years, not including any time spent in hibernation.
Culture and Behavior
T'Katarans are caste-oriented. These castes are divided along professional, rather than biological lines. The male pupal period of education helps the T'Kataran discover his aptitudes. While in the chrysalis, it will develop the physical, mental and emotional attributes necessary to perform its life's function. T'Katarans are remarkably well-adjusted because of this. Warfare is uncommon to T'Katarans and social inequity is a concept they don't understand.