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The Arachnids (more commonly known as "Bugs", and "Archies" as well as called "Pseudo- Arachnids" in novel) are an alien race that has evolved and conquered several planets outside Federation space in the Starship Troopers franchise. They are believed to be mindless hive creatures controlled or instructed by a Brain caste.
As the United Citizen Federation expanded its territory across the Galaxy, it came into contact with the Arachnid Species covering an area of it. The Federation initially considered the Arachnids to be a less advanced civilization. However, to avoid conflict, the region of space the Arachnids had colonized was Quarantined to prevent any humans settling within it. Despite this, unofficial colonies were created on Arachnid planets, often ending in the Arachnid attacks of these poorly defended colonies leading to massacres, such as at Port Joe Smith. In response to these intrusions into Arachnid colonies, the Arachnids launched an Meteor Attack on Buenos Aires.
In the novel, Arachnids are portrayed more as alien invaders similar to other advanced races like Martians or Harvesters. While living in social structures similar to ants or bees, Arachnids possess advanced technology such as spacecraft, beam and missile weapons that their non-novel incarnations mostly lack. It's left ambiguous as to whether their technology is organic or purely mechanical.
Much like in non-novel media, Arachnid society is based on a caste system in which they can coexist prosperously. It is theorized they don't have emotions — at least of the human sort — and they never retreat unless they know they can't win. The individuals of the lower castes, such as Warriors, are telepathically connected to the Brain Bugs. The Bugs won't hesitate to kill their own kind of any caste should the situation demand it; they are ready to expend thousands of Workers in a diversionary action, or to wipe out their ruling castes to prevent their capture.
Thanks to sheer numbers and ability to breed at a faster rate, Arachnids view death with little to no meaning. Combined with the large numbers of Warriors and enhanced parthenogenesis ability, they favor large swarm tactics and human-wave attacks (or "Bug-wave" attacks) to overwhelm their enemies. At one point in the book, a Mobile Infantry trooper notes that "they expend Warriors like we expend ammunition". This, combined with their advanced technology, makes them a deadly invasive race.
They are described as looking like "a madman's conception of a giant, intelligent spider." Also, the Bugs can see into the infrared spectrum: though pitch dark to human eyes, the underground corridors of a Bug colony are well-lit when viewed through the infrared "snoopers" of the Mobile Infantry's Marauder Suits.
Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles
The Arachnids are an alien species that has conquered and colonized many planets across the galaxy. The Arachnids are first discovered on Pluto which led to a large battle against SICON forces. After The Pluto Campaign it was discovered that the Arachnids were actually an interstellar race covering much of the galaxy. It is also known that they will not stop their war against the humans until they are all destroyed.
Starship Troopers: Miniatures Game & Starship Troopers: The Role Playing Game
The Arachnids are the main antagonists and main symbolic insectoid species of Starship Troopers series. They are very dangerous and absolutely hostile to all other life. They are bent on the conquest, enslavement, destruction and/or conversion of all non-bug life to bug and are known to have conquered countless planets across space and destroyed countless other species and civilizations. They are incalculable in number and capable of overrunning almost every enemy. They generally lack advanced tactics and usually don't need them as their favored and simple tactics have proved to be extremely effective and never once failed them.
The Bugs treat their own as expendable and disposable and usually just use charge attacks, meaning they just charge the enemy and lose many of their number in the process. However, given their overall numbers and amount of resources, it's more likely for them to wear out the enemy than it is for them to reach their limits, if they have any limits to speak of. Any casualties they suffer, no matter how heavy they may seem, never appear to obstruct them in any way as there is always an infinite number more of them still active and every casualty on their part is light and insignificant at best. Bugs don't even have most of the traits of a living being, except maybe reproduction. They have no emotions, they don't grow past the certain point in their development and can't die of old age; they don't need water or food and apparently don't breathe as they survive equally well in any atmosphere, underwater and even in vacuum. In general, they are more reminiscent of bio-robots than truly living beings as they are essentially automatic and lifeless war machines that exist and are made for one purpose: war and destruction.
Bugs are subterranean by nature and live and thrive inside the planets, converting them whole into giant hives, to the point of them not being planets anymore, but rather hives covered by rocks on the surface. Planets that house the bugs for too long eventually turn into a bug themselves, becoming a living hive, giving a whole new meaning to the term Bug Planet.
Unlike their counterparts in other media, the Warrior in the 1988 anime Starship Troopers are bipedal polyp-like creatures possessing tentacles, able to cut metal plates, and integrated biological weapons capable firing beam or globules of a sticky explosive compound at high muzzle velocity. Instead of wave tactics, they fight as a team, much more similar to the Mobile Infantry in the novel. A Warrior is spread/split out from a huge mass of Arachnids, which can travel in outer space. It can hardly scanned by the radar. A Warrior can attach itself onto any surface, even penetrate the wall of a space shuttle. It is not mentioned whether Warriors are as intelligent as their novel counterparts.
Starship Troopers tells the story of an interplanetary war between Earth and colonies of large insect-like aliens in the twenty-third century. It focuses on the experiences of Johnny Rico, one of three friends who sign up to the military one year before Earth declares war on the Arachnids. In the movies, the Arachnids are portrayed as invaders without any kind of technology, similar to Zerg from StarCraft series and Akrid from Lost Planet games.
Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation
The film's plot is the Attack on Hotel Delta 1-8-5, which is set on a planet inhabited by the Arachnids where a unit of soldiers called Bravo Six finds themselves pinned down and surrounded on all sides by Arachnid forces. Even with their new rail gun technology and assistance from a psychic Lieutenant, the Arachnid assault overwhelms them and General Jack Shepherd decides to make a last stand with several of his soldiers, allowing the majority of his surviving troops to withdraw. The plan works, and the soldiers, including Sergeant Dede Rake (Brenda Strong), psychic Lieutenant Pavlov Dill, Private Jill Sandee and her lover Private Duff Horton, and Private Lei Sahara escape. Despite reaching relative safety, the team is whittled down by deadly storms and arachnid ambushes. Among these deaths is the only member of the platoon with a radio, Corporal Thom Kobe. Lieutenant Dill finds himself unable to command his soldiers as he receives traumatic visions of utter annihilation.
Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
Eleven years after the Invasion of Planet P, the Federation was still fighting against the Bugs and had been developing new ways to defeat them, as well as increasing recruitment through use of propaganda and advertising. Any peace protesters and religious fanatics were executed as seditionists. Colonel Johnny Rico was stationed on the planet of Roku San, in a Federation assault outpost where under constant attack of the Bugs. A shuttle brought in General Dix Hauser, Captain Lola Beck, old friends of Rico, and Sky Marshal Omar Anoke to boost morale. Hauser had a fight with a drunken farmer; though he claimed he could handle it, he was thrashed around the bar. Rico intervened, preventing Hauser from killing the farmer. Hauser threatened Rico with court martial before the outpost's Electric Perimeter Fence failed, falling ultimately into the hands of the Bugs. Rico led his troops against the Bugs until they got attacked by a Scorpion. Lola evacuated Anoke aboard the shuttle, fleeing the planet. Ultimately, Roku San fell. Rico was blamed for the response and sentenced to hanging. On the way back to base, Geronimo, the ship Lola and Anoke were on, was thrown out of warp space near the planet OM-1. The former and cook Jingo Ryan, engineer Bull Brittles, Dr Wiggs and religious flight attendant Holly Little, took an escape pod down to the planet while other soldiers took a shuttle. With the appearance of Bugs, they had to leave the pod for the shuttle. Along the way, Holly began praying as Anoke encouraged her, which Lola found nothing but annoyance. Unfortunately, their team was picked off one by one until only the women and Anoke were left.
Starship Troopers: Invasion
On an asteroid, the United Citizen Federation's Fort Casey was crawling with Bugs. The starship Alesia began to deploy the A-01 team, its Mobile Infantry troopers, by the Landing Ship, in order to seize and control the hangar so they can rescued any survivors. The A-01 team, lead by Lieutenant Daugherty, landed and immediately engaged Bugs, fighting through to rendezvous with the surviving K-12 team member, the Fort Casey troopers. After A-01 trooper Mech set explosives charges, the troopers headed to the starship John A. Warden for evacuation, only to see it leave dock without them — Minister Carl Jenkins had commandeered the John A. Warden from Captain Carmen Ibanez, sending her to Alesia. Before leaving, Jenkins ordered that Major Henry "Hero" Varro, the commander of K-12 team, be escorted to Alesia as a prisoner. Alesia docked with Fort Casey for emergency evacuation of the surviving troopers. After the Alesia left, the charges in the Fort Casey detonated, apparently destroyed the base. While en-routing to Earth, Alesia was contacted by General John Rico from High Command at L-6 Satellite Base. When he ordered Alesia to search for the John A. Warden, which had broken all contact, the K-12 team agreed to do so only Major Varro led them during the mission. General Rico agreed, but he stated the mission wouldn't effect Varro's trial. When the joint troopers discovered and went aboard the John A. Warden, they found nothing but dead crewmen and a few dead bugs. The A-01 team escorted Captain Ibanez to the bridge while K-12 team secured the engine room. Major Varro found a deranged Jenkins and was warned — too late — not to power up the ship as "she" had hacked all the systems. As the engines recharged the John A. Warden, an Arachnid Queen inside took control of all systems and opened bulkhead doors to release her Warrior Bugs. As Ibanez and the troopers attempted to return to Alesia, the Queen used John A. Warden's main weapons to destroy the Alesia before driving John A. Warden into a wormhole, whose outlet is in near-Earth space. The troopers returned to the John A. Wardens bridge, where Varro revealed he was arrested when Jenkins had ordered his unit to capture the Queen alive on Fort Casey, but Varro had refused to sacrifice his squad. General Rico deployed three starships — the Franklin, the fast attack ships Sheridan and Ishizuka — from the L-6 Base in Earth orbit, but they were unable to stop the John A. Warden. The Queen set the bug-infested ship on a trajectory to crash land in Paris, but Alpha Team sniper Trig managed to shoot out several wires linking the Queen to the ship, allowing Ibanez to redirect the John A. Warden to crash in a mountain range. Meanwhile, General Rico leads a squad of troopers in Marauder MK-II to stop the Bugs from escaping the crash site, while high command gave him 30 minutes before they drop nuclear missiles from the L-6 Station to sanitize the site. Back on the John A. Warden, Hero, Ratzass, Mech and Bugspray made their way towards the Queen, while Ice Blonde protected Captain Ibanez at a nearby airlock. Hero ordered Mech and Ratzass go to the engine room to set charges. When Varro and Bugspray found Trig's corpse, the wounded Bugspray used Trig's family-made sniper rifle to buy Varro some time to reach the Queen. Jenkins, having recovered from his mental breakdown, provided Varro back-up with the Federal Intelligence Bugs, revealing an important breakthrough in the war and the reason for capturing a live Queen. Rico and a soldier were the only two from his squad to reach the John A. Warden. However, the other soldier was caught in the blast and killed when the Queen destroyed an extra extraction shuttle from L-6. Later, the L-6 launched the nuclear missiles, but the tactic failed, too. As Jenkins led the team to his shuttle from Fort Casey, Rico rushed to distract the Queen and rescue Varro. However, Varro, critically injured, detonated a grenade, killing himself along with the Bugs surrounding him. Rico abandoned his broken Marauder and used a combat knife on one of the Queen's eyes, buying Ibanez time to make take-off preparations. Rico barely sprinted back into the shuttle as it escaped the John A. Warden before the explosives detonated and destroyed the John A. Warden. Ratzass, Ice Blonde, and Mech paid their respect to their fallen comrades while Ibanez confronted Jenkins over the recent crises. Jenkins sidestepped the issue, telling Rico and Ibanez that his research would someday save the entire galaxy. In the aftermath, one Warrior Bug is seen navigating a sewer system, having survived the destruction of the John A. Warden.
Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars
For the failure to stop the Queen from landing on Earth, John Rico is demoted back to Colonel and reassigned to Mars, where he has the unfortunate job of training incompetent Martians to be Mobile Infantry. He named his recruits Lost Patrol due to their constant failure in training simulations, which it doesn't help by the fact that denizens of Mars in general has laid-back attitude and overall has low support for the war, seeing their planet unaffected by the bug conflict and even suggesting pulling out from the war.
The Arachnids are insect like beings, with an exoskeleton, and no endoskeleton like earths invertebrates.The Arachnids were originally believed to be mindless creatures. When Johnny Rico and Carmen Ibanez dissect Arkellian sand beetles, the biology teacher states that the Arachnids have millions of years of evolution behind them and are, in the case of survival capability, the perfect species. They have the ability to colonize planets "by hurling their spore into space" and possess a social structure which fits their mental capabilities.