- Moves: 2
- Strength: 10
The weakest alien unit.
Although not a member of the Coleopteran family, nonetheless planetary survey crews initially identified these swarming animals as insectoid due to a superficial morphology with common Earth beetles. Given the proclivity of the species to aggressively swarm in loose packs, and its size – measuring 105-160 cm in length, 80-85 cm in height, and weighing 43 to 45 kg on average – early settlers likened them to Earth wolves. Hence the common name.
Lupus Bruchus is a hive xenomorph. As with a number of species on Earth, at some point in its evolution its wings hardened into elytra, providing a protective “shell” sheathing the upper body. Likewise, fossil records indicate that it once had antennae, which thickened over time into exoskeleton horns similar to those of Dynastinae. Likewise, the legs and head are armored with a chitin-like armor, composed of long-chain polymers of keratan sulfate, a derivative of glucose produced by the animal’s digestive system. The soft tissues of the underside are not, however, protected by this natural armor. Color patterns on the shells are varied, and it has been speculated may be tied to seasonal or geological influences.
The wolf beetle is found in almost every eco-system of the planet, from near the poles to the equator. Extremely hardy and adaptable, it has proved a successful omnivore. The bisexual species reproduces at a high rate, and periodically outstrips the size of the nest. At that point, rather than expanding its nest or creating new colonies, a portion of the hive will swarm en masse until destroyed. Stigmergy, the concept first investigated by Earth biologist Pierre Paul-Grasse in 1959 AD, makes these swarms extremely dangerous, as the indirect coordination between individuals in the swarm grows increasingly aggressive towards non-swarm individuals. Moreover, this collective behavior of the wolf beetle thus far defies the mathematical “boids” that Craig Reynolds devised to predict swarm movements, and the only known defense against a wolf beetle migration is extermination of the swarm.