One of my favorite tricks for designing alien species/cultures is to take a real animal with an interesting lifecycle and think about what that biology would translate to if they had human intelligence

Example: silk moths as a base species

Because the moths themselves don’t eat and only live long enough to mate and then starve to death, the entire culture is made up of children and adolescents. The older children raise the younger ones, with families being made up of hatchmates from different years.

Because molts and eventual transformation into a short lived adult happen on a set schedule, families have a cycle— when your oldest set of siblings cocoon to become adults, you wait at the mating grounds and try to adopt their newborns after they pass. If that fails, you take any ‘orphans’ you can find.

Because death and birth are nearly simultaneous, they have a religion based around reincarnation, and infants with markings similar to a parent are often given their name. Claiming the offspring of a beloved family member is vitally important, because you want to be able to protect their soul and keep them close.

Because it’s hard to track the offspring of your male family members, there are sometimes major fights when a family sees an infant with familiar markings in another family’s clutch.

Between mating seasons, their culture is extremely food-oriented, because everyone is growing and silkworms eat nigh constantly. They spend most of their lives outdoors but sleep and shelter from bad weather in large family dwellings made from wood and the remains of the silk cocoons of prior generations.

everyone is really vibing with the silkworm aliens I see

And then I suppose the obvious episode plot hook is, “they’ve just figured out how to deliver fluids and nutrients intravenously, or equivalent, and they’re about to start finding out how long their bodies can last into adulthood without that limitation.”

Or, some advanced alien species dropped by, analyzed their biology, and said, “thanks for ‘letting’ us examine a few abducted specimens, in exchange, here’s how you can get nutrients without eating“, and then just fucks off.


#moths #story ideas I will never write #death tw

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