Thursday, 9 June 2011
Danata - "beeople"
The danata are one of the species I hope to feature in my Nanowrimo this year.
This is Duskwing; she's a danata worker naiad, which means she's an adolescent, sterile female danata, an alien species that evolved from an eusocial insect like a bee on the rim-world of Hesger. Yes, she stings (although in her case it's not lethal to her), and can make honey; woo, insect vomit.
Her anatomy is... eeenh, wonky. I'm not sure how it ended up like you're looking down on her, her head is mahoosive and her legs were a lot longer when I started. Somehow I only really noticed it once I'd inked it. ¬_¬ (Although in real life that wouldn't be difficult, she's barely a foot tall - to preserve the ability to fly.)
The top right image is closer to how she SHOULD look, with the exception of those widdly little wings, although I'm still not 100% decided on the whole legs-on-the-abdomen thing. I originally went for that with the idea of greater flexibility in the upper body, but I could probably achieve that just by adding some more joints to the thorax and it'd make the abdomen less awkward? Buuut then equally I suppose if she had that waspish petiole/waist, she'd be carrying a lot of weight (she's got all her gut in there) that would just stick out behind and and not really be supported very well. Hum.
The little "vents" on her sides are her spiracles; she has small, efficient lungs and a complex multi-hearted circulatory system of "haemolymph", which enables her to extract maximum oxygen out of the air, which she needs to fly. She also speaks through them; her language is a clicky, squeaky one.
Her crop and pharyngeal glands are in her upper body; her stomach and intestines in her abdomen. A "queen" (who I need to find a better word for) has a larger abdomen as she has her reproductive organs in there - Duskwing is non-reproductive so she's smaller. Drones also have a larger/broader abdomen.
She lives in a reasonably large colony of about 200 individuals (mostly workers of various castes, with one queen and a few drones) in the stinger forest on the coast; her colony overlooks the sea, so they used a lot of stone in its construction. Nearby colonies in the forest used more wood and reclaimed plastics. They are a computer-age society, although they didn't develop it themselves; most of their technology they bartered for. Their "mead" was a very popular (and expensive!) drink that they used to sell to offworld traders, but with the advent of Hah'zeepti haemorrhagic fever and Hesger's current quarantine they lost their primary sales route. They're not too bothered about it; they're pretty self-sufficient, and now they "recycle" materials that the warmbloods left behind when they all died.
They're a relatively stern species; not very emotional, very busy and logical. Their art and architecture tends towards highly geometric designs - yes, hexagons are a theme, and there's an egyptian-ish stylisation to a lot of it (the Egyptians were very maths-oriented in their art, it seemed to fit). Young danata don't really play - the only age at which they're not either working or in school is when they're very young nymphs, after their first (and only) true moult.
They hatch from eggs as small, white, soft-bodied versions of the adults; most are females, and depending on diet, they develop either into workers, or reproductives. (Workers do have all the right "equipment" to lay eggs, but its growth is stunted by lack of a particular hormone). Workers and drones get only small quantities of the "royal jelly"; queen nymphs are fed mostly on this substance, which contains a hormone that stimulates ovarian development. (Thus, if the queen dies and leaves no successor, a worker COULD conceivably lay eggs, but this is highly uncommon.) The small white nymphs are soft bodied to allow for rapid growth - essentially, they are little more than eating machines, and an individual can double its body size in a month or so.
After moulting off their infant skins, the nymphs are about half their adult size; they are greyish in colour, fluffier than the adults, with small leathery winglets. This is the only time in their lives that they "play" (although it still doesn't much resemble mammalian "play" - it is very "learning-oriented" playing). Their exoskeletons are still soft, and it grows slowly over the next five or so years until they attain their adult size, at which point they are considered naiads. Naiads take a further couple of years to reach adulthood; they are adult size, but still greyish-yellow in colour, and weak fliers with small wings.
Worker naiads are intensely schooled in this period of transition, with the aim of selecting the best adult role in the colony for them - some become guards, nurses, teachers, foragers, etc. Reproductives (drones and queens) are also taught their adult roles, although there is less "determination" done for them.
*flop* OK I think I got the basics down. XD
I plan on drawing her again, but with less screwwy anatomy. Now I have the basics of how I want her to look down, it should be easier, I hope ¬_¬
Did I mention bees are awesome? Almost as awesome as butterflies. Yay bugs.