Species: Orid'ko (Ore Spider, Ore Scuttler)

(aka Ore Spider, Ore Scuttler, DaiMon’s Bane)


Physiology and Diet

Although known colloquially as ore spiders, Orid’ko have little to nothing in common with spiders or other arthopods. Visually they consist of an ovoid main body with adults of the species reaching a diameter of approximately 11 cm covered in what appears to be dense fur. They possess five appendages coming radially off the main body, with a pair flanking each side and a single one emerging from the “front” of the animal. Despite having five apparent legs, the creatures are in fact quadrepedal, with the final limb being used primarily to investigate its surroundings by means of touch. Each limb can reach 12-14 cm in length and possesses three joints which are capable of articulating in a 290 degree spherical arc. The four locomotive limbs terminate in four claws while the sensory limb ends in a six clawed grasping arm.

Both the body and legs are covered in a hard metallic exoskeleton, the composition of which is entirely reliant on its diet. The fur likewise is composed of thin metallic filaments with a similar composition. These filaments are soft to the touch and lay flat during normal activity, but are capable of being raised as a defensive measure in response to threats. Due to this dietary dependance on composition, the species comes in a wide variety of colors with the most common being grey or silver. However, owners of these animals are known to modulate their diet in order to reach a desired color scheme.

The creatures have no visible eyes and appear to be entirely blind. Respiration is done through a series of spiracles in the main body. Despite having no sense of sight or smell, the Orid’ko are well adapted to their environment and possess specialized nerve endings in their legs to sense vibrations in the ground and air as well as receptors which allow them to “taste” through their legs.

The internal physiology of the Orid’ko bears similarities to that of a Horta in an example of convergent evolution, although they remain carbon as opposed to silicon based. In their natural habitat, Orid’ko subsist entirely on a diet of metallic ore. They possess a set of internal jaws with hardened grinding surfaces, with an opening below the main body. In conjunction with a powerful acid, this allows them to break down rock to extract the metallic elements. In captivity and other settings, they consume processed metals and appear to prefer this to extracting elements from raw ore. They display a strong preference for softer metals with liquid elements such as mercury and latinum being preferred to dense solids such as tritanium.

Orid’ko pose little threat to humanoids. It is unable to secrete or project digestive acid in the manner of the Horta and its lack of teeth renders it unable to deliver a bite to any external surface. However, inserting any appendage into its mouth is likely to result in the loss of said appendage and depending on diet, the fur and outer shell may contain toxic elements. They can go long periods without food and can thrive in a wide variety of conditions.

Habitat and Behavior

Orid’ko were originally navtive to the class L planet Thalin. In thier natural habitat they form colonies of 100-500 individuals and inhabit the dense cave systems common to that world.

Shortly after thier discovery, they were captured and exported by the thousands both as pets and also as a form of prospective mining. Thier ability to concentrate trace metals in thier shells was seen by more than one entrepenuer as an easy alternative to expensive mining operations. However, the overall small volume of ore that the animals consume as well as thier propensity to metabolize much of what they do eat put an end to most of these efforts. Indeed, thier affinity for latinum meant that several would be Ferengi trailblazers came off with pocketbooks much worse for wear.

Orid’ko are now widespread across a multitude of systems. Federation exobiologists have concluded that despite this, they are not generally an invasive species. This is due to the very specific conditions required to trigger a breeding cycle. Orid’ko reproduce asexually, with a spawning cycle generated 10-20 young. These events are triggered by a number of intersecting factors including solar radiation cycles, resource abundance, and population density.

Although not highly intelligent, Orid’ko are social and communicative within their colonies. This is done vocally, with a huge variety of different vocalizations recorded. These sounds are produced by expulsion and intake of air through the various sized openings in the main body as well as vibration of internal metallic strands. The end result is a wide repertoire that ranges from simple hissing to noises that sound musical in nature. This along with the bright and distinctive color schemes that can be obtained with a specialized diet have made them quite popular in some competitive circles.