|Lifespan||950 years (average) 3412 (record)|
|Other distinctions||poor vision, legs attached to perimeter of circular body, powerful mouthparts|
The mycandra (singular: mycand) are a species native to the planet Mangu in the Mangu System. More than half of their population is located on their homeworld and the rest are scattered in singular colonies in the Mycandra Conglomeration.
Etymology and definition
The word mycandra is an exonym derived from a description of them made when the mycandra gained contact with the UESS in 1251 CE. The mycandra refer to themselves roughly as 'Kitikaran' in their own language of clicks, scrapes and whines.
Mycandra are round (average adult diameter is about 50cm), with many segmented legs around their perimeter. Their top side is a tough dome with six basic eyes capable of detecting only movement and shadows. Their underside is mostly composed of tough, nimble circular mouthparts which can chew through solid rock (and some metals) or handle delicate machinery.
The dome cavity of a mycand contains a large brain relative to its body size likely due to its need to search for its elusive prey and the fact that its prey is easy to digest. One feature is its long tongue, normally coiled inside itself. It uses this to probe its environment and find prey, other mycandra, water and salt over long distances. In its legs are hearing organs, which it uses to detect vibrations in the ground.
Mycand reproduction occurs through internal fertilisation. The tongues of a breeding pair link up after a complicated ritual of hard-to-get. Sperm travels from the male to the female, fertilising any eggs that are present in the female's tongue. If conditions are good, the female will have egg nucleation sites ready and zygotes will form once the male fertilises them. If conditions remain favourable, egg development will not be paused and the female's tongue will become temporarily useless for a month as the hard-shelled eggs grow. Then, three eggs are released from the mouth of the tongue and laid underground. These eggs are about three centimetres long when laid. In the past, before the mycandra developed advanced technology, the female would consume two of the newly-hatched mycandra to reclaim the resources involved in creating offspring and better care for the hatchling most likely to survive. Nowadays, however, mycandra reproduce less often and do not consume their offspring. Mycandra grow up quickly. In one year, most mycandra are half the size they will be in adulthood. They never stop growing, but their rate of growth does slow down over time. At five years old, mycandra reach sexual maturity. Historically, low-class mycandra would live between 50 and 100 years because of high exposure to radiation on the surface, whereas high-class mycandra could live upwards of a thousand years (as they spent most of their time underground, protected by rock). At the present, radiation exposure reduction technology has allowed mycandra to live longer even if they spend substantial time on the surface rather than underground. Theoretically, mycandra can reproduce until death, but the chance of creating viable offspring generally decreases with age. A mycand is typically most fertile between five and 200 years of age (regardless of class) with a secondary, less fertile period between 200 and 500 years (regardless of class). Reproduction beyond 600 years is exceptionally rare.
Mycandra eat small insects. They have a dependence on common salt, searching for it nearly as long as they search for food. Now, though, with industrial salt mining, they do not need to do this.
- Main article: History of the Mycandra
Mycandra were not technologically advanced for most of their history. Around 600 CE, however, there was a sudden technological revolution. The first other political entity the mycandra encountered was the UESS, during their early expansion periods. This is traditionally set as the year 1251 CE. Contact with other entities came quickly. Some especially enterprising mycandra founded the largest chunk of what would later become PolyGalactic Accounting or PGA. The activities of the company brought great wealth to Mangu and improved living standards for mycandra.
Mycandra live in colonies of several thousand. They have a complex social hierarchy based mostly on the accumulation of stuff. They are a capitalist and materialistic species with an intuitive understanding of statistics. Decisions are made by consensus rather than by representatives.