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1.5-3m dependent on environs


2-4m dependent on environs


1-6m dependent on environs


High non-sapient


Planets or starships

Virnos are a type of extraterrestrial that have spread around the Viperius Galaxy, by hitch-hiking on spaceships.


Virnos are large, winged creatures with two taloned feet. Their head bears two stalk-like receivers which aid their echolocation, and they use a melon-like organ in their head to emit high-pitched sounds. Dependent on environs (discussed below) they may be 2-4m long and have a wingspan of 1-6m. They usually mass around 100kg, though this too is dependent.

They can detect very small quantities of useful or hazardous chemicals in the air, and can detect air, water or ground vibrations. They have a 'pineal eye' on their forehead which they can detect movement and light with.

Their mouth contains many sharp teeth, which are actually extensions of its skull. Through a Jacobson's organ in the roof of its mouth, it can detect food and predators, as well as their temperature and distance.

It has a wiry strength, and its bones are dense, but pneumatised. While they fly, their feet are used to grab food, and they have a long, whip like tail. When on planets where the gravity is too high or the pressure too low for flight, they can simply walk.

It has the ability to rapidly adjust metabolic rates, so it can go into hibernation aboard spacecraft or produce large amounts of activity while feeding. Its digestive system is very powerful and efficient, so much so that the Virnos's waste from eating an animal is usally only teeth.

They have a powerful immune system, in both tissue fluid and blood, formed of three cell types- known as blasters, munchers, and rippers. 'Blasters' fire toxins, glues and antibodies at foreign particles, impeding or killing them. These cells also create anti-toxins. They are immune to most parasites and diseases due to this, including Insoritor infection, and only geneered ones seem to work.

'Munchers' ingest foreign bodies. They have a saccharide cell wall, which opens to allow consumption.

'Rippers' latch on to foreign cells and break their cellular walls or membranes. They also inject digestive enzymes.


Virnos are capable of withstanding many and varied environmental conditions. Unusually, they have great adaptability while alive, with their tissue changing slowly under environmental conditions. Even more usefully, these changes are passed on to the offspring epigenetically until the creature is exposed to a micro-gravity environment, such as a ship during take off or the inside of an airlock.

Things such as size, wingspan, musculature, leg length, tooth and bone density, sensory acuity and so on can be changed this way. Some have adapted for aquatic living this way (in an exceptional case).


Endotherms, they can live in temperatures of lower than -30 degrees centigrade, and fur-like filaments develop on their skin. In hot climates, up to 70 degrees, they can also survive, developing more folded skin.

They can withstand 1200 grays of radiation for 50 days, due to their enclosed genome, which is shielded within strips of inactive polysaccharide and a thick nuclear membrane. They also have much redundant DNA, and cancerous cells are usually ingested by the Virnos immune system within an hour, even if away from the blood.

Poisons such as neurotoxins do not work on Virnos due to their exotic nervous systems. Their cells can withstand pHs of 1.5 to 13 over several days, due to a thin silicaceous shell and collagenous skeletons between cells. This also prevents most digestion.

They can withstand a vacuum for up to an hour active, and until radiation damage if hibernating. Their body water does not boil due to their blood vessel shape and the chemicals within their fluids.


Virnos are sexual and asexual, with many more females per clutch than males. Males fertilise females by spraying female's gonadic pores with sperm. A male or female is fertile whenever it is not hibernating.

Females reproduce asexually if no males are nearby, laying eggs which are clones of the parent.

Gestation takes a week, and egg clutches are of six to twelve.


The Virnos will eat almost anything, from flesh to manure and fruit to bones. It produces the majority of its amino acids and vitamins itself, to minimise the reliance on particular foods.

When on a planet and given time, the Virnos will consume trees, soil, microbes, grass, and anything else organic. Some have been recorded consuming carbonate rocks.


The Virnos has an intelligence similar to a dog, and can operate in packs.

They can choose the paths of least resistance for attack and search for weak points systematically. Division of labour has been seen against large quantities or sizes of prey, including diversion and channeling.

They can be very stealthy should the situation require it. Many spaceships have not known anything about their Virnos infestation until they reach their destination.


It is not known where the Virnos originated, but they were carried away from their homeplanet by a spacefaring civilisation, which is long extinct. On these worlds, they destroyed all life and then went into hibernation until a new spacefaring race picked them up.

As such, they are found on hundreds of worlds, mostly dead ones.

In Fiction

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