ďKnucklersĒ is the common name of the sophont Lepidopteri species, which is a reference to how their four-limbed, larva stage resembles a great ape, walking on what would be their knuckles if they were mammalian. This is the form this species spent most of their life in, metamorphosing into a winged form for a relatively brief sexual period.
Knucklers emerge as nymphs from gel sacks that are cared for by both related and unrelated larval adults, for by this time their parents are usually deceased. A clutch of 6 to 12 sacks laid by a single female can actually be fathered by different males.
Once out of childhood, Knucklers strive to establish a name for themselves via art, science, innovation & social contribution within their busy, complex societies that include urban spaces, verdant with trees, flowers and vegetation; designed with plenty opportunities for brachiation and resting places for their flying, sexual form.
If they accumulate sufficient charisma and standing they will have a better chance of attracting mates of the opposite gender with whom they generally work closely with in their eventual life role within society. Working together with your mates is very important because it is a sense of closeness, of compatibility and pheromones that eventually triggers a synchronised metamorphosis in their sexual form.
To achieve this their chitinous outer layers start to thicken and fuse together, forming the chrysalis, from which they will eventually emerge. Other sophonts might confuse this stage with geriatric issues, such as arthritis. This is not too unexpected as the larval lifespan of the Lepidopteri has adapted to provide a long tool-using stage.
From these chrysalis, the sexual forms emerge and work on the matter of procreation. Knucklers tend to revere these that have reached this winged, sexual stage and their local languages tend to be restricted to words the modified vocalising ability of this stage can pronounce. The larval form can speak most languages.
Flying is intermittent at best, as the species has pretty much outgrown their form - hence the need for frequent roosting places in Knuckler habitats.
Gestation, from conception to readiness to produce the batch of gel sacks, takes three months and the life of the sexual stage is between six to 24 months.
Childhood is considered to be end at 16 years of age and the larval stage can last up to approximate 70 years although most Knucklers would have expected to have bonded and transformed in their 30s. Some donít bond and these are generally found in roles that donít accumulate sufficient charisma or helping to perpetuate knowledge, technology and skills within such a relatively short-lived species.
Equality is quite strong in the larval stage as the genders are physically indistinct in the larval stage, except to other Knucklers and where current cultural trends popularise emphasising differences. Someone of either gender, with sufficient charisma, can attract multiple mates and Knucklers of the same gender can also bond enough to read the sexual stage.
They are not seen that frequently away from their own worlds as unbonded Knucklers generally want to bond, bonded Knucklers will want to return to a habitat if they feel the sexual stage is coming and those in the sexual stage want other Knucklers around to look after their offspring.
Knuckler habitats are complex, multilayered places, rich in smells, vegetation and social activity. Other sophonts are strongly suggested to either by a grav belt or brush up on their climbing abilities before visiting such a place. Although not prone to fighting formal wars, confrontations can break out rapidly and quieten down again just as fast.
However as these places tend to be crawling with skilled sophonts seeking to make a name for themselves, other species tend to visit these places to trade artefacts, seek solutions to problems they canít solve themselves or seek creative customisations. There can also be a strong demand for resources that are unglamorous to acquire or unusual enough to bring standing from their use.