Surely successful aliens will be insects?

What are the odds against there being technologically advanced insect species in the galaxy? Seems to me "Starship Troopers " underrated the potential of insects to wipe the floor with us mammals, on the galactic average so to speak.:dubious:

I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted internet personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

I’m sure aliens wouldn’t be insects. They would be … alien. Probably something we couldn’t even begin to imagine, rather than a big bug.

Exoskeletons are a lose.

checks forum

Exoskeletal creatures will never dominate us on our home turf. Our big (for a geologic planet) Earth with her big gravity won’t allow exoskeletal creatures much larger than crabs (creatures that remain underwater can get somewhat bigger).

You could possibly get insectlike aliens, if they had an endoskeleton with external armor plating, like turtles or armadillos.

Lobstra managed to rape Divine but the colonial marines are probably a little tougher.

Welcome to SDMB dahoo. There are probably better questions to get factual answers for but we can throw some useful information your way.

At any rate the insect model as we know it has a lot of problems. They don’t work well in the XX-large size because they don’t have sophisticated pulmonary systems as explained here. Even with low gravity you need lungs and stuff if your body is big.

Of course, that doesn’t rule out insect like aliens with both an endo and exo skeleton, as well as real lungs and circulatory system, and stuff. Of course, this is just speculation, as so far we only have one example of life on a planet, Earth, and so far mammals are ahead of insects, at least in terms of technology.

Domination by giant arthropods didn’t happen here on Earth; why should it happen on any other plant.

Certainly insects are among the most successful forms of life on this planet (quite a way behind bacteria), but success doesn’t necessarily equal the development of intelligence, huge size and the ability to fart blue plasma at escape velocities.

Yeah that blue-plasma farting stuff always puzzled me.

They have a weapon that’s capable of blasting a starship in two- but they’re not using it against ground targets?! Seems like it would be very useful to them. No wonder they lost the war!

Well whatever the successful aliens are, they won’t be technically insects or arthropods, as those are classifications of earth animals-
but certain design features might be common to earth arthropods and your postulated successful aliens- like segmentation, modification of limbs into specialised organs, biramous appendages etcetera…
it seems likely to me that the size problem might be overcome in several ways. the largest arthropods in the fossil record, Arthropleura and the Eurypterids, were just about large enough to contain the sort of neural complexity required for intelligence (some eurypterids were 2 metres plus)
alternatively the sort of interaction shown by ant nests could become so complex that a very strange form of intelligence could emerge.
After all, the pheromone-trail networks of ants are a very efficient analog computer, capable of solving the well known ‘travelling salesman problem’ more efficiently than most digital computers…
a good place for inspiration about this sort of speculation are the seventy-year-old books by Olaf Stapledon, particularly Star Maker.

The skull and rib cage in vertebrates is somewhat exoskeleton-like in the sense that it’s a case of the hard bits wrapped around the soft bits.

So you’re the other person in this world who’s actually read Stapledon! I just re-read Last and First Men this week for the umpteenth time.

As eburacum45 said, it’s unlikely that extraterrestrial life forms would even follow Earth-type classifications of “Mammal,” “Reptile,” “Insect,” etc. I mean, just look at Austrailia. Or going MUCH further back in Earth’s history, the transitional animals between reptiles and mammals.

The real question I think is how well would we fair against an alien species with a hive social/biological structure with superior reproductive capabilities. This wouldn’t necessarily be an insectile species, there is one mammalian species that fits the bill here on earth, the naked molerat. An intelligent alien species such as this would be formidable, but I think it’s unlikely that any truly social species would develop intelligence. The hive social structure is a sucessful survival strategy in and of itself… there would be no need to evolve intelligence to compete as part of this kind of species.

You are quite right Padeye. No place for frivolous questions. In connexion with alien anatomy, may I make this observation. Obviously movie SCI FI uses primate/ human type templates for alien characters like you find in Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. for dramatic convenience. Notable exception was Alien, which was quite insect-like I thought. However I do distrust the current favourite archetypal big head, black slanty eyed , no nose creature of the X File tradition. Just too anthropomorphic for my taste. I just wondered if the rules of biology throw up, shall we say, “likely” body patterns for technically intelligent creatures within the possible range of planetary environments for such life forms. The basic monkey design is good but is it likely to be typical?

Other good arrangements might be Centaur-like, Lobster-like, Spider like, Velociraptor-like, Tumbleweed-like (see Hans Moravecs designs for Bush Robots), Elephant-Like, and social insect-like, and such wonderful things as social worms or molluscs- with the proviso that none of these will closely resemble their earth counterparts if any, and the development of intelligence seems to be a very unusual response to environmental pressures… but it does happen occasionally (as per the anthropic principle).

how about ‘fire baloon’ like?

Man I love reading Ray Bradbury :smiley: