|Habitat||Terrestrial planets orbiting a red sun|
|Height||11 feet (3.35 meters)|
|Weight||120 pounds (54.4 kg)|
|Lifespan||Potentially millions of years|
|Behind the Scenes|
|Universe||The Draco Tavern|
|Created by||Larry Niven|
The Chirpsithra (or simply Chirps) are a sapient, space-faring race of crustacean-like bipeds. They made first contact with Humans at some point in the early 21st century.
Members of this species are very tall (roughly 11 feet) and slender (weighting about 120 pounds), with salmon-pink skin partially covered by a red plated chitinous exoskeleton, and their appearance doesn't seem to vary much between individuals. It is said that every Chirpsithra is female, but that's not strictly true. Males are known to exist, but not a single non-Chirpsithra has ever seen one, as far as it's known, and their exact nature remains a mystery to outsiders.
There is a kind of small, mindlessly aggressive carnivorous beast with a crustacean-like appearance and red, spiny exoskeletons which are referred to as Red Devils. These have been observed aboard Chirpsithra vessels. The Chirps claim that they are the infant form of some other species, but it has been speculated that they might represent the male form of the Chirps. However, Chirpsithra have also described their children as "voracious", perhaps indicating that the Red Devils might be a kind of larval stage which they go through.
Like Humans, the Chirpsithra biochemistry is based on carbon and water. They inhabit planets with a mass similar to that of Earth and breathe oxygen. Unlike Humans, though, their genetic structure is based on a substance other than DNA.
History and societyEdit
The Chirpsithra civilization is one of the oldest known, and they have achieved interstellar flight billions of years ago. They evolved in a tidally-locked world orbiting a red dwarf star, and have since expanded their empire and settled colonies on pretty much all red dwarf systems in the Milky Way Galaxy. Since red dwarf stars are the most common type by far, the Chirps often claim, with some level of accuracy, that they own the galaxy.
Despite their enormous technological and military power, the Chirpsithra are usually a friendly race which favor diplomacy over war whenever possible. Even though they express no interest in colonizing non-red star systems, they do like to contact new species and are usually willing to take every kind of sapient being as passengers aboard their interstellar liners, which travel all over the galaxy.
They use a type of currency known as the svith, and their common language is called Lottl. They are known to have a sense of humor and produce a chittering sound in lieu of laughter.
An interesting feature of the Chirpsithra language is that they have three different types of possessive pronouns. One is used for things which are intrinsic to the owner (e.g. "my arm", "my leg"); another is used for property such as "my house", and "my husband" (another possible clue to the males' status in Chirp society); and a third for relationships (e.g. "my sister", "my friend", "my mother"). It has been suggested that there's a connection between this peculiarity of their language and the fact that Chirpsithra display a tendency to be less attached to their land and property than most other species. They will hardly be willing to die to defend their homes, and prefer to evacuate in the face of danger.
Besides being biologically long-lived, Chirpsithra are known to use science to help increase their lifespan. There are a few individual Chirps who claim to be as old as two billion years.
The Chirps are also known for a small technological device called the sparker, which sends electric currents through their digits. The effect a Chirpsithra achieves by using the sparker is roughly equivalent to a Human consuming alcohol.
- The Subject is Closed (1977)
- Grammar Lesson (1977)
- Cruel and Unusual (1977)
- Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing (1979)
- The Schumann Computer (1979)
- The Green Marauder (1979)
- The Real Thing (1981) (Mentioned only)
- War Movie (1981) (Mentioned only)
- Limits (1981)
- Table Manners, a.k.a. Folk Tale (1984)
- The Wisdom of Demons (2000) (Mentioned only)
- Smut Talk (2000) (Mentioned only)
- The Missing Mass (2000)
- The Heights (2001)
- Ssoroghod's People (2001)
- The Convergence of the Old Mind (2002)
- Chrysalis (2002)
- The Death Addict (2003)
- The Ones Who Stay Home (2003)
- Storm Front (2004)
- The Slow Ones (2006) (Mentioned only)
- Breeding Maze (2006)
- Playhouse (2006)
- Lost (2006)
- Losing Mars (2006)
- Playground Earth (2006)
- The Artists (2010)
- The Flare Weed (2011)
- God Walks Into a Bar (2014)