The Ilwrath were a hostile race of arachnids that the New Alliance of Free Stars was at war with until their extinction some time around 2165.
The Ilwrath resembled large red spiders with four visible (probably compound) eyes on top of their head, large mandibles where eyes would usually be in humanoids, and below that a mouth. Their mandibles allowed them to eat, communicate, and to use as weapons. Their appendages would regenerate if lost or damaged, often a result of their many rituals of pain. When talking, they sound bloodthirsty and sometimes draw words out, and sometimes inhale when talking about their religious tortures with fondness. In the game, every word they speak is capitalized. Their ship type, the Avenger, is armed with a short-range flamethrower and a cloaking device, making it one of the trickier ships to pilot and to pilot against.
The Ilwrath consider themselves evil, believing their gods would never reward a species that was not evil with their baleful grace. Since evil is sanctioned by their culture, it would be "bad" to do otherwise, and the Ilwrath grow extremely angry when people point this out. The Pkunk have a theory that the Ilwrath were once so noble, pure and good that they could get no better. Then they paradoxically did become better which somehow "flipped" them over to being as evil as possible (a programming joke, see Signed number representations). Religion is the primary factor in Ilwrath society. They worship two gods, Dogar and Kazon; later shown to be part of a particularly despicable Umgah 'practical joke'. They begin their religion at birth, believing that their first frenzied gorging is the hatchlings showing their respect to the gods. During their "Dark Ages", the Ilwrath worshipped many gods from Awk of the Seds (a reference to the Unix tools AWK and sed) to Zith of the Pelt.[original research?] After a priestly body was formed, the priests announced that only Dogar and Kazon were the true gods and should be worshipped. All heretics were to be eaten, and all possessions were delivered to holy sites or priestly dwellings. The priests controlled the Ilwraths' method of worshipping until the Ilwrath could "Do No Better". In modern times, the Ilwrath believe their gods speak to them through their hyperwave radio.
For eons the Ilwrath lived a subsistence existence ("appendage to mandible"). Thousands of years before the game initial timeline, the Ilwrath started worshipping Dogar and Kazon. They advanced their technology to create more sophisticated tools for murder. Then, c. 2126, the Ur-Quan improved their starships and weapons and they joined their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. During the war, the Ilwrath attacked the Humans, and probably also ate them. When Earth fell to the Ur-Quan, their gods made clear their desire for death by the billions. The Ilwrath transported thousands of portable altars and millions of blood gowns and fillet knives to Earth, but were disappointed when the Ur-Quan commanded that the humans be left alive. After the Alliance of Free Stars fell, they used native animals for their religious ceremonies, until all the lifeforms on their planet were extinct. In c. 2147, the Ilwrath believed that they received guidance to attack the Pkunk, and use them for their ceremonies. Sometime within the 5-year timespan of Star Control 2 from 2155 to 2159 or 2160, depending on events, the player has the opportunity to use a hyperwave caster to impersonate Dogar and Kazon. If the player orders them to stop attacking the Pkunk and seek other prey, the Ilwrath attack the Thraddash.