The Bugs are an extraterrestrial race in the novel Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, its film adaptation (and its first and second sequels and spin-off television series), sometimes also referred to as the Arachnids, although this is a misnomer, as the aliens are not related to Earth arachnids. The Bugs in the film differ considerably from those in the novel, which calls the Bugs Pseudo-Arachnids. Meanwhile, Mongoose Publishing's Starship Troopers: The Miniatures Game refers to them as the Arachnid Empire. In the third film in the franchise, the bugs are referred to as "Archie," similar to nicknames given to Germans ("Jerry") and the Viet Cong ("Charlie") in their respective wars. The novel's Bugs are highly susceptible to radiation and chemical attacks, and the Mobile Infantry frequently seals their escape holes.

It is established, in the novel, that the Bugs have spacecraft, beam weapons and advanced technology, far from the mindless, savage insects of the movies. We don't know if their technology is mechanic or organic, like the plasma bug in the movie (living artillery) and the transport bug in the series (bioship). Bug society is based on a caste system in which they can coexist prosperously. This is shown in both the films and the books. This is supported when they don't have emotions, and they never retreat unless they know they can't win. The book also describes them as looking like "a madman's conception of a giant, intelligent spider." Interestingly, the book also reveals that the Bugs "see by infrared:" though pitch dark to human eyes, the underground corridors of a Bug colony are well lit when viewed by the infrared "snoopers" used by the Mobile Infantry.

Castes of bugs

Queen – The Queen of a Bug colony is the progenitor of an Arachnid colony, whose sole function is the production of its members. No Queen has ever been seen by any members of the Terran Federation; though it is thought that they cannot move of their own accord. On an unfinished Arachnid advance base of Planet P in Operation Royalty, the Federation's drive to capture the Royalty-class Bugs have resulted in no live Queens captured - all of them chose suicide rather than imprisonment.

Brain Bug – Leader of a Bug colony. It is hinted at in the novel that the Brain Bug is telepathic and it is stated that the "brain" shares a symbiotic relationship with the Bug Colony and that If it dies, the colony dies. The "brains" are easily held by humans in their power suits. These variation of the Bug strains are a leadership caste amongst the Arachnid forces that served as a vital role as a hive brain for their colonies. They were highly intelligent and commanded entire Bug colonies and directed their forces against enemy threats. In contrast to the Warrior Bug, the Brain Bug was physically almost completely defenseless apart from a high pitched screaming noise capable of bursting blood vessels in human heads at a short distance. They resemble large fleshy slug like creatures who were so fat that they were incapable of traveling completely by themselves and instead were carried by a swarm of Chariot bugs. They had multiple eyes on their head and a fleshy mouth.

'Warrior' these are said to be as intelligent as a human and use deadly directed-energy weapons, such as beam- or plasma-based weapons. However, they wear no armor and rely solely on wave tactics to overwhelm their enemies, serving as little more than cannon fodder. They apparently fight purely on instinct, and are biologically incapable of surrendering or retreating. However, they are smart enough to know when the enemy has surrendered and take them prisoners. It should also be noted that they are likely neither insects or real arachnids genetically, described only by Juan Rico as "a madman's depiction of a spider". They are also not described as being nearly as savage as their movie counterparts.

Worker – Worker Bugs do the manual labor for the Arachnid Colonies, digging and up keeping the tunnels. They are semi-defenseless and will usually flee at the first sign of danger unless they have no way out. Physically they are similar to Warriors (which caused great confusion for Mobile Infantry at the start of the war where they did not know how to distinguish the two) but possess a non-aggressive mentality. During the Invasion of Planet P a large mass of Workers were used as decoys for the Mobile Infantry whilst Warriors prepared a greater trap; the Workers used in this did not fight, even when they were attacked by Troopers.

Tanker- As a large Arachnid used against Mobile Infantry the Tanker Bugs resemble a giant beetle and play the role of tanks/armor of the Arachnid forces. The Tanker Bugs are generally black in color and are nearly as large as Plasma Bugs. It has evolved the ability to spray a stream of flammable, corrosive liquid from its head most likely so it can clear as much enemy soldiers as it can in one blow to make up for its slow speed. In the movie, the Tanker ejected fuel from a nozzle-like spout in the top of the head. With each Arachnid serving a specific military role, the Tanker Bug functions as a form of armor support. Their thick exo-skeleton provides them with excellent, though not immunity protection from rifle rounds, allowing them to take quite a beating before being killed. They are however highly vulnerable to explosives, such as grenades thrown by the human trooper

Plasma- A plasma bug is a breed of the Arachnid species. With each bug specially engineered for a specific role in combat, plasma bugs serve as planetary defense, anti-aircraft and artillery units. They have an enormous abdomen which swells up and can launch a plasma burst into orbit. The burst is powerful enough to deflect an asteroid or slice a ship in two. It is believed that they serve as launching units for spore capsules.

Hopper- Acting as air support, they are about the size of Warrior Bugs and resemble mosquitoes with razor wings. They can bring down a light aircraft by grappling onto it, but their primary mode of attack is to simply ram their targets at high speed. Impervious to light weapons, they are vulnerable to explosive shells and "lizard lines". Hoppers are attracted to laser emissions like mosquitoes to a bug zapper.

Blaster- Blaster Bugs are slightly larger than a Warrior bug. Blasters are similar in shape and colour to the closely related species of Blister Bugs, with the anterior section of both species ending in a huge gaping maw. The Blaster Bug absorbs heat from the surrounding environment to ignite an exothermic biochemical reaction in its prothorax, resulting in a flame-throwing capability, burning through power suits or melting sand into a glass-like substance. 

Transport-This breed of Bug is capable of space flight and travel through the cold vacuum of space with ease and serves as a type of interstellar transport for the Arachnid hordes. They were massive and second only to the large Ice Bug in size with them appearing as an elongated creature with a hardened carapace protecting their body not only from the hostility of space but from weaponry as well. Their heads are protected by foldable armor which opened up to reveal the creatures face. By its abdomen were numerous orifices where thrust was generated which allowed the Bug to fly both in an atmosphere and in space. Whilst on a planet, the creature also had four wings that extended from its body which provided it with lift to rise from the ground and into the air and eventually into space. Once there, the wings retracted back into the body where they were safe from harm. By the sides of the beast were numerous folds of its skins that served as entry ways that allowed access into deeper parts of the body. The creatures large size meant it was capable of carrying countless number of Bugs inside its own body and was often used to deliver eggs throughout the Arachnid colonies. On some occasions, there are noted to be Warrior Bugs inside the body to protect it from intruders. A vital element in its ability for interstellar travel is the use of water and the creature stocked up on this supply from planets that contained that element. It typically descended under the water where it travelled for some time and used kidney type organic sacks inside its body to store the water for later use.

Cruiser- Nearly ten times the size of regular Transport Bugs, Cruisers are used to carry the Queen and a small army, including several Transport Bugs and a full battery of Plasma Bugs, across star systems. There are many Cruisers used as decoys to avoid detection of important Bugs on board. Cruiser Bugs can cover a distance of some 75 light-years at speeds comparable to human-built starships.  These massive Cruisers play the role of battle ships and escort ships for the Arachnid forces navy/fleet.

Chariot- Chariot Bugs are a low-ranking species of the Arachnids. Eight of them are used to carry a Brain Bug due to its large size. Prior to the Arachnid War, it was believed that the Arkellian Sand Beetle was a separate species and not of the Arachnid race. High Schools often used dead beetles for dissection purposes.


Klendathu is the homeworld of the extraterrestrial race known as the Bugs (or, sometimes, "Arachnids"), in the fictional universe of the Robert A. Heinlein novel Starship Troopers, and in the movie of the same name (and its first and second sequels, and spin-off television series).Immediately following the Bugs' attack on Earth, leveling Buenos Aires, the Terran Federation attacks Klendathu. The attack is codenamed "Operation Bughouse". Heinlein makes clear in the novel that the attack on Klendathu is undertaken despite calls for additional defensive forces on the home world. "B.A. really stirred up the civilians and inspired loud screams to bring all our forces home, from everywhere—orbit them around the planet practically shoulder to shoulder and interdict the space Terra occupies," according to the novel version.[1] In both the novel and the film, the attack on Klendathu is unsuccessful, leading Juan Rico to call it "Operation Madhouse". Casualties are high and the assault needs to be abandoned—after eighteen hours in the novel, and only three in the film.While Klendathu's terrain is never described in the Robert A. Heinlein novel, the movie presents Klendathu (along with every other planet save Earth) as a desert world. In the film, Klendathu is shown as dark blue with two moons around it, with no structures visible (perhaps to add to the portrayal of the Bugs as mindless brain-eaters). The location chosen for Klendathu was Hell's Half Acre in central Wyoming. In the book, Heinlein depicts the important structures on Klendathu as subterranean, describes the tunnel interiors as glassy-smooth; and he makes it clear that there is a capital city somewhere under the surface of the planet. The Mobile Infantry never come close to securing either the topside or the underground tunnels of the planet. After the assault on Planet P in the novel, the final chapter recounts the drop room scene as Johnny Rico, having become a lieutenant, prepares his "Roughnecks" for the climactic assault on Klendathu. As Heinlein describes the scene: "Each year we gain a little. You have to keep a sense of proportion.... 'This time...we take it away from them'."[1]The "Netnews" reporter's quote from the film sums it up:

It's an ugly planet; a Bug planet. A planet hostile to life as we know it.

This statement is immediately supported after the reporter says it, due to a Bug attacking him and slicing him in two, all the while being filmed by the cameraman.


The "Skinnies" during the Arachnid War are a tall, aptly skinny humanoid species initially allied to the Bugs. The Skinny race was first discovered on Tophet when the MI encountered a Skinny city on a recon mission. At first it was believed that the Skinnies could become a new ally in the war against the Arachnids. However it soon became very apparent that the Skinnies were allied with the Arachnids. MI launched a campaign on Tophet against the Arachnid-Skinnie forces. After several raids on Skinny cities, the Skinny government begins to feed information to the Terran Federation on the Arachnids, which the Federation uses to its advantage in offensive operations.  After betraying the Arachnids many of the Skinnies decided to join the war against the Arachnids. However, they did not possess many spacecraft and so joined The Terran Federation's military instead. Many Skinnies were then fighting alongside humans in the Infantry. Tophet is the home world of the Skinnies.