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 Vietnamese ("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.
The Bugs in the film are portrayed as generally mindless insect beings, ruled and organized by an extremely intelligent overmind. However, at the beginning of the film, when Rico and Carmen dissect Arkellian sand beetles, the biology teacher states that the Bugs have millions of years of evolution behind them and are, in the case of survival capability, the perfect species. They have the ability to colonize planets "by hurling their spore into space" and possess a social structure which fits their mental capabilities.
In the novel, it is established that the Bugs have spacecraft, beam weapon and other advanced technology, far from the mindless insects of the movie. 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.
Bug society is based on a caste system in both the films and the books.
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