Silverwood Bugs are wood-eating parasites, who live around feed on trees, forests and other wooden items. They usually are seen in the Thaelon Forest or in the Silvermarshes, and from time to time they also can be seen on Nybelmar, in the forests located at the Maren Zyloth coast.
Silverwood Bugs look like a simple bugs, the only obvious difference between the
Silverwood Bugs and simple bugs is that the body of Silverwood Bugs is silver in
colour. The front wings are made out of bug silver, a mineral which has an
appearance similar to real silver. Because of this some people think that these
bugs are useful parasites for their worth, because the mineral commonly is
mistaken with the real silver. Some use these wings in large amounts to sell
them for a very high price, hence fooling customers by passing them off as real
silver. Of course, customers who have any experience with metals will easily
notice if the offered wings are truly made out of silver or if it is rather
simply the cheap imitation. There also is a small difference between males and
females of these bugs. Males are a bit larger than females, but they also are a
bit paler in colour.
The structure of their body is very simple as would be expected for an insect: they have a head, feelers (or antennae), which grow from their heads and are used to sense their surroundings. They have two black eyes and a thorax also. They additionally have two sharp jaws, which they use in eating. Silverwoods have two sets of wings, the outer set covering and protecting the underwings (which are used to fly). Also, they have an abdomen and eight thin legs. All these parts of their body are silver in colour, except front wings. These bugs are not big, being approximately a nailsbreadth in length and a few grains in width.
These bugs have no special abilities, besides that they can fly. They usually
prefer flying to crawling on the ground. Of course, there are many people who
think that they also produce real silver, but, as was said above, they don't.
Their front wings have a colour resembling real silver, but actually it is a
mineral called "Bug Silver", which can be found only on the front wings of these
bugs and which isn't very valuable, because it is not a hard mineral and has no
known usages profitable.
Territory. These bugs usually are seen in the Thaelon Forest, in regions of the Silvermarshes and, from time to time, they also can be seen on the Nybelmarian continent, somewhere in the forests near the Maren Zyloth coast. These regions are the best climate for these bugs to live, mainly due to vast amount of wood.
Habitat/Behaviour. Silverwood Bugs are active at anytime of the day. They form something like a community with two large groups - one of which works at day and rests at night, and the second works at night and rests at day. The first group, in Styrásh, is called “daín'cár” or “day living”, but the second group is called “cór'cár” (also Styrásh) or“night living”. They have no nests, but they travel in these groups. To prevent the loss of group trails, they mark every stem or plant with a fluid, which has a very unpleasant smell – like a thousand rotten eggs combined with the smell of manure. They leave this fluid every five peds they travel. Because the smell is so strong, they can perceive it with their feelers, because their feelers are very sensitive not only to touch, but also to smell, and when they do so, they land near to this fluid and so they know where they must fly to reach the others. It is very interesting that after approximately five days this fluid becomes a mineral called "Bug Silver", which is already described above. So, this mineral can also be found in places where these bugs live and have travelled.
Most insect species have a queen, but Silverwoods have none. In each group there are two so-called “royal bugs” (male and female), which are the oldest and the most hard working of them all and these two “royal bugs” lead their group from one location to another. Usually, these bugs live approximately from one to four months. The “royal bugs” live twofold this amount (at maximum around eight months).
There is only one time when both groups are awake for one day and one night – during the full moon. During the day preceeding the full moon not much changes in their habits – they fly around, eat wood, lay eggs and so forth, but at the evening, they all fly around and seek the highest point on trees to fly upon them and wait for the moon to show. When the full moon appears in the sky, they all open their front wings and start to swing their hind wings, making a clattering noise. After that in the light of the full moon these bugs start to glow with a bright light (also releasing an unusual dust that gives the air an eerie shine). This Silverwood Bug’s fest of light continues all night until the first glimpse of the sun appears on the horizon. After this fest, all Silverwood Bugs calm down and fall asleep for another day and night to restore their energy.
From the eggs laid in the next morning or night – it depends on the group – hatch new “buglings” or bug babies, which feed upon the leaves of the tree on where all the adult Silverwood Bugs sleep. When adult Silverwood Bugs awake, they take their babies under their front and hind wings, to protect the new generation, and continue their travel by foot, which is usual for them. After several days, the new generation of Silverwood Bugs becomes more independent and continues its travel with the rest of the group by means of flight.
Diet. As it was said above, Silverwood Bugs eat wood as well as wooden articles – even furniture. It is very interesting that they don’t eat the bark of a tree; they just try to reach the wood-pulp by biting the bark with their small, sharp jaws. In terms of wooden items, Silverwood Bugs will eat practically everything, even down to a wooden bed frame.
Mating. These bugs also have a very interesting mating ritual. They usually mate at a wet and cold time, when a male bug flies towards a female bug and starts to crawl around her and mark the ground with their stinking fluid. After that he stands in front of her and touches her feelers with his own. Then the female bug walks back a little bit and feels this specific stench of male’s fluid by her feelers. In this stage a female can do two things – fly away, which shows decline, or come closer to the male by touching his feelers with her own, showing acceptance. If the female declines his offer then she flies away, but the male immediately starts searching for another mating partner. If the female accepts, they both take flight and fly in different ways – up, down, swirling etc. After this flight they land on the ground and seek for some shelter bellow bushes, where the female bug will lay unfertilised eggs and where the male bug will, in the same day, fertilize them.
A single female bug can produce between ten and fifteen eggs. These eggs are carried by the female under her front and hind wings for one day after their fertilization, and she will not fly until the night of the full moon – she walks and usually there is also a male bug with one such female, to protect her against attackers – such as ants or other unfriendly insects. If something attacks them, then the male bug spits, out of his mouth, fluid that most animals try to avoid because of its horrible stench. Although, there is one animal who prefers to eat these bugs and to attack on them from an ambush. The dragonfly lizards. Being quite large in comparison and possessing the ability of flight, Silverwoods generally don't stand a chance and make another addition to small insects and worms that these creatures prefer to eat.
Whereas lizards eat adult Silverwoods there are insects who prefer to eat the eggs - mainly myrmexes. There are many types of myrmexes in Caelereth, but only delver and fire myrmexes tend to eat the eggs of these bugs.
It is often the case that Silverwoods mistake entrances to delver colonies and as such fall prey to the creatures by sheer bad luck. The fire myrmex on the other hand is quite a formidable foe and as such doesn't usually require chance to ensnare and eat these insects, their pure aggression and poison usually does the trick.
Usages. The fluid of these bugs after five days becomes a mineral called "Bug Silver". Since few have knowledge of metals, some keep them at home for financial reasons (believing them to be made of and spitting up actual silver within their homes), though this can be a dangerous move, since Silverwood Bugs kept in homes have a tendency to eat their owner's furniture. This generally shows reckless greed usually leaves with less than you started with.
These bugs are kept in a glass jar with a butter-cloth cover. In this jar are some tree pieces or branches along with some grass. This is made to ensure the welfare of these bugs while they live in the jar, mimicing their natural environment.