My job on our trip was to study their biology and ecology. Working with the draen biologists was a pleasure, and even though we thinked very differently, and our common language was somewhat limited, we managed to spark a lot of good conversations.
The drae have a segmented elastic exoskeleton, colored orange to match the coloration of the Ani to a degree. On its surface are the vein-shaped color-changing patterns used for communication. The exoskeleton is composed of several parts, or "rings", attached to eachother with connective tissue. The rings overlap with eachother to protect the connective tissue. This structure allows for bending much more than earth exoskeletons, with the price of protection. The exoskeleton is living tissue capable of repairing damage inflicted upon itself, though it stops growing in size after forming in the larvae stage. The gills of the drae protrude from the gaps between the rings.
The drae have eight limbs, two blades and six feet. each of the feet have six toes, pointing sideways. The blades are spiky claws meant for fighting and grabbing the prey. The spikes in the blades are slightly harpoon-like to better hold on. They are also used to fight for territory and mating rights.
The tail of the drae has six spikes in its tip. They are used to inject the toxin to the body of the prey. They have also an important role in reproduction.
The head of the drae houses the front brain, responsible for recognition of visual signals. They are much more intense than those humans have. The head has barely any neck, and doesn't bend. The mouth is two teeth with acid canals and food canals.
Each drae has six eyes, each on a stalk. They see much better than human eyes, in every direction. Their visual frequency range extends from ultraviolet to infrared, divided into five basic colors in contrast to the three humans have.
In between the rings of the exoskeleton, there are the gills, allowing the drae to breathe both above and underwater. They are extremely efficient for being gills, but are inferior to human lungs. The gills will automatically close upon noticing toxic gases.
The gills also facilitate hearing with sensitive membranes.
Located in the exoskeleton of the head, there are electrosensitive spots, which allow the drae to sense and project electric fields. This sense has most of its utility underwater, where the electric fields spread further, and where sight is less of use.
The veins of the drae are an active pumping system, meaning they don't have a heart. They are almost fractal-like in their patterns, and extend to everywhere in the body, except for the very top layer of exoskeleton. The blood is violet upon oxidisation, as it contans hemerythin. This makes it from 1/4 to 2/3 as efficient as human blood. The blood pumping rate is hence notably faster. The hemerythin is mostly responsible for the rapid healing of the drae.
The drae have two organs understandable as brains by humans; the front brain and the back brain.
The Front Brain
The front brain is wholly devoted for analysis of visual data, and is located in the head, making up most of the volume of the head, all other coming from the foodpipe. It also handles reflexive actions, and often seems to take over in fast-paced situations. It is reported to feel very disorientating.
The Back Brain
Located deep in the torso of the drae, the back brain is much more sophisticated and logical than its front counterpart. It is roughly equivalent to a human brain in ability.
Starting from the neck, this structure pumps the liquid food around the body to make as much of it go to the blood stream as possible. It spirals around other internal organs, and is often the first one to be damaged after the exoskeleton has been pierced. The waste generated by this process is pumped out through the skin along with the excess water.
The liver is located behind the back brain, and is tasked with cleaning the blood. It functions very differently, but does the same job. It also does the function of earth kidneys.
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