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Koshmars are a class of animal-like creatures that are native to the planet Venus. These creatures are noted for their physical similarities to Earth arthropods and their large size compared to on Earth. All species included in the class are native to the Aphrodite continent and several outlying islands. The name koshmar comes from the Russian word for "nightmare" (a early term used by the early settlers to describe the these creatures).
All koshmars greatly resemble Earth arthropods, in which they have exoskeletons and are divided into body segments. Aside from its "insect appearance," koshmars (as well as other Venusian species) are rather ambiguous when compared to Earth species. The most noted difference is its almost amphibious or reptilian head structure, including a wide, toothless-maw and tongue (which arthropods don't generally have), with two pincers used to help maneuver prey into their mouths. They have two large, black eyes which somewhat resemble insect (especially flies) retinas, with two antennae protruding hear the base of them.
Their bodies somewhat resemble centipedes, in which it's a snake-like body divided into segments and many legs following the body to around the base. The end has two earwig-like pincers. The overall body color varies between species and individuals; ranging from black, brown, reddish-orange, and yellow.
Koshmars are regarded as omnivorous, but are mostly carnivorous (only becoming herbivorous during parts of the Venusian year when food is scares). They generally consume their prey alive and whole (much like some Earth amphibians and reptiles), which generally include prey small enough to fit down its body.
Most koshmar species prefer cooler temperatures, which they generally do by hiding under fallen leaves or other well shaded areas. Because of which, they are partially nocturnal in nature, and become most active during the twilight hours. These techniques also help hide themselves to sneak on prey.
All koshmar species tend to coexist in groups which spread out across an area, but have been observed acting solo for much of their lives. While it is debated on what they are actually used for, all koshmar species make some type of clicking or chirping sound via their vocal cords. It's unknown whether this is to communicate with others in their area or made as a kind of purring (similar to most feline species on Earth).
Existence with humans
Koshmars were first discovered by the first cosmonauts on Venus in the mid 1980s. It's believed they became attracted to humans due to their climate controlled modules and cooked food (almost resembling how early wolves gradually evolved into domesticated dogs). While feared by many of the early settlers (coining the term koshmar), their continued presence among humans and their larger size eventually led to more acceptance among the early cosmonauts. The fact that most koshmar species (in particular the "New Kamchatkan koshmar") were no threat to humans, the species became regarded as a kind of companion.
Today, the koshmar is regarded as the national persona of New Kamchatka (as well as Soviet Venus in general). Since the commonality of interplanetary travel, there are now over 100 koshmars living on Earth (most in venusariums).