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"Be careful. They're very poisonous."
Jango Fett[src]

Kouhuns were vermiform arthropods with segmented bodies, roughly thirty centimeters long, from the jungle world of Indoumodo. Small, silent, and fast, kouhuns were capable of delivering a fatal and quick-acting neurotoxin through their bite, as well as a nonfatal but nonetheless painful sting from their tails. Kouhuns were white in color, though they also existed in reddish-brown and black varieties.

Kouhuns could survive in almost any environment except extreme cold. On their homeworld, they nested in hollow trees and hunted creatures the size of dogs. Though omnivorous, kouhuns were predatory, detecting their prey by its body heat and then attacking it, often choosing between prey simply on the basis of which victim was closest. They were aggressive creatures, but could be scared away by attackers, though they turned to fight when cornered.

Because of their many advantages for covert killings, kouhuns were a favored weapon of assassins. They would be starved so that they would attack immediately upon being released, then infiltrated into a victim's home via a droid, package, or even by slipping through tight spaces such as open windows or ducts. Kouhun nests, spawned by kouhuns who had escaped from assassins, could be found on a number of worlds from the Outer Rim Territories to the Core, including Coruscant.

Biology and appearance[edit | edit source]

"The kouhun teaches us that senseless savagery is the province of animals, not men."
―Veradun's father[src]

A kouhun.

Kouhuns were pale, centipedelike arthropods[2] approximately thirty centimeters in length. Silent[1] and fast,[2] kouhuns could administer via a bite from their mouth pincers a nerve toxin both fast-acting and fatal to almost all mammalian species,[1] and which in most intelligent species created symptoms resembling a heart attack or another natural manner of death.[2] Their second means of administering poison was a tail stinger, which injected a painful but nonlethal dose;[1] once this was administered, incapacitating the prey, the kouhun could go to work on its victim with its mandibles.[4] To consume their prey, kouhuns released their saliva,[5] which contained a chemical that broke down the prey's flesh into a digestible liquid. If multiple kouhuns set upon a victim, they would leave nothing behind but bones and a stain.[4] Kouhuns would even attack prey if they were not hungry, acting on their killing instincts.[6]

The body of the kouhun was segmented, each segment containing a pair of legs, with which they were capable of scaling sheer surfaces.[3] The carapace of the kouhun was often naturally white, though they could be fed dyes to change their color;[2] some kouhuns, however, were naturally reddish brown or glossy black. The head of the kouhun had a stinging tongue, measuring from four to ten centimeters in length,[3] as well as the creature's mandibles and its black eyes.[6] Kouhuns came in two varieties, one with a larger segmented body and more pronounced tail stinger than the other.[1]

While they originated on a jungle world,[2] kouhuns could survive in almost any climate except extreme cold. They could even be found deep underground in damp subterranean caverns.[3] Sand worked as an artificial habitat for the creatures; they would remain burrowed and hidden under it until they detected prey.[6]

Behavior and intelligence[edit | edit source]

Two kouhuns climbing onto Senator Padmé Amidala's bed.

Living in the wild in the jungles of Indoumodo, kouhuns lived in large hollow trees, hunting creatures the size of dogs that nested in crevices within the trees. Kouhuns were attracted to warmth, and they used this sense to locate their victims,[2] often targeting simply the nearest warm-blooded creature.[3] Though possessed of a predatory nature, kouhuns were, in fact, omnivorous.[3] While aggressive, they could also be timid on occasion; light made them freeze or attempt to hide, and when attacked they fled or hid. When cornered, however, kouhuns would fight back.[2] Before they attacked, kouhuns were known to rear up and hiss.[7] They had a level of awareness almost akin to Force-sensitivity, with which they could avoid security systems.[4] Kouhuns could also use cover to their advantage to sneak up on their prey.[8] Handling them was dangerous, requiring a container to hold them; if they escaped, they would regard their handler as a threat and attack it.[3] Barely intelligent, kouhuns were classified as vermin.[3]

History[edit | edit source]

In the time of the Great Galactic War, the adoptive father of Darth Malgus kept kouhuns as part of his menagerie. He used them as an illustrative lesson for his son, comparing the controlled nature of man with the mindless killing of the kouhun.[6]

In 22 BBY, the bounty hunter Zam Wesell was given two kouhuns by her colleague Jango Fett to assassinate Senator Padmé Amidala, on Coruscant. Wesell sent them to Amidala's apartment in an ASN courier droid, which bypassed Amidala's window security, cut a hole into the window, and released the creatures inside. Dropping below the security scanners covering the floor, the kouhuns made their way up Amidala's bed. When the senator's droid security, R2-D2, detected something and turned on its lights, scanning the room, the kouhuns froze. Once the droid went dark, they crawled up to where the senator slept. Before they could kill her, however, Amidala's Jedi guard Anakin Skywalker sensed the danger, ran into the room, and sliced them apart with his lightsaber.[9]

Thook Lafrell, lieutenant to the slaver Gomalo, used kouhuns in the city of Tolea Biqua on Genarius[8] in around 20 BBY.[10] After abducting Ezra Du'Re, an agent of the Cularin Office of Public Safety, from a warehouse in the city, Lafrell left behind a number of kouhuns to attack anyone who investigated the scene of the crime. To provide the creatures cover from which to attack, Lafrell left assorted debris scattered across the floor.[8]

Kouhuns in the galaxy[edit | edit source]

Zam Wesell receives a pair of kouhuns.

Kouhuns were native to the jungle planet Indoumodo,[2] in Wild Space.[1] Some offworld specimens were found in zoos or poison research facilities, but the vast majority of kouhuns off Indoumodo were in the possession of assassins. Poor and run-down districts of urban worlds, including Coruscant, were sometimes home to breeding colonies of kouhuns, which traced their origins back to escapees from assassins' cages.[2] They were found in large numbers on the Outer Rim worlds of Geonosis, Tatooine, and Gamorr, as well as Core Worlds such as Corellia.[3]

Assassins found kouhuns useful for their small size, swift motion, and deadly poison.[2] A kouhun could be easily passed through security—[1]carried on one's person, transported by droid, mailed in a package to the target—[2]and was nearly untraceable back to the assassin.[1] They could enter a dwelling through small apertures, such as ducts or windows, whereupon they would home in on a victim's body heat and kill it with their poison.[2] Assassins often starved their kouhuns beforehand to spur them to attack the victims.[1] They sometimes dyed a kouhun the dominant color of the environment that it was intended to infiltrate.[2] Criminals also sometimes used kouhuns as traps, leaving them where their enemies would be expected to tread and scattering debris across the floor to give the creatures cover to strike from.[8] A synthetic neurotoxin known as kouhunin was developed based on the venom of the kouhun.[11]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

A near-final kouhun concept.

Kouhuns, known during production as "assassin bugs,"[12] were created by George Lucas for Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. His instructions to the design team were to create a centipedelike creature that could inject poison into its victims.[13] However, the designs underwent a number of variants, some more spider-like, a number exploring the idea of transparent skin that could show poison coursing underneath. One, with a larger tail stinger, was almost used as a final design and was used in Hasbro's action figure scale rendition of the kouhuns.[14] This was later canonized as a separate variation of kouhun in The New Essential Guide to Alien Species.

For their realization in Attack of the Clones, the kouhuns were computer-generated. To animate them, a technique called "procedural animation" was used, in which the creature's body was first animated to move down a path, then all the legs were animated separately so they would make contact with the ground in a realistic fashion.[12] The sounds of the kouhuns were created by foley artists Dennie Thorpe and Jana Vance by squishing the inside of a grapefruit, while the leg sounds were created by running a stick up and down a ridged metal surface.[15]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

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