The Zaav are a sapient alien race possessing both mollusk and arthropod features, and a hive-based philosophy and society. Zaav can reproduce by either parthenogenesis or assimilation of other species. The latter is obtained by injecting the victim with Zaav DNA; which behaves similarly (but not identically) to a virus or an Insoritor: integrating itself into the victim's own DNA and gradually turning them into a Zaav. Religiously, the Zaav believe it is their holy charge to convert as many different creatures as possible into their species and have them work for the Hive.
The Hive is the designation given to the entirety of the Zaav species and the artificial constructions they dwell in; which consist of billions of individual ships of highly variable shape and size. Each portion of the Hive communicates with the others regularly, but there is no central government to dictate their specific activities. Mutual agreement is the norm among this species, eliminating the necessity of a strong political struture
Zaav are altruistic creatures among themselves. They live to serve the Hive and will always put the well being of the community above themselves. Unlike most hive-based creatures; Zaav do not have castes: they are all equally biologically equipped for any given task
When dealing with aliens, the Zaav prefer to act furtively, sending small vessels to new planets and infiltrating among the natives before starting to assimilate them. Only when already involved in armed conflict do they mobilize their major Hive units; which can be as large as a small planet in some cases.
The Zaav originated in the Mustela Galaxy, but were entirely exiled from there by the Arcontians after several centuries of war and persecutions. They have fled in large numbers to other, less well patrolled galaxies within the Viperius System. Following the Centro incident, a number of Viperius species has officially declared war on them, including the Salsenes.
Life took very different paths in the Zaav homeworld than it normally does; with the early emergence of forms that combined the function of protozoan and virus. The fight for survival there was played not in the form of predator vs. prey but rather assimilator vs. assimilated. Eventually, the increased intelligence, chemical defenses and efficient molecular mechanisms of the Zaav allowed them to emerge victorious; driving to "extinction" all other complex animal species. Today, the fight for assimilation continues with technology allowing for the production and enhancements of better chemical to handle all sorts of alien biology. Artificial genetic enhancement has made their molecules more adaptable and apt to handle an alien biochemistry quite well; although species that are too biologically different from them are still impossible to assimilate. The Zaav will usually attempt to eradicate such species instead.