Similar to the Fungi from Yuggoth the Insects from Shaggai are not made of the same matter that we are and thus are probably from another universe with slightly different natural laws. In Ramsey Campbell’s tale “The Insects from Shaggai” one of the Insects had direct physical contact with the story’s protagonist and whether this resulted in a symbiotic merging of the two entities or simply an exchange of information and experiences, the history of Insect civilization was revealed. This article initiates this discussion, focusing on their homeworld and mode of nutrition.
Insects from Shaggai from Christian Conkle.
Not surprising it is learned that the Insects original homeworld was the planet Shaggai, located at the edge of the universe orbiting a double emerald-green sun. Based on this description the homeworld of the Insects is more than likely not in our universe. First, if the planet is located at the edge of the universe, then it would be somewhere between the Hubble Deep Field and the Hubble Ultra Deep Field zone of the universe (see below). Additionally, if the Big Bang resulted in the creation of a multiverse where our universe and others bud off each other in an expanding eternal space, the phrase “at the edge of the universe” may actually be a reference to a part of space-time that does not exist in our universe.
Display of the age of the universe, showing the Hubble Deep Field (www.abbeyrstephens.files.wordpress.com)
Second, and more importantly, green stars do not exist in our universe. The color of a star depends on its surface temperature. Cooler stars are red, having a surface temperature less than 3,500 Kelvin, while hotter stars are blue, having temperatures greater than 12,000 Kelvin. Our Sun generates white light at surface temperatures of 6,800 Kelvin. Stars give off radiation from the entire electromagnetic spectrum, including light (between infrared and ultraviolet). The hottest stars peak in the blue part of the spectrum, while the coolest stars peak in the red. An average or “typical” star, like our Sun, emits light from throughout the entire color spectrum, including green. However, when all of the light wavelengths mix they result in white light. To get a green star, the majority of its light would have to be emitting in the green portion of the light spectrum; however, stars don’t function like this in our space-time. Light from hotter stars are dominated by blue and light from cooler stars are dominated by red (www.universetoday.com). Thus, there is no way for the light wavelength to remain stable, in the middle portion of the light spectrum and so no green stars exist in our space-time. However, if the physical laws are different in another universe, maybe green stars can exist. Given this information, Shaggai existing at the edge of the universe must mean they exist in another universe.
Another variation on the physical laws of our universe can be found in describing their mode of obtaining nutrition. Chlorophyll pigments in Terran plants are used to absorb light waves as a source of energy in the process of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll a tends to absorb mostly red light while chlorophyll b tends to absorb a lot of blue and some red; the net result is most plants absorb little to no green light, which is reflected back and is why most plants are green in color. While more recent studies indicate that green light may be important in contributing toward the efficiency of photosynthesis and in the biochemical development of plant tissues, green light is still the least efficiently used portion of the light spectrum (between 300 and 800 nm in the EM spectrum) as per the relative quantum efficiency curve (see below).
The light portion of the EM spectrum, showing the low level of quantum energy in the green part of the spectrum (www.msue.anr.mus.edu).
Getting back to the Insects from Shaggai, it was stated that on their homeworld, “None needed to eat – they lived by photo-synthesis of the green rays of the double star…” If the Insects from Shaggai evolved on a world that orbited a double green star system then it would make sense that they were adapted to utilize this portion of the EM spectrum as a source of energy. Maybe the pigment or molecule the Insects use is similar to bacteriorhodopsin, which is a protein that Halobacteria (a group of extremely primitive bacteria that require high salt concentrations to exist) use to move protons across the cell membrane and out of the cell. When this membrane protein absorbs a photon, there is a conformation change of this macromolecule that results in the pumping of the proton across the cell membrane. Interestingly, the bacteriorhodopsin molecule is purple and is most efficient at absorbing green light. Thus, while nothing is known about the physiology of the Insects of Shaggai except that they are made of different matter than us, it may be possible that they use similar photo-sensitive proteins to collect and use the green light from their twin suns for photosynthesis.
In contrast to chlorophyll a and b, bacteriorhodopsin has its highest level of absorption efficiency in the green portion of the light spectrum (www.hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu).
Next time we will discuss how the inter-dimensional and interstellar travels of the Insects of Shaggai eventually lead them to establishing a small colony on Earth. Thank you – Fred.
Insect from Shaggai by Zero Mostel (www.deviantart.com).