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Every [[Worlds#Habitable worlds|habitable planet]] has the potential of developing different kinds of intelligent beings that may, naturally or [[Pre-FTL species|not]], develop technologically. Sometimes, such beings reach a crucial point in their development that allows them access to [[FTL]] technology and, as a consequence, the ability of becoming full–fledged to become full-fledged interstellar empires.
A species may or may not equate with an [[empire]]. At first every empire will be made up entirely of its original species but eventually , it may include other species through conquest, migration pacts or accepting refugees.
'''Note:''' A higher resolution image is available by clicking on the portraits.
A parent species is the first spawned species of its kind (a ''kind'' is defined by its [[Species#List of species groups|portrait]]). All further species with the same portrait, but with differing name/traits is considered a sub-species of it within the game. A new sub-species created by an existing sub-species will simply appear as another sub-species alongside it within the parent species.
Species within the same phenotype group will be friendlier towards each other with the effect increasing if they are sub-species within the same species family. This , in turn , can affect other relation modifiers.
== List of species groups ==
A number of species are pre-defined, including the Humans of the Sol system. There are, at the moment, 8 different '''species''' groups that each race can belong to: Arthropoid (insect-like), Avian (bird-like), Fungoid (fungus-like), Humanoid, Mammalian, Molluscoid (invertebrates), Reptilian, and Plantoid (part of the [[Downloadable content#Additional packs|Plantoids Species Pack]] DLC).
Each species have [[traits]] and [[ethics]] that can be selected, as well as homeworld preference. Traits and ethics are independent of the species or portrait selected, though players can , of course , use the portrait art as inspiration for their choices, adding to role-playing.
The first ruler of every empire can be customized. For non-humanoid species customization is limited to colors and possibly clothes, while some humanoid species feature hairstyle customization too. Humanoids are the only species group to feature differences in gender appearance and humans are the only species with multiple phenotypes (races). Humans, though Mammalian, appear in a separate phenotype (Humanoids).<ref>The Human portrait was originally part of the Mammalian phenotype prior to the introduction of the Humanoid phenotype in the [[Patch 1.3|Heinlein patch]].</ref>

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