Hivers have only one sex. Reproductive cells are exchanged each time two Hivers meet, using the modified rear hand; the process has been termed shaking hands by humans (who tend to avoid it). The cells are kept in a reproductive pouch on the lower body surface, where they conjugate, exchanging genetic material. Once every 40 days or so, a cell will develop into a larva, which then drops from the parent's body.
Larvae are any young which have been dropped by a parent Hiver. They are identified by their small size and the fact that their fingers have not yet developed. Larvae are recognized as potential Hivers, but are not accorded any special care or status.
Survival in The Wilds
Once dropped, larvae naturally gravitate to the wilds where they survive instinctually for about a year; during this time, their immature features develop and they grow in size from an initial 30 centimeters radius to about 60 centimeters radius. Larvae naturally and automatically regenerate lost or severed limbs if the accident happens before one year of age. The period in the wilds is a natural selection process which eliminates nonviable mutations, physically weak specimens, and sickly individuals. The wilds were (and still are) necessary for Hiver larvae during their first year. Hivers take great pride in their individualism and they enjoy their own abilities to achieve objectives. Some of this drive stems from their survival as larvae in the wilderness.
Controlling the Hiver Larvae Population
Natural predators (and, on occasion, other measures) control the growth of Hiver populations by reducing the survival rate of Hiver larvae in the wild. When the adult population grows large, increasing the number of young produced, the predator population increases in proportion, maintaining a balance. If there are no predators available to control Hiver larvae, suitable predators are imported.
Adult Hiver Attitudes Towards Larvae
Hiver larvae are regarded as minor pests, and Hivers have no compunction about eliminating them when the need arises. Hivers are horrified by the idea that their larvae might somehow find its way to a world where there is no nest to receive it. To prevent this, Hiver ships are carefully fumigated to kill any hiding larvae before landing or docking, and extreme measures are undertaken to ensure that no Hiver crewmember deposits larvae where there is no nest. On the other hand, the notion of artificially limiting larvae production is considered barbaric by the Hivers.
Hivers do not know their own young; larvae which survive the wilds are cared for by the nest they wander into.