The khepri are an insect-like race whose males and females develop quite differently. The males appear to be a species of very large, unintelligent scarabs. The female khepri have heads that resemble the male khepri, but they have developed humanoid bodies, and developed intelligence far beyond the simple minds of the khepri males. Because of this disparity, khepris have a matriarchal society.
Mute, khepri communicate with each other through smell, giving off a chemical spray from the back of their heads that they can smell and understand. Khepri may use sign language when they need to communicate with non-khepri.
Khepri heads feature both an inner jaw and an outer jaw. The outer jaw can hold food in place while eating with the inner jaw.
Khepri-spit can form quick-setting resin used to make sculptures, dyed different colors by the artist's choice of edible colorberries; New Crobuzon's Plaza of Statues contains much of this artwork. In New Crobuzon, khepri dwell in the ghettos of Kinken and Creekside, many in buildings constructed from walls containing or formed from living insects, using odd techniques. In Armada, khepri have their own riding, Booktown, where they oversee Armada's library inherited from the riding's previous rulers (having compound eyes, they rarely utilize it themselves).
It is implied that khepri no longer have a homeland, forced to disperse from Bered Kai Nev in Mercy Ships due to a mysterious event known as The Ravening. Much of their religion and traditions are only half-remembered, but surviving cultural traits include the guard-sisters, stingboxes, and metaclockwork in general.