Khepri males and females develop quite differently. The female khepri have scarab beetle-heads and bodies similar to those of human women, along with human-level intelligence. In contrast, the males are two-foot-long non-sapient scarab beetles that mate by latching onto a female's head scarab and fertilizing her. Because of this disparity in intelligence, the khepri have a matriarchal society.
Owing to their scarab heads, khepri are unable to speak and instead communicate with each other through pheromones that are emitted from their heads. When communicating with non-khepri, khepri use sign language or write messages down on paper.
The khepri were forced to depart their homeland, Bered Kai Nev, due to a mysterious event known as The Ravening. Over the course of a century, a period of time referred to by the khepri as the Tragic Crossing, many thousands of khepri fled to Rohagi in Mercy Ships. During this period of time, the khepri matriarchs deliberately forgot hundreds of thousands of years of khepri history - resultantly, in the modern day many of their religion and traditions are only half-remembered. The surviving cultural elements of the khepri include a trio of protective deities, the Tough Sisters, as well as metaclockwork technology such as stingboxes.
In the modern day, many female khepri are noted artists, using a biological excretion to sculpt breathtaking works of organic art. 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, most khepri dwell in the ghettos of Kinken and Creekside, many in buildings constructed or remodeled using the spit of large home-grubs. In Armada, khepri have their own riding, Booktown, where they oversee Armada's largest library, the Grand Gears Library, inherited from the riding's previous rulers. Ironically, due to their compound eyes, the khepri rarely read books.
In rebellion against the old khepri Gods, many new gods, called "strange gods", were adopted by the immediate ancestors of those who survived the Ravening, while the old gods were forgotten.
Appearing in Perdido Street Station
- Lin - A skilled artist and deuteragonist of Perdido Street Station. She is the lover of Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin.
- Ma Francine - A rival crime boss to New Crobuzon crime lord Motley.
- Khepri is a (male) scarab-faced ancient Egyptian god, who represents the morning sun and the creation and renewal of life.