AVERAGE SIZE: 4.5 - 5 feet, 15 - 65 lbs (per eel)
AVERAGE LIFESPAN: Unknown
COMMON NAME: Hunters (Mgalekgolo)
AboutThe Lekgolo are a species of sapient eel-like creatures that derive much of their intelligence from bonding together into colonies that create a unique individual with the brainpower far in excess of a single Lekgolo. These pairs come in many forms, but the ones most familiar to humanity and the Covenant are the Mgalegkolo, a large bipedal colony known more commonly as Hunters. The lekgolo were "tamed" by the Covenant in 789 BCE, making them one of the first species to "join" the hegemony, though due to their unique nature never fit well into the hierarchy that was established as more species were absorbed. Following the Human-Covenant War, Lekgolo colonies are still found throught the galaxy in many forms, though little is known about their motivatios collectively.
The Lekgolo are by far the most unique sapient species of the known alien races in the Milky Way galaxy. Unlike all other races where each individual member possesses their own intelligence, full sapience is only realized when the individual Lekgolo eels form into a gestalt that bonds the creatures into a single sapient entity. This new creature is then referred by its own unique name based on which gestalt is formed and the task it is performing. The most common Lekgolo bonded entities are known as Sbaolekgolo, which are colonies used to operate harvesters, the Thanolekgolo, which are colonies the Forerunners tried to use as a weapon against the Flood, and the most common Mgalekgolo, more commonly known as Hunters.
Because of the odd nature of the Lekgolo and the difficulty other species can have in communicating with them, when the Covenant initially discovered the Lekgolo on and in the orbit of their homeworld of Te in 789 BCE, hostilities quickly broke out. While the Covenant originally traveled to the planet because they believed it to be full of Forerunner artifacts, they found that the Lekgolo had instead devoured much of the Forerunner technology, leaving only a ring of debris around the planet. Covenant leadership determined this was a great heresy and declared war on the Lekgolo, deciding it was best to wipe out the species. Fighting the Lekgolo proved very difficult, however, and after suffering many losses to them, the Covenant, with the help of an Arbiter, decided it best to try and tame the Lekgolo rather than exterminate them.
The Lekgolo filled many roles in the Covenant before and during the Human-Covenant War. Aside from being Hunters on the battlefield, individual Lekgolo were also used on High Charity to help study the Forerunner Keyship at the heart of the world, as they would selectively avoid eating Forerunner alloys and could reach areas of the ship inaccessible to the San’Shyuum. The Covenant was even able to use the Lekgolo in artifact excavation operations, using very large colonies to form into Scarabs. Although the Lekgolo proved very useful to the Covenant throughout its existence, their unique nature resulted in them being used mostly as a tool rather than treated as a member of the Covenant proper. This relationship with other species continued after the fall of the Covenant, with Hunter, Scarab, and other Lekgolo colonies pledging allegiance to many different post-war groups, including Jul ‘Mdama’s Covenant and the Banished.