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The Hanar are a species resembling Earth's jellyfish and are one of the few non-bipedal Citadel races. Hanar are known for their intense politeness when speaking, and their strong religious beliefs regarding the Protheans, whom they refer to as "the Enkindlers".
The hanar "stand" slightly taller than a Human, although most of their height is in their long tentacles which have three fingers at the base. The invertebrate, water-native hanar cannot support their own weight in normal gravity. When interacting with mainstream galactic society, they rely on contra-gravitic levitation packs that use mass effect fields. Their limbs can grip tightly, but are not strong enough to lift more than a few hundred grams each. Hanar also possess the ability to secrete natural toxins.
It is not known if hanar have more than one gender, or are asexual (as some jellyfish species are). Despite evolving in water, hanar also appear able to breathe air, or use technological means to enable this.
The Hanar homeworld, Kahje, has 90% ocean cover and orbits an energetic white star, resulting in a permanent blanket of clouds. Due to the presence of prothean ruins on Kahje, the hanar have developed a religion centered on the ancient species, calling them the "Enkindlers". Hanar myths often speak of them as an elder race that uplifted and civilized them by teaching them language.
Several hundred years ago, the hanar made contact with the drell on their nearby homeworld of Rakhana. Drell society was quickly collapsing due to overpopulation and warring over scarce resources, so the hanar rescued several hundred thousand drell and brought them to Kahje, where they integrated into hanar society with the remaining drell dying out. Now the drell serve as a client race of the hanar, and although to outside observers the relationship can be construed as a form of slavery, the reality is very different. Drell have integrated with every level of hanar society, and most consider it an honor to serve a hanar family in a tradition referred to as the Compact. Many drell become unofficial members of the family, and some even earn the privilege to learn their masters' "soul names".
The hanar communicate using sophisticated patterns of bioluminescence—which other species need machine assistance to translate (though many drell apply genetic modification to their eyes in order to perceive higher frequency flashes which allows them to understand the hanar)—and speak with scrupulous precision and extreme politeness. Most hanar take offense at improper language, and must take special courses to unlearn this tendency if they expect to deal with other species.
The hanar have two names, a "face name" and a "soul name." The face name is used as a general label for use by strangers and acquaintances. The soul name is kept for use among close friends and relations, and tends to be poetic. For example, a hanar known for its cynicism may take a name that means "Illuminates the Folly of the Dancers." That said, hanar are extremely polite, almost to a fault. They never refer to themselves in the first person with someone they know on a face name basis: to do so is considered egotistical. Instead they refer to themselves as "this one," or the impersonal "it." It is only around those who know their soul name that they would ever consider using the first person. Even when flustered or angry, a hanar will still maintain exquisite poise, and will remain formal even with those it wishes dead.
Drell servants usually carry out hanar assassinations, as the hanar are too cumbersome out of the water to participate in a physical fight—though Zaeed Massani mentions that he was once nearly strangled by one. The drell assassin Thane also maintains that the hanar have a strong grip and possess strong natural poison.
The hanar practice a religious holiday called Nyahir or "First Cresting Blo".