The Racnoss were an ancient race from the Dark Times of N-Space. Following their near-extinction during the Racnoss Wars, a Racnoss Empress re-emerged after billions of years of hibernation at the edge of the universe in 2007, to reawaken a Racnoss ship that had formed the centre of Earth.
The Racnoss resembled large half-humanoid, half-arachnid beings, with blood-red skin and a crested skull. They had three pairs of eyes – one pair in the place where humans have theirs, and the remaining ones on the forehead. They had ten razor-tipped limbs, two of which were arms that strongly resembled blades; (TV: The Runaway Bride) these were powerful enough to destroy the Cybermen of the Ninth Cyber Legion. (PROSE: Ghost in the Machine) The Racnoss also had spinnerets at the base of their abdomen, allowing them to produce miles of webbing strong enough to restrain humans and form spacecraft. (TV: The Runaway Bride) The Racnoss closely resembled the Queen of the Skithra. (TV: Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror)
The Empress of the Racnoss apparently was the one who had the duty of laying eggs, which hatched into other Racnoss, meaning that the entire Racnoss race were the children of the Empress. The Racnoss were born with a ravenous hunger, and so invaded other planets to feed off all life on them. (TV: The Runaway Bride)
Most of Racnoss technology was made of a fine, silk-like webbing, strengthened and powered by Huon energy, including their spacecraft, amongst other things. Aside from this, the Racnoss mastered the ability to teleport, which completely negated the need for them to land their ships when they visited other planets.
The Webstar had energy weaponry which was used to kill for meat. It also had scanning equipment which the Empress of the Racnoss used to watch a planet, and a teleporter to allow her to travel to and from the planet. (TV: The Runaway Bride)
When the Kotturuh stood in judgement over the Racnoss, they judged them not to be a "particularly useful" species and thus cursed them with mortality. (PROSE: The Guide to the Dark Times) They were nearly wiped out by the Fledgling Empires (TV: The Runaway Bride) in the Racnoss Wars (AUDIO: Empire of the Racnoss) over 4.6 billion years BC. Gallifreyans also had a hand in this. Another source posited that the Racnoss ate each other to near extinction, at least according to the Matrix. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen)
Nearly all of the survivors of the race escaped in their spacecraft, around which the planet Earth would later form. An Empress of the Racnoss stayed in her Webstar, but also went into hibernation at the edge of the universe until she decided to search for her young.
Around 2007, the Torchwood Institute began a drilling attempt to the centre of the Earth. This awoke the Secret Heart, which in turn signalled the Empress of the Racnoss. She came to Earth and used Huon particles manufactured from the River Thames to feed Donna Noble with the right catalysis of particles to awaken her young. The Doctor killed the Racnoss young by flooding the tunnel to the centre of the Earth with water from the Thames while the Empress teleported back to the Webstar plotting revenge. However, she had used up all of her power to attack London and revive her children and was left defenceless to a tank attack ordered by Harold Saxon which destroyed the ship and killed her, rendering the Racnoss extinct. (TV: The Runaway Bride)
At an unknown point, an unknown number of Racnoss inhabited the planet Hȳf. When the Ninth Cyber-Legion invaded, the Racnoss fought the Cybermen in a brutal battle; the Racnoss destroyed many Cybermen, but suffered far greater casualties. (PROSE: Ghost in the Machine)
In a parallel universe created by a fortune teller of the Trickster's Brigade manipulating Donna Noble's past, Donna had not been present to help the Tenth Doctor defeat the Empress of the Racnoss on Earth in 2007. The Doctor flooded the tunnel to the centre of the Earth to defeat the Racnoss, but at the expense of his own life. The tank attack still destroyed the Webstar. Due to the Doctor's death, however, he was not present for the following catastrophes in the next few years that he prevented in N-Space. With the help of Rose Tyler and UNIT, Donna was able to travel back in time and negate this universe. (TV: Turn Left)
Jack Harkness, recalling something that the Doctor told him, speculated that an interaction with the Racnoss hibernation field's huon particles may have resulted in the Blessing, but was forced to admit he had no idea. (TV: The Blood Line)
Behind the scenes
- Before the Series 12 episode Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror aired, some believed that the Racnoss would return, given the uncanny resemblance between the Empress of the Racnoss and the Queen of the Skithra.