The acklay is a tall, six-legged, three-eyed predatory mantid native to the planet Vendaxa.
Acklays has a head full of sharp teeth for devouring prey, and the body of a clawed crustacean. They also possess a long neck-frill that serves to protect its vulnerable neck and as a display of aggression. Additionally, their lack of developed body armor is compensated for by their long-clawed limbs, which allow them to strike safely from a distance. However their exoskeleton is strong enough to be used by some cultures as chitinous personal body armor. Although not high tech in relation to more modern protection, it usually found itself in use as a trophy item. Acklays are amphibious, hunting both in Vendaxa's plains and oceans.
On their native planet of Vendaxa, the weak-eyed diurnal acklays hunt nocturnal creatures such as the leathery, drowsy lemnai, using an organ known as a silphum dangling beneath their chin to sense a body's electrical current. They would then spear the prey with sharp forward claws which are actually hypertrophied fingertips sheathed in hardened skin and incapable of feeling pain. They are thought to be related to lyleks of Ryloth.
Acklays were brought to Geonosis in trade for droids and other machinery. The Geonosians took to breeding them, and they soon found their way into the ecosystem of the barren planet, quickly carving a niche for themselves in the planet's harsh ecology, even bringing about the destruction of whole hives via their sneaking in through the lower tunnels and feasting on worker drones. The acklay also became the dominant predator of the stagnant Ebon Sea area. Due to chemical contamination in the water, a population of amphibious mutant acklays lived there as well.
Acklays were accidentally exported to the world of Felucia, where they flourished and were used for transportation. At least one acklay was also believed to be present in the rumored Geonosian Bio-Lab on Yavin 4. There were also at least six acklays in Borvo's Vault, enough to make a set of acklay armor.
One of these monsters was kept at the Petranaki arena and used in gladiator matches. Prior to the onset of the Clone Wars, the acklay was unleashed upon Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala after they had been convicted of espionage and sentenced for execution. The acklay attempted to kill Kenobi, though the Jedi eventually bested it by hacking away its front claws with his lightsaber, cutting its head-crest, and stabbing it in the back, putting the hapless beast out of its misery.
During the Clone Wars, some armies of the CIS trained acklays for use in battle, but the creatures had a considerable shortcoming in that they had to close to within a very short distance to attack and could therefore be easily defeated by combat troops using ranged weapons. However, wild acklays caused a serious setback for the 501st Legion at the Battle of Felucia.
Cade Skywalker and his companions encountered an acklay on Vendaxa in 137 ABY, following Marasiah Fel's escape from Socorro. The acklay pursued its prey through a crash site, but was ultimately killed when Jedi Wolf Sazen and Shado Vao joined the fight, plunging their lightsabers through the acklay's spine and chest respectively