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I read this in the mid 80's to early 90's. I do believe it is a series of books. I'm not sure how many. I do believe at least two, because that's how many I remember reading. I might even be blending the two books here. The only other place I have posted this is on reddit.

Book that takes place on another planet settled by humans. The planet this takes place on has lifeforms that look crustacean. So instead of birds, they have creatures that look like flying crabs. The planet also has some kind of drug on it that gets smuggled back to earth. The criminals have to think long term because of the relativity involved in FTL travel.

One of the protagonists is an old guy who is an environmentalist type. He is the main reason there are no superhighways on the planet. Just normal two and four lane highways. He has an extended lifespan, due to eating extrememly nutritious food. He has a servant that helps take care of him, and get the same treatment for doing so. I'm pretty sure there is a ski lodge involved, and there is some kind of event happening there.

The humans have near instantaneous ftl travel. However, relativity still exists. So, if a spaceship goes 100 light years, the people on the ship don't age, but people on the planet do. However, the humans have instant communication between planets. Some of the book takes place on a ship, because one of the alien bad guys gets on it. I remember for whatever reason, the alien bad guys were keeping a human alive. He was busy working his way through the drugs found in the infirmary.

The aliens were different castes. Like a warrior caste. A leader caste, and a breeding caste. Somehow they used pheromones to communicate with each other. I think the breeding caste was called a holluckchick, but I'm not sure I remember the warrior guy wanted to wait on the leader breeding with the breeder caste until they were a little more secure, but the leader didn't want to.

I also remember that one unfortunate human gets caught by the warrior caste. He ends up getting stung by lots of bees (or something) and the warrior injects him with lots of antihistimine.

Another unfortunate person was a television personality. Somehow he get involved in all of this. He ended up on a human starship and sent off somewhere, leaving his wife and kids behind.

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I think this is the Vang series by Christopher Rowley. The first book is Starhammer.

Starhammer

I don't recall the plot in detail, but I do remember a couple of the points you mention as they have stuck in my mind. The flying crabs are redfly:

Carney backed slowly up the ravine to the perma tent. The damned redfly was a big one, and they were terrific biters. Redfly were actually flying crabs the size of hummingbirds, who drank blood the way hummingbirds drank nectar. Their bite was like being jabbed with a small hypodermic. The welts they left were the size of tennis balls and lasted for weeks.

And the breeders are holluschicks, and you say the leader (the Higher Form) is eager for their company despite the objections of the warrior (the Military Form):

In the prison, meanwhile, there were still some ripening coccoons as the manytappers matured. There were also coccoons for holluschicks now, despite the protests of the Military Form. The Higher Form was lonely. And the gravid reproductives in its lobes were a constant torment. It desperately wanted the stimulations of sexual congress with its little holluschicks.

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  • I think this is it! Now I have to find it so I can read it! Marking it solved!
    – petflunky
    Commented Mar 21, 2022 at 14:13

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