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The beetle-headed merchants are desert-dwellers who predate all other tribes in the Si Wong Desert. Legends suggest that their beetle-like headpieces date back to ancient times when their ancestors lived underground and survived the attacks of giant gilacorns by mimicking the appearance of the distasteful sour beetles, the only creatures on the desert floor not palatable to gilacorns.
Their opportunistic streak and flexibility make them skillful traders. They have an uncanny ability to see merchantable potential in almost anything presented to them. Their rather easygoing nature makes them every tribe's first choice with whom to trade and swap. The beetle-headed merchants have settlements all over the Si Wong Desert and fly their red and black flag proudly. They frequent the Misty Palms Oasis and consider the cantina to be their base, using it to find and meet potential clients and business opportunities. The merchants travel throughout the desert on their giant rhinoceros beetles, which play an important part in their culture.
Ghashiun and some other members of local Sandbender Tribes sold Appa to the beetle-headed merchants. The merchants hoped to sell the flying bison in Ba Sing Se for a large fortune; however, after witnessing the creature's ferociousness and bad temper, they decided to sell him to a Fire Nation circus instead.