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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.[1]


Around late 296 to early 295 BG, Avatar Kyoshi and her secretary Jinpa encountered a group of beetle-headed merchants and their mercenaries at the Misty Palms Oasis. Tensions escalated into violence over an undefined "problem".[2]

In 100 AG, Ghashiun and some other members of local Si Wong tribes sold Appa to a group of 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.[3]


Even though the beetle-headed merchants are best known as roving traders, they actually maintain a number of settlements in the Si Wong Desert,[4] flying their red-and-black flag proudly.[1][3]

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. 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.[1]


  • Despite being described as ethnically distinct from the other Si Wong tribes,[1] the beetle-headed merchants are sometimes counted among them.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Character: Merchants.
  2. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Nineteen, "The Companion". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 13, 2006). "Appa's Lost Days". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 23.

See also