Salarians are bipedal warm-blooded amphibians with tall elongated bodies that have skeletons composed of more cartilage than those of other races. Salarian heads are long and thin with a pair of horns protruding from the top of their skulls and have large eyes; the pupils are a wide slit, oriented horizontally, and the irises can be dark green, purple, red, blue, or brown. Salarians blink upwards, rather than downwards as humans do. Skin color varies from bright reds, greens to the more common shades of blue, grey, black or browns. Their blood is a greenish color.
They hail from the planet Sur'Kesh and possess a hyperactive metabolism; they think fast, talk fast, and move fast. They are inquisitive and among the most intelligent, but see other species as sluggish and dull-witted. Unfortunately, their metabolic speed leaves them with a relatively short lifespan; salarians over the age of 40 are a rarity. Salarians are known for their observational capability and non-linear thinking. This manifests as an aptitude for research and espionage. They are constantly experimenting and inventing, and it is generally accepted that they always know more than they are letting on. Salarians are noted for their high-speed metabolism, which allows them to function on just one hour of sleep a day. Their minds and bodies work faster than most sapient races, making them seem restless or hyperactive. Salarians have photographic memories and rarely forget a fact. They also possess a form of psychological "imprinting", tending to defer to those they knew in their youth.
The salarians are haplo-diploid egg-layers; unfertilized eggs produce males and fertilized eggs produce females. Once a year, a salarian female will lay a clutch of dozens of eggs. Social rules prevent all but a fraction from being fertilized. As a result, 90% of the species is male. Salarian hatching is a solemn ritual in which the clan Dalatrass (matriarch) isolates herself with the eggs. The young salarians psychologically imprint on her and tend to defer to her wishes. During the hatching of daughters, the Dalatrasses of the mother and father’s clans are present at the imprinting. This ensures the offspring have equal loyalty to both, ensuring the desired dynastic and political unity. Salarian sex drive and reproduction differ from that of humans, with Mordin Solus claiming that it is not hormone-based. Reproduction is more of a necessity and salarians do not seem to desire sex for pleasure. Due to their method of reproduction, salarians have no concept of romantic love, sexual attraction, or the biological impulses and social rituals that complicate other species' lives. Male-female relationships are rare (due to the scarcity of females) and more akin to human friendship. Sexuality is strictly for the purpose of reproduction.
Normally, the rare salarian females are cloistered on their worlds out of tradition and respect. Powerful female Dalatrasses are dynasts and political kingpins. They determine the political course of their respective regions through shrewd negotiation. Though male salarians rise to positions of great authority in business, academia, or the military, they rarely have any input on politics. Salarian names are quite complex. A full name includes, in order, the name of a salarian's homeworld, nation, city, district, clan name, and given name. When it comes to keeping secrets, salarians have two types of social cues. The first type is personal or guilt-based, and invites suspicion and exploration. The second type is for secrets deemed dangerous if discovered, and signals discourage curiosity for protection of the relevant parties. Reflexive body language conveys the type of secret and cannot be faked convincingly; an analogue is that of a human faking a yawn.