A surprisingly agile fury of sharp claws and pointed fangs, the vicious acklay was one of the three arena creatures unleashed in the Geonosian execution arena, dispatched to kill Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Geonosian picadors steered the acklay toward Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was able to outmaneuver the beast. A clumsy yet powerful strike from one of its claws sheered the chains that bound Kenobi. The beast continued to pursue the Jedi Knight, rending large holes in the hard-packed sand with its vicious stabs. It even shrugged off a pike attack, chomping through the offending polearm with bestial rage.
When the execution erupted into a gigantic melee between Jedi and battle droids, the acklay roamed the arena floor in a frenzy. It still stalked Kenobi, who was finally able to silence its terrifying howls with skillful swipes of his lightsaber blade.
The acklay originally hails from the lushly fertile planet of Vendaxa, a world with a dense ecosystem that has produced predators of nightmarish proportions. Acklay are diurnal creatures that hunt for drowsy nocturnal lemnai and spear them with their immense claws.
When offworld interests began coming to Geonosis for droid and technology contracts, they would occasionally pay the Archduke with exotic beasts to fill the Geonosian execution arena. The acklay was a prized specimen delivered decades ago, and the Geonosians took to breeding them for arena entertainment. Escaped acklays have resulted in the deaths of entire hives, and the spiny creatures quickly carved themselves a niche in the brutal Geonosian ecology. They have infested the shallow filmy brine of the Ebon Sea, becoming the dominant predator of the area.
The acklay is well equipped for survival in the harshest of environs. Its long postcranial frill not only serves as a display of aggression, but also protects the sensitive neck area from attacks. While the acklay itself lacks armor, its limbs are long enough that it can swipe from a safe distance. The acklay's foreward slashing claws are actually hypertrophied fingertips sheathed in hardened skin incapable of feeling pain.
The acklay was born out of George Lucas' request to combine the characteristics of a praying mantis and a velociraptor to form a deadly arena creature. The early design sketches were very dinosaur-like in appearance, but further refinements brought in lobster-like features. At one point, the creature was nicknamed a "dinolobster." Adding to the acklay's crustacean heritage, Animation Director Rob Coleman used the creature and Obi-Wan Kenobi to pay tribute to a shot from the 1961 Ray Harryhausen classic, Mysterious Island, in which a gigantic crab threatens a spear-wielding human.