A lot of the intelligent species we’ve come into contact with have exoskeletons. Like insects. There’s Callitriche whose armored carapace argues that her ancestors had a lot of predators on the sea floor where she comes from. There’s Hatakia, except for size, he looks more beetle-like than any of the others. Not to mention Rex, who roughly resembles a praying mantis with a bigger head and rump… and a lot of body piercings.