Species 116 possessed an innate ability to learn any language extremely quickly, such as that they could speak a new language after hearing only a few phrases; this was described as the capacity to "see patterns where others see only confusion". They also had the memory to retain fluency in thousands of languages. They perceived no difference between natural and computer languages, which gave them great facility with cryptanalysis and the manipulation of information. Species 116 was resistant to phasers and could withstand a shot to the torso without being stunned.
The technology of Species 116 was more advanced than that of the Federation. Their starships were propelled by quantum slipstream drives, allowing faster-than-light travel at velocities far exceeding warp drive. They also utilized particle synthesis, a more sophisticated analog of holographic technology that was undetectable by Federation sensors.
The biological and technological attributes of Species 116 made them attractive targets for the Borg. Species 116 in turn viewed the Borg as akin to a natural disaster, a "storm on the horizon" to be avoided. For centuries, Species 116 managed to outwit the Borg and stay one step ahead, but by the 2370s their defenses were failing. Their last hope rested on the much-anticipated destruction of the Borg by Species 8472. Much to their dismay, the Borg repelled Species 8472 in 2374 thanks to intervention by the Federation starship USS Voyager.
Afterward, the Borg returned their attention to Species 116, invading with massive force. Species 116's sentry vessels proved no match for the Borg, and 23 of their outer colonies fell in a matter of hours. Hundreds of Borg cubes converged on their home star system, and only an estimated ten to twenty thousand managed to escape assimilation.
Voyager encountered a surviving member of the species named Arturis in late 2374. He tried to transport the crew of Voyager to his homeworld in Borg space for them to be assimilated, but his revenge plan backfired and he was presumed to have been assimilated instead. (VOY: "Hope and Fear")