From Parasitic Infancy to Bloodthirsty Adulthood: The Stages in the Life of a Xenomorph
Countless alien species graced human imagination over the years, but none can trump the Xenomorphs. These towering bloodthirsty killing machines have become an inseparable part of pop culture ever since H.R. Giger’s design of these creatures appeared before audiences worldwide in Ridley Scott’s Alien in 1979. Since then, Xenomorphs have earned themselves the spotlight in many other films and video games, making them an invaluable part of the modern Sci-Fi culture.
Despite their numerous appearances throughout pop culture over the last few decades, Xenomorphs are still covered in a veil of mystery to date. Many questions are still left unanswered about these monsters. That is precisely why they’ve managed to captivate the attention of millions of fans for over 40 years.
We must admit we are huge fans of these guys and have drawn a lot of inspiration from them. That is why we’ve decided to do this little homage to the OG Aliens by taking a more in-depth look into their biology.
So if you’re an Alien or a Sci-Fi fan in general, come with us on this journey of exploring the complex life cycle of the Xenomorph!
The Life Cycle of the Xenomorph
The primary life cycle of the Xenomorph consists of four primary stages:
- Ovomorph (Egg)
- Adult Specimen
Let’s take an in-depth look at each of these!
Stage 1: Ovomorph (Egg)
Like many creatures, both real and fictional, the first stage in a Xenomorph’s life is its egg stage. A Xenomorph Queen lays these eggs, which have shells made of organic matter. That means that Xenomorph eggs could be considered living organisms. Ovomorphs are around 2.5 feet tall and serve as nothing more than a protective shell for the frail Facehuggers that dwell inside.
Unlike animal eggs, Xenomorph eggs contain a fully developed but dormant Facehugger (or several) when the Queen lays them. They exist in a symbiotic relationship with the Facehugger inside until a suitable host approaches. After it does, the egg opens up, bringing the Facehugger to live and releasing it on an unsuspecting victim.
Stage 2: Facehugger
Facehugger is the second stage in a Xenomorph’s life whose sole purpose is to serve as a transport vessel for the Chestburster. These creatures lie dormant within the Ovomorph until a potential host approach. Once that happens, the creature is brought to life and will seek a host to implant a Chestburster in.
These creatures look like a pair of hands fused together and sport a spinelike tail. These small but agile creatures use speed and stealth to approach their hosts before subduing them by clasping their face and forcefully implanting the Chestburster through the victim’s mouths.
Facehuggers can jump great distances at high velocity and are incredibly strong for their size. Once they get a grip on their victim, it’s near impossible to remove them and prevent implantation. These creatures can survive for up to 120 hours without finding a host and immediately die after completing implantation.
Stage 3: Chestburster
The Chestburster represents the third stage of the Xenomorph’s life cycle and forms parasitically inside a living host. After a Facehugger inserts a Chestburster into a host (technically, it inserts highly mutagenic fluid that quickly evolves into one), the creature forms and develops inside the host using its biological material.
Because the Chestburster uses the host’s genetic material to develop, it often inherits some of their traits (like bipedalism or some of the host’s physical characteristics). This creature begins its formation similarly to cancerous growth, but it usually fully develops within 1–24 hours.
After the creature is formed, it uses its mouth and sharp teeth to chew its way out of the host from the inside out and look for a safe place to hide while waiting to mature. Upon forcing its way out of its host, the pre-adult form of the Chestburster is no more than a foot long and is when the Xenomorph is most vulnerable.
All recorded attempts at surgically removing the creature from a host still resulted in their death due to its cancerous nature.
Stage 4: Adult Specimen
Upon emerging from the host, the Chestburster needs but a few hours to reach its maturity. After it does, it reaches the last stage in the Xenomorph’s life cycle — The adult stage.
In their fully grown state, Xenomorphs can be well over seven feet tall and armed with razor-sharp claws and teeth while protected by a thick armor-like hide. However, specific physical characteristics and combat prowess of adult specimens depend on the grown Xenomorph’s type (caste).
There are three primary adult Xenomorph types:
- Drones — The basic adult form of the Xenomorph. They are agile, strong, are protected by a thick hide, and have acidic blood. These creatures are the most common Xenomorph adults out there and are particularly dangerous in high numbers.
- Praetorian — These adult Xenomorphs are larger than the most common Drones (usually twice their size) but still smaller than the Queen. You can typically find them guarding the Queen, and they are much more powerful than Drones. They are easy to recognize by their large, flat crests that resemble a crown and grow from their heads’ rear.
- Queen — These adult specimens are considered as the apex predators of the Xenomorph species. Queens are much larger even than Praetorians and are the alphas of the Xenomorph packs. Aside from their lumbering size, the Queens have an extra pair of small arms at the front. They also have a much larger head and a crest similar to that of the Praetorians. The Queens don’t seem to need any fertilization to lay eggs, and they do so from the enormous ovipositors connected to their lower torso.
All adult Xenomorphs are incredibly hard to kill, so the best way to survive an encounter with one is to terminate it during one of the earlier stages of its lifecycle.
Gruesome but Absolutely Fascinating!
The Xenomorphs never fail to impress, not even in their complex but terrifying life cycle! These H.R. Giger’s monstrosities are truly one of a kind and are sure to be an inspiration for countless Sci-Fi creators for years to come!
So what did you think? Did this article enlighten you or frighten you? Let us know!