The Alien franchise is renowned for its creative and extensive number of aliens, here is the full list of every Alien species. The Xenomorph’s design is credited to the surrealist artist H.R. Giger, first appearing in a lithograph entitled Necronom IV. The endoparasitoid species first appeared in Ridley Scotts Alien and quickly became one of the most iconic extraterrestrial species in cinematic history.
Unlike other extraterrestrial species in sci-fi, the Xenomorph was designed to be the perfect killing machine, with the sole purpose of preserving their species by any means necessary. Due to its popularity, the Alien franchise has expanded unlike any other, leading to four sequels, two prequels, and two spin-offs, as well as multiple video games and literature. Each new addition to the franchise has introduced new variations of the Xenomorph, with dozens of them now existing across the series. Therefore, here are the most iconic and unique Xenomorphs explained.
While not fully developed, the egg stage in a Xenomorph life cycle, also known as the Ovomorph, is the most important. The Ovomorph has appeared in virtually every entry in the Alien franchise, except for Prometheus, and is a thick, living organism that protects the Xenomorph hatchling inside. If an individual gets too close to the Ovomorph, it releases the Xenomorph inside, which becomes known as a Facehugger.
The Facehugger first appears in Alien and is a crab-like creature that attaches itself to a host by latching onto its face and wrapping its tail around the airway. Once it has done this, it implants the Xenomorph embryo into the host’s airway. Facehuggers have been shown to claim humans, Predators, animals, and Space Jockeys as their hosts, which has led to a wide variety of Xenomorph offspring. Like a fully grown Xenomorph, the Facehuggers have acidic blood, making it harder to remove from a victim.
The Royal Facehugger has only appeared once on-screen in the Special Edition of Alien 3, as it was removed for the film’s cinematic release, but it has also appeared in some comics. The Royal Facehugger has the same behaviors as a regular Facehugger, except it is physically larger and protected by stronger armor. This is because the Royal Facehugger carries the embryo of a Xenomorph Queen and was initially written to be the Facehugger that implants the embryo inside Ripley.
After implantation of the Xenomorph embryo, the Chestburster grows inside the host’s chest cavity, pushing and chewing its way out. First appearing in Alien, the Chestburster quickly became one of the most memorable parts of the franchise. No host has survived the Chestburster on-screen, typically dying of severe blood loss during the process. At this point in its life cycle, the Xenomorph is at its most vulnerable but is able to evade danger and hide due to its incredible speed and agility.
The Drone Xenomorph was first seen in Alien and is considered to be the young-adult stage of the Xenomorph life cycle. It is the most iconic variation of the Xenomorph and has also appeared in games such as Alien: Isolation. The Drone is characterized by its bipedal stature due to its human hosts, with an elongated head and cylindrical skull, standing around 8ft tall. The top of the Xenomorph Drone’s head is translucent and has empty eye sockets within.
In James Cameron’s action-packed sequel, Aliens, the Xenomorphs returned but with a slightly different look and mannerisms. Unlike the lone Xenomorph Drone from Alien, these hunted in groups and became known as Warriors. Their skulls are typically more ridged, unlike the Drones, and they are also faster and more agile. They have also been shown to burst when they are killed, drenching their attacker in acid.
First appearing in James Cameron’s Aliens, the Queen is considered one of the deadliest Xenomorph variants. Standing around 15 to 20 feet tall, the Xenomorph Queen is the leader of the hive and responsible for laying the eggs in the Alien sequels. Despite being the largest threat, the Queen typically spends her time laying eggs, only detaching from her egg sack to protect her offspring when necessary. Additionally, the Queen is considered to be one of the most intelligent Xenomorph variants and has also appeared in Alien: Resurrection and Alien vs Predator.
The Runner first appears in Alien 3 after a quadrupedal animal falls victim to a Facehugger. It is widely considered to be the fastest of the Xenomorph breeds and also the most aggressive. Unlike previous designs of the Xenomorph, the Runner does not have the dorsal tubes on its back and is much slimmer in appearance.
The alien Newborn resulted from a genetic mutation where it was an offspring of Ripley 8 and a cloned Xenomorph Queen on the Auriga in Alien: Resurrection. The Newborn was shown to be stronger than a Xenomorph Queen, which it killed shortly after its birth, and considered the cloned Ripley to be its mother. The Newborn was incredibly large, and unlike other types of Xenomorph, it was much closer to a humanoid in appearance, leading to it being widely considered as one of the worst designs in the franchise. It has not appeared on-screen again since its death in Alien: Resurrection.
While there has not been an explanation as to how the Trilobite is related to the classic Xenomorphs seen in the Alien franchise, it shares similar behaviors to that of the Facehugger. Appearing in Prometheus, the Trilobite first appears after the black goo infects Charlie Holloway on LV-223, which causes him to impregnate Elizabeth Shaw with the creature after they engage in intercourse. Shaw manages to remove the Trilobite, but it appears later on in the film as a giant, Octopus-like beast and attacks an Engineer, impregnating it like the Facehuggers, and creating a Deacon.
The Deacon appears extremely briefly at the end of Prometheus, so not much is known about it. It is considered to be a close relative of the Xenomorphs shown in the original Alien movies and shares some similar physical attributes, such as having an inner mouth. While it also has an elongated skull, it is more pointed rather than round, and it’s implied that it will grow to be much larger than other Xenomorphs due to being the size of a human at birth. It is unclear whether the Deacon has acidic blood, as it has not reappeared on-screen since Prometheus.
The Bloodburster first appears in Alien: Covenant and is also known as the Backburster or Spineburster. As its name suggests, it bares some similarities to a Chestburster but is also very different. For example, a Bloodburster is implanted via microscopic motes from egg sacks rather than Ovomorphs and rapidly deteriorates its host’s health during gestation. Additionally, its appearance and behavior are very similar to Runners, and it has pale-white translucent skin and is extremely violent from birth.
The Bloodbursters are then shown to grow into Neomorphs later in Alien: Covenant, which again appears to be distant relatives of Xenomorphs. The android first seen in Prometheus, David, released the mysterious black goo chemical created by the Engineers onto Planet 4, also known as Paradise, the result of this is the pale white and agile Neomorph that is extremely aggressive in nature. Unlike Xenomorphs, the Neomorph does not have an inner mouth or dorsal spines and appears more humanoid.
The Praetomorph’s first and only appearance is in Alien: Covenant, and it is engineered completely by David based on murals shown on LV-223 in Prometheus. The Praetomorph’s eggs are very similar to the Ovomorphs in the original Alien films but with a two-petal design. It only takes a few seconds for a Praetomorph to be born from a Facehugger, where it has completely developed limbs and grows very quickly. The Praetomorph lacks a biomechanical appearance, but it behaves extremely similarly to how a Xenomorph would, if not even more aggressively.
The Grid first appeared in Alien vs Predator and was a Xenomorph Drone considered to be the alpha of the Xenomorphs born in a Yautja pyramid beneath Bouvet Island. It received its name due to the grid-like markings across its skull and back, which were a result of wounds inflicted by Celtics’ net, a Young Blood Yautja. Grid is one of the unique Xenomorphs in the franchise due to its unique appearance and was later killed by Scar, the Alien Hunter after he destroyed the pyramid with his Self-Destruct Device.
The Predalien appears in Alien vs Predator: Requiem and is a unique form of Xenomorph born after a Facehugger attacks a Predator. Xenomorph and Predator hybrids had existed in both video games and comics prior to its cinematic debut, and the Predalien is considered to be the best part of Alien vs Predator: Requiem. Like Predators, it possesses mandibles and dreadlocks and is able to impregnate a host with a batch of Xenomorphs rather than just one.
The Tarkatan Xenomorph appears as a downloadable guest in Mortal Combat X and is also a part of the games Alien DLC. While it is simply called Alien in-game, it is actually the product of a Xenomorph Drone being born from the body of Tarkatan warrior Baraka. It has several similarities to a regular Xenomorph Drone, but it is more bulky and muscular in comparison to those bred from human hosts. It also shares Barak’s vicious teeth and has extendable blades within its forearms, similar to the sword-like arm blades that Tarkatans have.
The Praetorian is featured heavily in Alien vs Predator video games as a boss enemy and has not appeared in any of the films. It is known as a royal guard for the Xenomorph Queen and her eggs and has a lot of similar attributes to a Warrior but is larger, and bares a similar crest to the Xenomorph Queen. It is explained that they appear when a Xenomorph hive reaches a population of 300 and is one of the final stages of a Xenomorph life cycle. As well as acting as a guard for the Xenomorph Queen, they also act as an army commander.
The Matriarch appears in the Aliens vs Predator 2010 video game and was an ancient Xenomorph Queen residing on BG-386. It’s explained that the Yautja captured the Matriarch for the sole purpose of laying Xenomorph offspring for them to hunt. She was later captured by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation but managed to escape and start her own hive before being killed by Rookie. Due to her age, she was grayer in comparison to other Xenomorph Queens and covered in battle scars. The Matriarch also has a bulletproof hide.
A Xenomorphs acid is considered one of their most lethal attributes, which is what makes the Spitter Alien so dangerous compared to other variants. The Spitter appears in Aliens: Colonial Marines, a non-canon video game, where the sides of its head have bulges that spit acid at the player, making them even more lethal from a long distance. Spitters have a similar head crest to Xenomorph Queens and Praetorians, except theirs are smaller with a yellow-green coloration from the acid pouches.
The Crusher appears in both Alien: Colonial Marines and Aliens: Fireteam Elite. It is the only Xenomorph besides the Xenomorph Queen to have the heaviest armor; however, it is not as intelligent as other Xenomorph breeds. It attacks by charging at its target on all fours, and it has been theorized that, similarly to the Runner seen in Alien 3, it may have been bred from a larger animal such as a Bull due to its similar attributes.
The Prowler is featured in Aliens: Fireteam Elite and attacks its enemies by leaping on them, similar to antagonists from other videogames such as The Hunter in Left 4 Dead. The Prowler is similar to the Runner, as it is clearly a product of a larger and more agile quadrupedal animal. Its appearance is unique in comparison to other Xenomorph breeds due to its red skin, bladed tail, head crest, and lack of dorsal tubes.
The Empress is a non-canonical Xenomorph featured in Aliens Online, Alien Versus Predator 2, and Alien Versus Predator: Extinction. The Empress is an evolved and rare form of a Xenomorph Queen and is considered to be superior, only bowing to the Queen Mother. They are described as being able to reach Tyrannosaurus Rex levels of height and have two sets of arms and a double-layered crest. It is suggested that a Xenomorph Queen becomes an Empress as her hive grows.
Xenomorphs Kings, also known as Monstrosities, are an extremely large and rare form of Xenomorph. Similar to the Empress, they only appear when a hive is deemed very large. It is unknown what role they play, as Ovomorphs do not need to be fertilized. Kings have similar appearances to Queens, but with tusks on their crests and also a lack of ventral arms. Kings only appear in Alien vs Predator: The Hunt Begins, and their creation and role within the hive remain a mystery.
The Queen Mother is the rarest type of Hive monarch and also the rarest Xenomorph to ever exist. They are the leaders of Xenomorph Queens and are the only ones who can breed more Queen Mothers. Queen Mothers are described as being almost 50 feet tall and have four arms and sharp dorsal spines. The tails of Queen Mothers are so sharp that they have been rumored to cut through an army of marines. If a Queen Mother is not born from the egg of another, they reach their rank through the substantial growth of their hive.
The Red Xenomorph that appeared in Alien: Genocide. They are genetically mutated Xenomorphs who managed to escape from their hive following the death of their Queen. It’s implied that, unlike a traditional Ovomorph, theirs are red, which is how they get their unique appearance. They managed to produce a Queen of their own and establish a new home. However, they eventually go to war with the original Xenomorph strain.
White Hybrid Xenomorph
The White Hybrid Xenomorph appears in the 12-issue limited comic series, Alien vs Predator: Deadliest of the Species. The corrupted AI TOY created them using a similar reproductive system to Xenomorph eggs, and they are by far one of the most unique Xenomorphs in appearance. The White Hybrids DNA is mixed with Xenomorphs, Yautja, and humans, which is why they look similar to the Predalien in Alien vs Predator: Requiem and have such high intelligence.
Not to be mistaken with the Necromorph from the popular horror game Dead Space, these Xenomorph variants appear in the 2019 novel Alien: Prototype. In the novel, the Necromorph was created by Dr. Gagnon in an attempt to breed a Xenomorph. However, the Necromorph obtained Necrosis from its host, which resulted in blisters all over its body that would emit the virus onto its victims.
Space Jockey Xenomorph
The Space Jockey Xenomorph is one of the entries that had the potential to be canon but was scrapped entirely upon the release of Prometheus. It first appeared in the Dark Horse Comic Aliens: Apocalypse and is based upon the Space Jockey seen in the first Alien movie. A Space Jockey Xenomorph is significantly larger than a regular Xenomorph due to its Engineer host and is more threatening, attacking human-spawned Xenomorphs instantaneously. It also appeared in the DS game, Alien: Infestation, where it had a large elephant-like trunk.
Black Goo Xenomorph
Following the release of Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, the 2021 novel Aliens: Infiltrator explored what would happen if a Xenomorph was to come into contact with the black goo created by the Engineers. In the novel, it’s stated that a group of Weyland-Yutani scientists exposed the Xenomorphs to the pathogen early in their life cycle, which resulted in various unique results. For example, one of the Xenomorphs, now known as Seven, was telepathic and highly intelligent, making it able to command other Xenomorphs.
Anchorpoint Hybrid Xenomorph
The Hybrid Xenomorph was first featured in an unused script for Alien 3, written by William Gibson. It was later adapted into a comic book series by Dark Horse, where it is learned that Xenomorphs have discovered a new way to reproduce. Rather than from a Queen laying Ovomorphs, the Xenomorphs spread airborne spores across a space station known as Anchorpoint. The Hybrid burst from the skin of its host, Susan Welles, and appeared humanoid with red eyes. However, it wasn’t as strong as a regular Xenomorph, as it was later ripped in half by one.
Flying Xenomorphs are one of the most unique Xenomorph variants, despite not being regarded as canon. They have appeared in various Alien arcade games and also featured in the first issue of Alien: Survival. In some appearances, they have membraned wings and Chestburster-like attributes, and in others, their wings resemble insects.
While Xenomorphs being able to swim was already confirmed in the canon timeline during Alien: Ressurection, the Alien: Colonial Marines comic series introduced a new breed of Xenomorph that was completely adapted to underwater conditions. They were found on Brackens World and most likely used the planet’s large achelate crustaceans as hosts. Aquatic Xenomorphs are similar in size to Praetorians, but they have a large tail instead of legs and blue skin.
The Alpha Xenomorph appears in Alien: Bloodlines, a six-issue comic series published by Marvel Comics. It was an incredibly unique Xenomorph Drone, similar in size to a Praetorian, but also bore Bull-like horns across its skull as its DNA was mixed with both humans and Cocoran Highland Goats. Its host, Gabriel Cruz, is one of the rare cases of a human successfully removing a Chestburster. The Alpha has a similar behavior to that of Grid and the Drone aboard the Sevastopol in Alien: Isolation.
The Irradiated Xenomorph is by far one of the most distinctive in the Alien movie franchise due to its bioluminescent features. It appears in Aliens: Aftermath, where it is explained that not all Xenomorphs were killed in the atmosphere processor explosion on LV-426 at the end of Aliens. The Irradiated Xenomorph was the only survivor, where it mutated due to the high radiation levels on LV-426. Aside from its unique appearance, its body was like liquid nitrogen and could freeze anything that it touched.