Before we take a look at the alien it is perhaps just as important
to look at the species and identify what we know about them. Looking
at the four films I can deduce the following....
To reproduce they are dependant upon the use of a host.
They have a
metallo-silicate exo skeleton
Their growth stage appears to be mediated by the shedding
of their skin
They seem to have a predatory or greater intelligence
They have an acidic blood type
They tend to build their nests in warm enclosures, yet they
seem to be able to adapt to many different environments
What we do not know is whether the alien species populate a 'homeworld'
or whether they have been created by another species. We know that
the alien is a parasite (not too unlike humanity) and they spread
quickly as other hosts are found. To understand these xenomorphs
a little more let us look at the varying cycles of their growth.
1. THE EGG STAGE
Most likely a living organism of its own, the
egg maintains the Facehugger within it over indefinite periods of time and with
seemingly little nutrients. The eggs appear to have a leathery surface with four
petals on top which open when a potential host enters its proximity. Emanating
from the egg are several root-like tendrils which might explain how the egg can
nourish and maintain the Facehugger inside.
The egg itself feels the vibrations of things within striking distance and
can sense heat. So when it detects its prey within striking distance the egg automatically
opens and the Facehugger is then ready to pounce. It is believed that the alien embryo alerts the adults by releasing
pheromones if it is in trouble or dying. Sensing the alert, the aliens come in
swarms to investigate the problem.
When a potential host is near by it is believed that a form of communication
goes on between the Facehugger's in all the eggs to co-ordinate an attack. The
eggs then change from a dormant state of near death to being active.
The contents of the eggs can also be seen from the outside. This normally
happens only when the egg has been dormant for a long time. As the egg becomes
active, it becomes almost transparent to the naked eye.
2. FACE HUGGERS
The Facehugger is the parasite that hibernates
inside the egg. When a host comes in close proximity to the egg, it triggers the
parasite within to come to life and launch itself out of the egg at the
potential host. It attaches itself by wrapping its tail around the victim's
neck, causing him or her to gasp for air. It then firmly grasps the victim's
head with its eight spider-like digits and places an embryo within the host's
chest cavity. After the embryo is planted, the Facehugger leaves the host's body
If the attack plan fails and it does not get the host like planned, it has
very powerful legs that it uses to run around and chase its host. The Facehugger
has surprising agility for a parasite and it will not stop until it either
impregnates somebody or is killed trying.
It has been recorded from the colony on the planet LV-426, that if the adult
already makes the prey immobile. The Facehugger waits until the host is awake or
conscious before giving off a hormone that commands the egg to open. Since the
prey is not going anywhere the Facehugger does not jump on to its prey, but it
slowly crawls out of the egg and towards its prey, delicately as if not to
damage the host.
Once the parasite has subdued the host by releasing a chemical to disable it.
The parasite then immediately sticks a tube down the host's throat and into its
gullet. The tube is believed to give the host oxygen to keep it alive and at the
same time, the embryo is released in to the host's chest. Once the embryo is
planted successfully and it is coping on its own the Facehugger falls off the
hosts face and dies, the Facehugger usually only travels five feet from the prey
and dies within 15 minutes of falling off.
3. CHEST BURSTERS
Once the implanted embryo completes its
symbiotic gestation period within the host, it escapes through the host by
bursting through his chest. At this stage, the snake-like Chestburster has a
small cranium and tan colored skin. It sheds its skin as it matures, the
exoskeleton becomes harder and darker, and its cranium elongates.
The embryo is implanted in the chest cavity behind the sternum, we assume
this is for the protection of the embryo from harsh blows to the host from the
outside world. Unfortunately this position of where the Chestburster has been
planted results in an excruciating death for the host because the Chestburster
has to repeatedly punch the sternum until it has broken free.
From the time the Facehugger falls off, the host has from 2 to 4 hours before
the Chestburster kills the it and is born. A Queen embryo would take a much
longer time to be born due to its more complex anatomy it would take
approximately 8-14 hours before she is born.
The Chestburster has small front limbs that are presumably useless and a very
snake like body, it uses it tail to push itself along the ground until its limbs
have grown properly.
The Chestburster leaves scents in the host's body that adult Xenomorphs' can
scent and therefore no harm comes to the host by the aliens until the
Chestburster kills it by being born.
The Chestburster rapidly grows in size,
intelligence, and strength to become an adult alien. It is over two meters tall,
has a long sleek cranium and a deadly secondary jaw that extends with great
force and speed that the alien uses like a type of weapon.
This stage of the Xenomorphs development is for some the final stage and the
most hostile by far. The Xenomorphs have no eyes or ears, nor do they need any,
inside that massive elongated cranium is, of course, the Xenomorphs brain. The
Xenomorph is in no way shape or form dumb. It can strategically think and ambush
its prey the same way it did aboard the 'Auriga' to Ripley and the Betty crew.
They chased them underwater and there only way up to get air was sealed off with
a hard substance that once broken through alerted the eggs surrounding the
opening and all of the Facehugger's launched themselves at the unsuspecting
people. Not only can they think and plan but also they sense heat, vibrations,
sound and danger.
The most interesting feature of the Xenomorph would have to be the second
mouth it possesses. Its secondary mouth is approximately 12 inches long. It uses
its second mouth to attack rather than for defence. It launches its secondary
mouth at its prey disabling or killing it, mostly killing it. It has been shown
from a surveillance camera that 'Carter J. Burke' was shown the secondary mouth
right before he was killed. This also proves that the Xenomorph uses it
secondary mouth as a warning of "You're about to die!"
The Xenomorphs tail is in length about as tall as the alien. The tail is
extremely powerful. The tail helps the Xenomorph to balance as well as it
defends and attacks. It uses its tail to hang from the ceiling securely while it
attacks or stalks its prey. It can also use it to spring and leap from different
awkward positions in order to surprise prey. In defence, it whips its tail
around itself giving itself a kind of protective shield against whatever might
being irritating or even attacking it.
Xenomorphs have an insect
like life cycle, fairly similar to
that of the digger wasp. The
queen regulates the whole hive and it is
possible that the hive cannot survive without her.
Queen Xenomorphs are significantly larger than the drones, approximately 15 feet (4.5 m) tall. Their body
structure differs also, having twin sets of arms and being built more similarly
to a Tyranosaurus than a
humanoid. Queens have a much larger
braincase than the average adults, protected by a large crest above their heads.
Queens also have a higher ability to relate cause and effect, allowing them
rudimentary understanding of technology in the same way as some primates, such
as the Queen's use of the elevator in Aliens. At the end of Aliens, when the
xenomorphs have Ripley cut off from escape, she threatens to burn an egg - the
Queen perceives this and beckons the drones to clear out of the way
The Queen Xenomorph is approximately 4 and a half metres tall. Its head looks
much different in appearance to that of a warrior, but it really isn't. The
Queen has a crown that she rests her head on in dormancy, but when active the
head is lifted from the crown, but the crown is always there giving the
appearance of a much different head. Still the head is much bigger and looks a
little different from the warrior's heads.
The Queen has a secondary mouth that looks exactly the same as the adults,
except that it is much bigger and it is approximately 36 inches long.
Once birthed as a Chestburster it takes the Queen 4-6 hours to be physically
The Queen does not need to mate it is born pregnant. From the time she is
born it takes her 4-5 days to secrete resin to hold itself up suspended in
mid-air and to start laying eggs.
The Queen alien also creates other Queens of its kind after its hive is
sufficient enough to sustain the Queen she starts laying eggs that contain Queen
embryos to start another hive.
Once the over hanging resin is complete and she starts laying eggs she
becomes immobile, she does not need to move because her drones will do anything
that she wants.
Most of the relationships of the Xenomorph hive established and recognised
are supposition. It is likely, though, that after a few weeks a new Queen would
lead a contingent of drones away from the old hive and their first duty would be
to spread to another area and begin construction anew. Early on all effort would
be concentrated on finishing the hive so the Queen could begin laying eggs
again. Rival creatures would be used to reinforce the hive and protect the Queen
when she began breeding.