Wednesday, October 13, 2010

31 Monsters of October, Day 13: Xenomorphs (Aliens)

Real World Origin:
Film, Alien (1979)

In-Universe Description:
In the movie Alien and its sequels and spin-offs, Xenomorphs are a vicious extraterrestrial species. The creatures have much in common with insects, including a social organization that revolves around a queen alien.

Xenomorphs typically begin life in the form of a scorpion-like "facehugger", which hatches out of an egg laid by the queen and attaches itself to the face of a convenient host. The facehugger implants an embryo in the body of the host and then dies. The embryo grows within the host and incorporates aspects of the victim's DNA. For example, a human-spawned alien is bipedal whereas an animal-spawned alien may be quadripedal. Once the embryo matures to a certain point, the alien emerges as a "chestburster", killing the host.

Mature xenomorphs vary in size and in certain physical traits, although they all have elongated skulls, pointed tails (which are often used as weapons), and a second set of jaws within the primary set. The aliens also have highly acidic blood that tends to spray outward if they are injured. Thus, even dying or injured an alien can be extremely dangerous to an enemy. The aliens are shown to be agile and to have the ability to crawl along walls and ceilings.

The largest and most unique of the xenomorphs are the queens of the species. They have an extra set of arms, larger heads with a broad, elaborate crest, and an insect-like ovipositor in their adomens. Queens also tend to be more intelligent than the warrior aliens.


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