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Swimming Xenomorph: Can Aliens Survive Underwater?

By | Published January 28, 2024

The Xenomorphs have proven themselves to be well adapted to extreme environments, including underwater. As seen in Alien: Resurrection, some Xenomorphs types are adept swimmers and can easily navigate in aquatic conditions. Find out here, which Xenomorphs have aquatic abilities and how long can they survive underwater.

The Xenomorph's Swimming Ability

The Cloned Xenomorphs swimming in Alien: Resurrection

In the movie "Alien: Resurrection," we saw two cloned Xenomorphs with a surprising ability: they can swim. These aliens moved through the water with ease, showing that Xenomorphs aren't just scary on land. The cloned Xenomorphs were hybrids mixed with human DNA, which might have increased their swimming abilities. Their large tail acted as a rudder and allowed them to navigate towards their victims. One of the two swimming Xenomorphs was struck and killed by a grenade from Johner, while the other initially captured Hillard, and was later shot in the head by Christine on an escape ladder.

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Aquatic Facehugger

The Royal Facehugger from Alien 3 Special Edition

The royal facehugger was a unique type of facehugger appearing in the special edition of Alien 3, being able to implant an Alien Queen and a Warrior Xenomorph embryo. It was known for its webbed fingers, which is another example of how these aliens might be suited for water. This suggests they can move in water better than their normal counterparts. Coincidentally, the facehugger had a chance to do just that, because the EEV from the USS Sulaco crashed into the sea near the prison of Fury 161. At that point, it had already released one of it's embryos, but it had to swim to survive to implant another, infecting a nearby ox on the shore.

Swimming Chestburster

The Queen chestburster swims to Ripleys mouth in the Alien 3 comic

The Alien 3 comic book further elaborates on the complicated events of Alien 3's opening, featuring the young Xenomorphs in the ocean of Fury 161. In the pages of the comic, it is revealed that the Royal Facehugger initially infected Newt instead. However, the Queen chestburster left her drowning body through the mouth and sought a new host - Ellen Ripley. To reach Ripley, the chestburster had to swim through the murky waters in the EEV, which it easily did. This scene shows even the young aliens can handle water, seemingly swimming like snakes.

The Swimmer Xenomorphs

An Aquatic Xenomorph from Alines: Colonial Marines

The Swimmer Xenomorphs from the Aliens: Colonial Marine comic, encountered by the USCM personnel on Bracken's World, represent a fascinating evolution of the Xenomorph species. These large aliens, primarily aquatic in nature, are believed to have originated from the planet's native large achelate crustaceans. Unlike their land-based counterparts, Swimmer Xenomorphs lack legs and are instead equipped with a lobster-like tail fan and three pairs of pleopods, specialized swimming legs. This unique Xenomorph anatomy allows them to swim more efficiently than other Xenomorphs. The upper half of their body resembles a standard Xenomorph, complete with webbed hands, while the lower half is adapted for aquatic life, featuring a large tail and pleopods. The Swimmer's exoskeleton is dark with a blue hue, a common trait among Xenomorphs, but they have shorter dorsal tubes, akin to the Arachnoid caste, and thin tendrils on their lower jaw, reminiscent of a Queen Mother.

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Swimming Praetorians

Swimming Praetorians attack Colonial Marines

The aquatic nature of these Xenomorphs raises the possibility that they might belong to the Praetorian class, known for their large size and distinctive crested heads. However, their behavior and abundance suggest a different interpretation. These creatures are often seen in aggressive, attacking roles rather than defending territory, which might indicate that their aquatic traits are a result of the Xenomorph DNA reflex adapting to a large host species. Another theory is that they are the product of genetic modification due to the rarity of Praetorians, who are meant to be guardians of the Queen. In the comic, smaller webbed-fingered Xenomorphs are seen to be attacking together with the larger Xenomorphs, hinting that there are two different swimmer Xenomorph types on Bracken's World.

Aqua Alien

The Aqua Alien By Hasbro

In 1997, Hasbro released an entire toy line based on the "Alien: Resurrection" movie, including a cloned Xenomorph Warrior and a distinct "Aqua Alien". Although the movie implied that regular Xenomorph Warriors were swimming, the toy line introduces another Xenomorph hybrid that is dedicated to swimming, just like the aquatic Xenos from Bracken's World. The figure had webbed toes and fingers, a long and powerful tail for navigating the waters, and a shark-like fin on the top of its head. This Aqua Alien adds to the idea that Xenomorphs can live and hunt in water, just like sharks.

The Underwater Queen

The Antarctica Queen sinks to the bottom of the ocean in AvP 2004

At the end of the first "Alien vs. Predator" movie, the ancient Alien Queen ends up underwater. Chained to a water tower by Scar Predator and Lex, she was pulled to the bottom of the Antarctic ocean. Even though she was struggling and making swimming-like movements, her injuries and the weight of the burden seemed too much for her to break free. However, not needing to breathe, she still might have survived at the bottom of the ocean and entered a hibernation-like state, that the Xenomorphs sometimes use to survive in space. It is possible that she will still be discovered in a later story.


In conclusion, the Xenomorphs, with their incredible adaptability, have shown that they can thrive in extreme environments, including underwater. From the cloned Xenomorphs in "Alien: Resurrection" to the specialized aquatic variants in the "Aliens: Colonial Marines" comic series, these aliens have demonstrated remarkable swimming abilities. Their adaptations range from simple physical changes like webbed fingers in the royal facehugger to more complex transformations seen in the Swimmer Xenomorphs and Swimming Praetorians. These changes suggest that Xenomorphs can not only survive but also effectively hunt in aquatic environments. The story of the Aqua Alien toy line further emphasizes this idea, showcasing a Xenomorph variant specifically designed for swimming, much like a shark in water.

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