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The defiler was a zerg breed that used toxic substances to support other zerg forces.
The defiler was a relatively rare zerg breed, resembling a silverfish in appearance and acting akin to a 'cancer factory' in function. Its core genus, if it had one, is unknown, as the defiler contained the DNA of all other zerg breeds. It was created from festering, carcinogenic pathogens that were, in essence, leftover genetic chains from other zerg strains. It used this genetic material to synthesize virus-like biochemicals. These biochemicals were extremely hazardous, resistant to the most effective anti-toxins, and, paradoxically, dangerous even to the zerg. A large amount of energy was expended in the production of these chemicals, and defilers were known to cannibalize other zerg to fuel the metasynaptic processes that generated the compounds, often accompanied by zergling escorts for this very reason. They could also recharge the metasynaptic processes through burrowing. Defilers possessed the ability to extract and process information from terran minds.
The defiler's body was host to countless small organisms that lived on the carapace, constantly feeding on each other. The defiler could spontaneously launch a number of these creatures to swarm a location that make it difficult to target anything under the ensuing cloud. In addition, defilers could produce corrosive spores and hurl them at a target area, the spores exploding in a dense cloud. The highly toxic mist that resulted corroded anything it touched. The spores were also prone to igniting due to a flammable accelerant contained in them.
Moving with a slow, intelligent slither, defilers were highly vulnerable to any form of counterattack (especially long-range or air assaults) and as such, usually stayed at the rear of zerg formations. The defiler evolved into obselescence after the Brood War. However, with the need for a specialized support strain, the zerg revisited the defiler template and perfected it with genetic data from an unknown species, preserving its core functions while excising its unnecessary lethality. The result was the viper.
- For StarCraft gameplay information see: Defiler (StarCraft).
A model of the defiler is available in the Galaxy Map Editor.