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"The only good hydralisk is one charred to a smoldering crisp."
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A hydralisk
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The hydralisk is the zerg basic front-line creature, forming the backbone of their onslaughts with its resistant carapace and ranged spine attack.


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A hydralisk during the Great War
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The hydralisk is a zerg evolution of the slothien. While slothiens were peaceful herbivores, the hydralisk is noted as being one of the most fierce and sadistic of the zerg strains.[1] The average hydralisk in 2499 was 5.4m long and weighed 390 kg.[2] Since hydralisks move relatively slowly over open terrain,[3] it is common for hydralisks to burrow and await their prey to enter killing range before attacking,[4] destroying their enemies in a deadly crossfire.[5] Despite their relatively sluggish nature, hydralisks can climb vertical surfaces[6] and continued evolution of the strain through muscular augmentation has resulted in faster hydralisks.[1]

Hydralisks are sometimes supported by infestors.[7]


Hydralisk SC2 Cncpt2
A hydralisk up close
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Prior to the beginning of the Brood War, hydralisks gained the ability to mutate into lurkers.[8]

The first recorded encounter between terrans and hydralisks was aboard a cargo vessel. The hydralisk was recorded by the derelict ship's security cameras.[3] Since then, hydralisks have established themselves in terran culture to a notable extent. Sometimes colloquially called "hydras,"[9] hydralisk skulls have been mounted akin to trophies in Joeyray's Bar[10] and on an ore loader on Sorona.[11] The Annual Hydralisk Derby has also become an established event.[12] Current terran tactics for dealing with the creatures stress the need for siege tank support.[5]


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A hydralisk spine
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Hydralisks may attack directly with scythe-like arms or, more commonly, strike from a distance with volleys of armor-piercing spines[4] 30cm in length[13] Hundreds of these spines are stored in the upper carapace plates[1] and covered by flaps. The flaps fold back before the spines fire,[14] a process which gives a few seconds warning to an impending volley.[6]

The hydralisk has 4,000 muscles, compared to a terran's 629,[5] and a portion of these may be used to launch the spines with enough force to penetrate 2 cm. of neosteel[1] at a range of over 300 meters[13] or even half a kilometer[15] at a velocity greater than that of the C-20A rifle.[13] The spines were evolved from the slothien's defensive urticating (stinging) hairs;[5] they may be "grooved" for increased range[1] and are slightly poisonous.[16][17][18]

Game Unit


For StarCraft gameplay information see: Hydralisk (StarCraft).

StarCraft: Ghost

Hydralisk SC-G Game1
The hydralisk in StarCraft: Ghost
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StarCraft Ghost Logo2

This article or section contains information about StarCraft: Ghost, which has been declared non-canon. Elements may be taken as 'flavor lore' however.
The content may be significantly out of date. Please do not add speculation to this article, and remember to cite a published source for details.

Hydralisks are featured as a player unit in StarCraft: Ghost, in addition to acting as enemies. Hydralisks maintain their StarCraft abilities but also gain a powerful claw attack.[19] Their poison quill attack interferes with terran vision.[20] They move more slowly than zerglings.[21]

In Invasion mode, transforming a zergling into a hydralisk costs one point.[21]

StarCraft II

For StarCraft II gameplay information see: Hydralisk (StarCraft II)

Warcraft III

Hydralisk WC3 Game1
Hydralisks attacking marines in Warcraft III
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The hydralisk appears as an Easter egg unit in Warcraft III and its expansion, The Frozen Throne.

Known Hydralisks

Variant Strains




Hydralisk SC1 Phys1
Hydralisk action figure
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A hydralisk action figure was released in 1998.[22]

The hydralisk is often nicknamed "hydra" in online culture.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  2. Back of the original StarCraft box, 1998.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hydralisk. StarCraft Compendium. Accessed on 2007-11-27
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bill Slavicsek, David Eckelberry, Shawn F. Carnes. Alternity: StarCraft Edition. Wizards of the Coast, March 1, 2000. ISBN 0-7869-1618-4.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 StarCraft II-Hydralisk. Accessed on 2008-03-10
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hickman, Tracy (May 21, 2002). StarCraft: Speed of Darkness. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-671-04150-9.
  7. Overview: Zerg, accessed on 2011-01-13
  8. Underwood, Peter, Chris Metzen and Bill Roper. StarCraft: Brood War (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  9. Giffen, Keith and Simon Furman (w), Federico Dallocchio (p, i), Milen Parvanov (col). "StarCraft #1" StarCraft 1 (1) (May 27, 2009) DC Comics (Wildstorm).
  10. Joeyray's Bar. Artist: Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2010-03-12
  11. Dayton, Cameron. "Broken Wide." (March 5, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Broken Wide Accessed 2010-03-05.
  12. Leord, 4th Annual Hydralisk Derby. StarCraft Wire. Accessed on 2009-07-12
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Kenyon, Nate. (September 27, 2011). StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-1439-10938-0.
  14. Hydralisks fold back their top carapace flap to reveal those spines, it's an attack animation. When they are out of battle, they fold in again to hide them. What he said. Cavez, PsiWarp. 2009-02-05. Karune: screenshot question about hydras. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-02-05.
  15. Maxwell, Matthew. "The Teacher." (Feb. 20, 2013). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: The Teacher Accessed 2013-02-20.
  16. Metzen, Chris & Samuel Moore (March 29, 1999). "StarCraft: Revelations." Amazing Stories 596 (Spring): 20-27.
  17. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Conversations after Gates of Hell (in English). 2010
  18. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Horace Warfield (in English). 2010.
  19. Source: BlizzCon 2005 StarCraft: Ghost information. Zerg units. Artist: Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2007-09-08.
  20. 1up staff. 2005-10-28. StarCraft Ghost Previews from Accessed 2008-11-09.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Park, Andrew. 2005-10-28. Starcraft: Ghost Updated Multiplayer Hands-On - Zerg Rush! Gamespot. Accessed 2008-11-09.
  22. 2012-05-04, Zerg Hydralisk. Figure of the Day, accessed on 2012-07-27
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