The larva is the base zerg unit from which all other units and, ultimately, buildings are created.


ZealotLarva SC1 Cncpt1

Larva defiant

Larvae are the closest creatures to the original zerg insectoids. Although their size and toughness were greatly boosted by the xel'naga during their experiments, they still possess the two traits that originally intrigued the ancient masters—genetic versatility and psychic sensitivity.[1]

Larvae were the first zerg strain ever encountered by the terrans of the Koprulu Sector. Around 2487, larvae were discovered on a number of fringe worlds. These worlds were depopulated by "cholera" and the specimens shipped to a Confederate science facility on Vyctor 5, only to be discovered by the Sons of Korhal nearly five years later.[2]


Maggot-like,[1] larvae often make a sucking sound from their tail section, akin to someone's boot stuck in mud. Physically, they have a segmented, multilegged body, trailing a mucous-like substance behind them and a complex array of internal organs.[2] Every segment of the larva's body contains all the required organs to ensure its survival. Such a trait, combined with near instant wound clotting, allows larvae to function and morph normally even if cut in half.[3] Its small twin antennae probe the air around it.[2] Diminutive larvae exist within the bloodstream of the swarm host, where they feed on damaged tissue, sealing wounds, and destroying foreign matter. They can also head for the creature's incubator to be evolved into locusts.[4]

The need to survive has played a role in the evolution of the larva's carapace. Its plates have turned into a hard, dense material that is not easily scratched, let alone punctured, and is immune to small arms fire. Dominion scientists suspect that the carapace served as a template for enhancements to the ultralisk.[3]

Similarities exist between a larva's pluripotent cellular structures and terran embryonic stem cells. Project Blackstone researchers attempted to find a way to both arrest the obligatory asymmetric replication (the astounding healing factor) of the zerg, and adapt it (in some measure) for Dominion soldiers.[5]


Larva SC2 Cncpt1

A pair of larvae

Within a larva's DNA are countless sequences, carrying billions of patterns and nearly infinite possible genetic combinations,[2] and they contain within them the genetic code for all other zerg breeds. When a new breed of zerg is needed, an individual larva will enter a pupal state and begin replicating the DNA of one specific zerg breed at an astounding rate. After a short gestation period, the new mature zerg minion hatches.[1] A young hive will only have the genetic code for the most basic of zerg breeds, such as the drone, but as it grows and develops new structures, its library of genetic strains is expanded. With a command from the Overmind,[1] cerebrate,[6] or overlord,[7] the larva will enter a pupal state and begin the metamorphosis into whichever breed is required by the hive.[1] The inner layer of the creature's skin is populated with receptor cells, and once a morph command is issued, the larva's organs are ejected, forming a hard egg-like cocoon, and its tissues are instantly reconfigured into the desired strain through a brief pupation period.[3]

Game UnitEdit


Larva SCR Head1

Unit profile (StarCraft: Remastered)

Larvae are automatically produced by a hatchery, lair, or hive over time; up to a maximum of three at any one time per building. Larvae may only be ordered to morph into other units. Larvae automatically "wander" near the building that spawned them. Larvae have relatively high armor and resilience despite having few hit points. They will automatically die if the creep underneath them dissipates. Canceling an evolution will also kill the larva.

Larvae may still be morphed into drones even if the rest of the base, or army, is destroyed. Given time and enemy inactivity, a few larvae can rebuild a zerg force.


Purchased from Evolution chamber
Hotkey C
Level 1
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 Gas Terran SC1 266Time SC2 Game1
Level 2
Cost 225 Minerals Terran SC1 225 Gas Terran SC1 298Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair
Level 3
Cost 300 Minerals Terran SC1 300 Gas Terran SC1 330Time SC2 Game1
Required Hive

StarCraft: GhostEdit

Larva SC-G Cncpt1

StarCraft: Ghost larva concept art

Concept art for larvae appears for StarCraft: Ghost. As seen, the larva appears larger and more adept at battle, carrying a likeness to a Hydralisk, albeit missing arms.

StarCraft IIEdit

If multiple hatcheries are selected, pressing the "S" hotkey will select all of the available larvae at all the selected hatcheries. The player must press a hotkey (or select a morph icon) once for each unit they wish to build.


SpawnLarvae SC2 Icon1
Spawn Larva

Queens can target a hatchery/lair/hive, causing it to eventually spawn four larvae. These join any already-present larvae. The larva-producing structure will not naturally produce any more larvae until the total falls below three. The larva count for any given hatchery/lair/hive cannot exceed nineteen, no matter how many times spawn larva is cast.

In Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, four larvae are spawned. In Legacy of the Void, three larvae are spawned,[8] and multiple casts can be queued on a single base.[9]

Hotkey V
Cost 25 Energy Terran SC1 29Time SC2 Game1
Cooldown 1.8Time SC2 Game1


  • +1 bonus to armor per level for zerg ground units.
Purchased from Evolution chamber
Hotkey C
Level 1
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 Gas Terran SC1 114Time SC2 Game1
Level 2
Cost 225 Minerals Terran SC1 225 Gas Terran SC1 136Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair
Level 3
Cost 300 Minerals Terran SC1 300 Gas Terran SC1 157Time SC2 Game1
Required Hive


The ability to spawn additional larvae can indirectly help the zerg economy, as this enables them to produce a high number of drones (or a high number of combat units, or a mix of both).[10]


The larva only underwent a single revision during development, in order to make it resemble the portrait model.[11]

Heroes of the StormEdit

Heroes DevLog2

The following section contains information from Heroes of the Storm and is not canon to StarCraft continuity

A larva is used as a melee weapon for Murky's Grunty skin in Heroes of the Storm.[12]


  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. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Neilson, Micky (December 18, 2000). StarCraft: Uprising. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-0743-41898-0 (eBook).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 2014-07-31, Larva Science. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-08-08
  4. 2014-12-04, Swarm Host Science. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-12-06
  5. Project Blackstone, accessed on 2013-02-13
  6. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Mission: Vile Disruption (in English). 1998.
  7. Larva, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2011-01-19
  8. 2015-09-03, Legacy of the Void Beta Balance Update -- September 3, 2015. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-09-09
  9. 2015-09-17, Legacy of the Void Beta Balance Update -- September 17, 2015. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-09-30
  10. Karune. 2009-02-18. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 49 (page 3). StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-02-18.
  11. 2010, Starcraft 2: Zerg Larva. Deviantart, accessed on 2011-07-20
  12. Blizzard Entertainment. Heroes of the Storm (Blizzard Entertainment) (in English). June 2, 2015