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"It's a zergling, Lester...smaller type of zerg..."

- Sarge to Lester after hitting a zergling with their LRV.(src)

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A zergling
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The zergling is the basic zerg warrior.


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A zergling during the Great War
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Zerglings form the most numerous of the zerg mutations; the simple DNA allows two zerglings to be spawned from a single larva. The larvae get the genetic information from the 'primordial ooze' of spawning pools.[1] The smallest zerg strain apart from the larvae,[2] and equivalent in size to a large dog, zerglings are one meter tall and possess webbed feet.[3] Further mutations may be made to zergling DNA, namely the alteration of their physiology through a metabolic boost to increase their reflexes and rate of movement and the mutation of their adrenal glands, changing their glandular balance to induce a battle frenzy.[1] The rapid genesis modification to zergling cells allows their gestation to proceed at remarkable speed.[4]

Zerglings are physically adaptable creatures, able to climb near vertical surfaces and are extraordinarily fast,[5] though they are generally easy to exterminate, one ending up as roadkill after being run over by a recon vehicle.[6] Usually, zergling eyes are orange (see images), though some have been observed to be red.[5] Such is their ability to see in low light conditions, these eyes can appear pure black (courtesy of the expanding pupils to allow more light to the retina).[2]

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A zergling after the Brood War
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Outside of combat, zerglings can serve as lookouts[7] and lone zerglings serve as scouts,[3] though may have a retinue of hydralisks if they scout an exceedingly long distance away from a hive cluster.[8] When they attack however, zerglings move in large groups, ranging from a dozen to a hundred, often acting as "meat shields" for more powerful zerg strains.[3] Individually, zerglings are little more than feral animals, but work well in large groups under the command of larger zerg warriors.[1] In combat, zerglings are fond of ripping enemies to shreds with their sickles and fangs, indicating a sadistic streak (although not to the extent of the hydralisk).[1] When paired with roaches, they can be nearly unstoppable against marines bereft of siege tank or bunker support.[9]

Zerglings were allergic to lemon juice.[10] During the Second Great War, its validity became a Terran Dominion rumor[11]. Abathur resolved to solve the problem.[10]


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Zerglings on the charge
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Zerglings were evolved from the Zz'gashi dune runner when the latter were assimilated into the Zerg Swarm. The zergling may be a relatively recent addition to the swarm given that Zz'gash seems to be located close to the Koprulu sector.[12] Zerglings continued to evolve after the Brood War, gaining the ability to metamorphose into banelings. The evolution came from an experiment conducted by the zerg at the Dominion colony of Sorona, in which they incorporate a native acidic mold into their body structure.[13] This evolution was controlled by the new queen breed.[14]

The Terran Dominion has a secret program which uses zerglings to track psychic terrans.[15]

Game UnitEdit


For StarCraft gameplay information see: Zergling (StarCraft).

StarCraft: GhostEdit

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The zergling 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.

Zerglings in StarCraft: Ghost maintain their burrowing and health regeneration abilities. In addition, zerglings gain a "bloodlust" ability, which increases their damage and possibly speed while zerglings move in groups.[16]

The zergling is the basic zerg unit in the Invasion Mode. It can transform into a hydralisk, infested marine or mutalisk, costing one, two and five points respectively.[17]

StarCraft IIEdit

For StarCraft II gameplay information see: Zergling (StarCraft II).


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A zergling in Alternity: StarCraft Edition
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The zergling's appearance varies from product to product, and even in the in-game to cinematic appearance in the same product. This reflects stages of product development and artistic styles over time. In the long run, this could also reflect the constantly evolving state of the zerg.


StarCraft IEdit

Early zergling concept art
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In StarCraft, they are bipedal creatures with Velociraptor-like legs. They have three webbed toes on the end of each. Protruding from below their head are two arms ending in scythe-like claws. When zerglings stand still these scythes fold down against their stomachs. Zerglings run by hopping on all four lower limbs, and attack by extending their upper claws and slashing down, then quickly stabbing forward and slashing with the lower before the first motion ends. They can be upgraded to do this even faster, via adrenal glands. This design is based on the picture in the manual; in-game, they're slightly different (primarily in the upper claws).

In StarCraft's cinematics they look rather similar. However, they're much thinner, their heads are more separate from the body, and they lack the upper arms. Their scythe-arms are more agile and do not tuck below the stomach, and they stand more upright. They hop the same way, and attack with quick alternating slashes from each claws. Their heads are more rounded in this form, and their chests are quite thin and have very visible ribcages; their faces resemble those of hydralisks. Also, their rear legs have less joints, and simply go straight back then bend straight down when they stand still (on contrary to their legs supposed to be digitigrade). They are more agile than the other forms, and have been seen rearing up and leaning to the side in order to dodge incoming fire. Despite having fewer pairs of weapons, these seem to be the most dangerous incarnation of the zergling.

StarCraft: GhostEdit

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StarCraft: Ghost zergling concept art
HawkiAdded by Hawki

In StarCraft: Ghost, the appearance of the zergling changed from a raptor-like bipedal creatures to catlike four-legged animals with an extra limb protruding from the back. This kind of design is followed by all the later versions of zerglings, including in Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft.

StarCraft IIEdit

StarCraft II zergling concept art

In StarCraft II, the zergling's overall appearance bears a much closer similarity to its depiction in Starcraft: Ghost than to its original design. Unlike the original Starcraft their current design seems to be much more consistent between gameplay, cutscenes and other types of artwork.

In its modern form the zergling's head appear to be more continuous with the curvature of its spine and its tusk-like horns now protrude from the sides of its head, just behind its jaws. The zergling's eyes still appear a red or orange and its jaws of razor teeth remain without lips or covering of any kind. In place of webbed feet the zergling now sports a pair of toe claws on its back limbs, this modification is also seen on the forelimbs of some breeds as well. Some breeds still appear to use their forelimbs for attacking though the longer, curved arm blades and hand-like claws of the past no longer appear prevalent. As it has continued to evolve the zergling's upper arms have also change, in the post-Brood War era they now appear as jagged, claw-like scythes. When enhanced with a metabolic boost zerglings now spout a pair of compound wings that accompanies their increased speed, though said wings have not been documented as granting zergling any degree of flight (just yet).

When added together this combination of newer features (and accentuation of older ones) gives the zergling as much more terrifying and ferocious look than some of its earlier designs and helps differentiate its appearance from that of other warrior breeds.


Warcraft IIIEdit

In Warcraft III, they look like dogs with chitinous silver armor on their backs. Scythes protrude diagonally about halfway between each set of limbs. Massive mandibles are found on their seemingly eyeless heads. They attack by slashing inward with their scissor-like claws.

World of WarcraftEdit

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World of Warcraft vanity pet
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In World of Warcraft, they appear as "vanity pets" and look much like in Warcraft III but are shorter, fatter, lack the spiked tail, are solid brown, and have wider mouths. They look generally cartoony, befitting their status as non-combat vanity pets.

The zergling pet will attack Grunty the murloc marine, who will also attack them.[18]

Known ZerglingsEdit

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Zerglings attacking a reaper
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Variant StrainsEdit




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A zergling up close
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The zergling is often nicknamed "ling" in online culture. The Metabolic Boost zergling is often nicknamed "speedling" and the Metabolic Boost and Adrenal Glands zergling is often nicknamed "crackling".

A baneling/zergling plushie was available at BlizzCon 2013, along with a Carbot Animations-style zergling t-shirt.[19]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hickman, Tracy (May 21, 2002). StarCraft: Speed of Darkness. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-671-04150-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Bill Slavicsek, David Eckelberry, Shawn F. Carnes. Alternity: StarCraft Edition. Wizards of the Coast, March 1, 2000. ISBN 0-7869-1618-4.
  4. Heart of the Swarm Screenshots], Kotaku. Accessed on 2011-07-08
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mesta, Gabriel (July 1, 2001). StarCraft: Shadow of the Xel'Naga. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-671-04149-5.
  6. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Cinematic: Wasteland Patrol. (in English). 1998.
  7. Unit: Zergling, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2010-12-15
  8. 1998-04-01. StarCraft: Cinematic 1. Blizzard Entertainment/Youtube. Accessed 2007-12-31
  9. Kenyon, Nate. (September 27, 2011). StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-1439-10938-0.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Evolution pit units (in English). 2013.
  11. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mengsk Talks: UNN newscast after "Cutthroat." (in English). 2010.
  12. Zergling. StarCraft Compendium. Accessed on 2008-01-04
  13. Dayton, Cameron. "Broken Wide." (March 5, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Broken Wide Accessed 2010-03-05.
  14. 2008-05-23. Baneling. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2008-05-23.
  15. Benjamin, Paul and Dave Shramek (w), Sevilla, Hector (p, i). "War-Torn." In StarCraft: Frontline: Volume 3 (paperback binding), pp. 6-47. Tokyopop, July 14, 2009. ISBN 978-1427-80832-5.
  16. BlizzCon 2005 StarCraft: Ghost information. Zerg units. Artist: Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2007-09-08.
  17. Park, Andrew. 2005-10-28. Starcraft: Ghost Updated Multiplayer Hands-On - Zerg Rush! Gamespot. Accessed 2008-11-09.
  18. Robin Torres. 2009-08-25. Grunty vs. Zergling battle video. Accessed 2009-09-10.
  19. 2013-10-18, (Updated) BlizzCon® Store Online Sale Open Now Through November 9. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-10-20
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