Alien Species

The Thargoids are an intelligent, highly advanced insectoid species that have existed for millions of years.[1] Thargoids are highly territorial and seemingly rebuff all diplomatic overtures with unmitigated hostility, but are also known to be extremely slow to adapt.

Approximately 1 to 2 million years ago, the Thargoids instigated a war with another intelligent species called the Guardians over territory.[2] Although the Guardians eventually prevailed, the Thargoids only opted to retreat because they were unprepared for a protracted campaign against a rival civilization. Thargoids and humanity have been embroiled in two wars. The first occurred between 3125 and 3151, and is believed to have ended in a human victory with the Intergalactic Naval Reserve Arm's successful deployment of the mycoid bio-weapon. The second, ongoing conflict began in 3303 and has been rapidly escalating with no resolution in sight, affecting dozens of systems across the Pleiades Nebula and the Core Systems.

NOTE: Some points within this article are speculation and based on the classic Elite games. The Elite Dangerous timeline has some disparities.


The Thargoids are an ancient, sapient, insectoid species of enigmatic origin. Data obtained from Ancient Obelisks built by the Guardians indicates that the Thargoids are several millions of years old, and likely a far older species than the Guardians.[2][3] Professor Cora Shaw of the Palin Institute concluded that they were an established spacefaring species long before they encountered the Guardians. They have an affinity for ammonia-based worlds. This suggests they may have evolved in a harsh, low-temperature environment, which might explain their overdeveloped survival instincts and aggressive nature. The Thargoids are experts in bioengineering, so they may have augmented their own biology to a point where natural evolutionary processes are meaningless.[4]

The location of the Thargoid homeworld, if such a place exists, is unknown. Professor Shaw continued to speculate that it might be somewhere beyond known space or on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy. Alternatively, the Thargoids may have become a nomadic species, existing entirely in space or within fabricated hives. It is possible they journeyed across millions of light years, from Andromeda or beyond, like a swarm of locusts seeking fresh crops to consume. Since Thargoid vessels can hover in hyperspace, it suggests that they could originate from there, or that they may use hyperspace as a conduit from a dimensional plane entirely separate from real space. Thus, the Thargoids may not just be extragalactic in origin, but extra-universal.[4]


The common Thargoid warrior is a dark-chitin covered insect measuring just over 7 feet in height. They have six limbs, two of which are dedicated walking limbs (legs). The remaining four limbs have jointed hands each possessing three digits, one of which is an opposable thumb.[5]

The head is a triangular ovoid in shape, with prominent faceted eyes mounted to the front. In general, the overall impression is similar to that of a praying mantis. There are two short antennae that protrude from the top of the head. The mouth is on the underside of the front point of the triangular head, and is relatively small. It is surrounded to two strong mandibles. The neck is very short but thick and sturdy, and can rotate 60 degrees.[5]

The body of a Thargoid is segmented into two distinct sections. The upper segment is approximately egg-shaped with a slight distention at the upper end just below the junction to the neck and head; this is where the upper limbs join the body. The lower segment is a tapered oval that arcs slightly towards the rear and forms a rounded point. The junction of these two segments is a heavily muscled narrow waist which the Thargoid can twist to approximately 100 degrees.[5]

The lower four limbs are attached to the lower body segment. The lowest pair, or the traditional legs, are attached just above the point where the segment begins to bend rearwards. These legs have knee joints and ankle joint, and are terminated with clawed appendages. The ankles allow the Thargoid to use the lowest part of the limb as feet, providing stability and agility when standing erect. These legs are also double jointed at the knees. The middle pair of limbs are primarily used as manipulating limbs, but are also seen as propelling limbs when a Thargoid is running. These limbs are jointed at elbow and wrist, and end in clawed hands. There are four digits, including an opposable thumb, and these are clawed. The claws are short and horny. These legs are usually held folded against the front of the body.[5]

The upper limbs are dedicated manipulatory limbs. These are jointed at the elbows and wrists. The elbow is jointed to the rear, similar to human arms. The hands end in four clawed digits, one of which is an opposable thumb. These digits are more flexible and agile than the ones on the middle limbs.[5]

Thargoids can walk erect on the hind legs, but have been seen to drop to four legs when running, using the middle limbs in addition to the rear legs.[5]

Not much is known about the internal workings of Thargoid anatomy. Dissection of specimens have revealed the presence of several organs analogous to humans, as well as some that are common in insectoid species. Oresrian medical personnel have verified the presence of respiratory and circulatory organs as well as the digestive organs and system. They have also identified several glands such as excretory, pheromonal and communication glands (most insectoid communication is a hybrid of aural and pheromone methods). The fabled 'fear glands' thought to be removed from Thargoid warriors are thought to be located in the upper thorax, where scar tissue has been found. No notable reproductive organs have been found in specimens, leading scientists to theorise that there must be a separate phenotype of Thargoid that is responsible for the reproductive act.[5]



Thargoid Surface Site

Not much information has been obtained about Thargoid society or culture. The only known fact is that the society is hive based, with no sense of close family. It is thought that the society is divided into colonies, possibly along the lines of ant colonies.[5]

Thargoids are thought to have a natural affinity with space, and with witch-space (hyperspace) in particular. This is due to the fact that Thargoid warriors seem to spend a large amount of time in space. Naval pilots and crews report that the warships in the war zones are encountered on repeated occasions over a period of months often without respite.[5]

Based on the study of some wrecked ships, Thargoids as a species seem to have a very spartan approach to furnishing and belongings. Crew quarters are practically devoid of possessions other than those necessary for military crewmen. All belongings are functional and necessary.[5]


Nothing is known about internal Thargoid politics.[5]

Thargoid relations with other species is frighteningly simple: war. The three largest organisations in Galaxy 1 are all at war with the Thargoid species, and they are constantly under threat of planetary invasion.[5]

The Thargoid invasions usually seem to be prompted by the need for either agricultural or mineral resources, rather than a sociological or anthropological need to expand or colonise. In fact, the animal life on an invaded world is largely ignored unless it poses a threat to Thargoids.[5]


Thargoid technology is vastly different and in many ways far superior to established GalCop technology. The warships have no visible form of propulsion, neither from vented emissions nor engine exhausts, yet they are maneuverable and agile.[5]

The Thargoids are also superior in the use of advanced AI and remote craft, an area in which GalCop is sadly behind.[5]

Other fields of technology that the Thargoids are in advance of GalCop, include metallurgy, biogenetics, physics and weapons tech. Their hyperdrives and shield technologies are also superior.[5]


This is primarily based on the Elite Dangerous timeline.[6][7][8][9]

29th century[]

2810 - 2840[]

  • Between the 2810's and 2840's, GalCop documents a significant number of ship disappearances in its space and near the Pleiades Nebula. Investigations find no evidence of foul-play, but the disappearances and other strange phenomena continue intermittently, stoking anxiety among pilots.[9]


  • In 2849, the first grainy footage surfaces of one of these "encounters", with one blurry image appearing to show an alien ship with the word "THARG" on its hull. The media immediately coins the term "Thargoid" as a name for the aliens. However, no conclusive proof of the Thargoids' existence is obtained, and they fade into folklore.[9]

32nd century[]


  • The first reported encounters between human starship pilots and a new intelligent alien species occur. This species is named "Thargoids" by the pilots who survive the experience, hearkening back to the unexplained incidents of 2849.[10] In every encounter, the alien ships quickly opened fire. Some asserted that the attacks had been provoked by humanity after a leaked Federal report surfaces revealing that colonists of the Veliaze system had opened fire on a similar vessel.[9]
  • The Intergalactic Naval Reserve Arm, or INRA, is secretly established as a joint initiative by the Federation and Empire. INRA is tasked with identifying and exploiting Thargoid weaknesses to win the conflict by any means necessary.[9]


  • The conflict between humans and Thargoids ends following the successful deployment of the mycoid bioweapon. 
  • The Galactic Cooperative funds Project Equinox, an initiative that establishes multiple deep space monitoring outposts such as GCS Sarasvati to watch in case the Thargoids returned.[11]


  • December 27 - Dr. Cassandra Lockhart of Project Equinox notes there have been no sightings of Thargoids since the project's inception.[11]


  • August 16 - As the Galactic Cooperative declines and destabilizes, Project Equinox is shut down, despite Dr. Cassandra Lockhart's warnings that the Thargoids are sowing the seeds for their future return.[11]

34th century[]

May 3301[]

  • Scientists Baffled by Mysterious Artefacts.

July 3301[]

  • Scientists working under Dr Arcanonn uncovered that the discovered "Unknown Artefacts" may have some basis in human technology.

September 3301[]

  • The Federal research program established to study the ‘anomalous extraterrestrial objects’ was terminated.

October 3301[]

  • As the technical problems in Warkushanui intensify, some commentators drew attention to the fact that the number of anomalous extraterrestrial objects (or AEOs) discovered in the system recently increased.

December 3301[]

  • Professor Ishmael Palin requested help to establish a research base on Maia B1BA to study unknown artefacts.

January 3302[]

  • Alien structures have been confirmed on at least two planets in the Pleiades Nebula. Commander Octo (Cmdr Octo86) made the initial discovery on Merope 5c
  • Reports of curious wrecks of unknown vessels

May 3302[]

  • Starports damaged by Unknown Artefacts have been repaired with Meta-Alloys

January 3303[]

  • 05 JAN 3303 - The Unknown Ship is an alien vessel, first encountered while traveling through Hyperspace and pulled into normal space. 8 sided alien ships rip CMDRs out of Witchspace (hyperspace high wake).
  • 19 JAN 3303 - Sirius Corp. to Address Unknown-Artefact Issue. It is widely understood that Unknown Artefacts have the ability to extract materials from their immediate environment as part of a complex self-repair process. Unfortunately, this can have disastrous effects on starships and other forms of machinery.
  • 24 JAN 3303 - The recent Sirius Corporation campaign to protect starports from Unknown Artefact-related interference is already bearing fruit. Using material donated by the galactic community, Sirius Corporation scientists have dramatically increased the efficiency of meta-alloy application, thereby restoring many of the starports affected by Unknown Artefact-related disruption.

April 3303[]

  • 07 APR 3303 - Alien Tsar Makes Statement. Admiral Aden Tanner, a seasoned military leader with over four decades of experience, has been appointed to the newly created role of Chief of Federal Security. "Having reviewed all available information, we can confirm these craft are active primarily within the Pleiades Nebula and the space in and around the Maia and Merope systems. The significance of these locations – if any – has not yet been determined. We can also confirm, despite rumours to the contrary, that carrying an Unknown Artefact does not attract the attention of these vessels."

May 3303[]

  • 20 MAY 3303 - Reports Surface of Mysterious Attacks. Reports have surfaced of mysterious attacks in the Maia system, where eyewitnesses claim to have found the remains of a number of Federal vessels. According to reports, the damage to the ships’ hulls was not consistent with any known form of weaponry. Furthermore, several observers claim to have seen the so-called unknown ships at the wreckage sites. Attempts to intercept the ships were unsuccessful.

June 3303[]

  • Media streams have been abuzz with news that the so-called Unknown Ships are in fact Thargoid vessels, as many speculated.
  • The leaders of the galaxy's major powers responded to news that the mysterious ships seen in the Maia system and Pleiades Nebula are Thargoid vessels.
  • New Thargoid/Barnacle encounter discovered in [Pleiades Sector IX-S B4-4 B 1| -40.06 25.81] by Cmdr Harry Kruth.
  • Doctor Arcanonn of the Canonn Interstellar Research Group has issued a statement from the Gnosis concerning the recent discovery that the so-called Unknown Ships are in fact of Thargoid origin.
  • As the galaxy reels from the revelation that the Thargoids have returned to human space, a number of independent pilots discovered huge Thargoid structures in the Pleiades Sector OS-U c2-7, Col 285 Sector CV-Y d57, Aries Dark Region DB-X d1-63, HIP 19026, and HIP 14909 systems.
  • Thargoid vessel Seen interacting with pilots at the 5th Alien Site (HIP 14909 | -26 / -27).

July 3303[]

  • Professor Ishmael Palin, leading authority on xeno-biological research, commented on the discovery of functional technology at the Thargoid structures.
  • Reports from the Pleiades Sector IR-W D1-55 indicate that the Oracle (Ocellus starport) relocated to the system to study the region’s Thargoid structure.
  • Abroin Universal Plc announced plans to establish a research outpost in the Pleiades Nebula – one of the centers of Thargoid activity. The appeal for construction materials was well received by the galactic community.

August 3303[]

  • Professor Alba Tesreau of the Achenar Research Council announced that a confederacy of scientists from the Empire, Federation and Alliance has united to establish a new organisation: Aegis. The organisation’s remit will be to gather further intelligence on the Thargoids and coordinate all future research.
  • The Alliance launched a research initiative designed to enhance human understanding of the Thargoids. The primary aim is to build a range of state-of-the-art instruments expressly designed to analyse Thargoid material.
  • Reports have surfaced that Admiral Aden Tanner, Chief of Federal Security and so-called ‘alien tsar’, is now liaising with Aegis, the inter-superpower initiative established to investigate the Thargoids.

September 3303[]

  • Over the past few months, several reports have surfaced of Federal convoys coming under fire in the Maia system. While circumstantial evidence strongly suggested Thargoid involvement, the Federation declined to comment, saying only that the matter was “under investigation”.
  • Lieutenant Jarah Kael of the Federal Navy addressed rumours that the Thargoids may have attacked in self defence. “There has been speculation that the Thargoid attack was an act of self preservation. Nothing could be further from the truth.” "Data recovered from IR-W D1-55, including the black box from the Farragut-class Battlecruiser, proves beyond a doubt that the attack was initiated by the Thargoids."
  • A spokesperson for Aegis, the joint-superpower initiative established to coordinate research into the Thargoids, has confirmed that the organisation is to widen its remit. “Aegis has received sanctions from the leaders of all three superpowers to focus not only research, but also on defence."
  • Following news that the Thargoids attacked a Federal convoy in the Pleiades Sector IR-W d1-55 system, Aegis recruited two of the galaxy’s foremost independent engineers to immediately begin developing new defensive and offensive technologies.
  • Pilots had dozens of hostile Thargoid encounters within the Pleiades Sector.
  • Banner Class Bulk Cargo Ship In Pleiades Sector IR-W D1-55 was attacked by Thargoids. This marks the first Thargoid attack on civilians in 3303.
  • First Aegis Initiative CGs concluded. The equipment will be distributed throughout the galaxy.
  • SDC gets the first recorded Thargoid kill.
  • Last week, Aegis started developing weapons and technologies to address the rising Thargoid threat. While some were dismayed to see Aegis shift to a military focus, the general consensus is that it was necessary.
  • As Aegis’ first campaign to address the Thargoid threat concludes, reports have reached the core systems of further Thargoid attacks in the Pleiades. A number of Imperial and civilian ships were targeted, with the strikes taking place in HIP 17962, HR 1185, IH-V C2-5 and the Pleiades Sector IR-W D1-55.
  • Many independent pilots have equipped their ships to test the anti-Thargoid weaponry. Aegis assembled a team of specialists to analyse the results of these encounters and determine the new weapons’ efficacy.

October 3303[]

  • First Thargoid Attack In the Core Systems (Bubble) Confirmed.
  • Aquarius Class Tanker (Alfa lima Foxtrot-895) Found attacked and left Disabled by Thargoids in HIP 17962 A4.
  • Admiral Aden Tanner, Aegis’ chief military liaison, has released a statement confirming that the Thargoids have begun adapting to the weapons and tactics developed to combat them.
  • Aegis announced that its appeal for Thargoid-related materials has reached a successful conclusion.
  • Thargoid activity has escalated dramatically, with attacks from Thargoid Interceptor-class ships becoming increasingly common in the Pleiades Nebula.
  • Reports from the Pleiades indicate that the Thargoids are already operating more tactically, suggesting that their earlier lack of insight was due to unfamiliarity with our ships and weapons.
  • Some of the galaxy’s leading Thargoid experts discussed the discovery of a new alien ship in the HIP 17125 system. “There are clear similarities between this ship and the Interceptor, both of which appear to be made from a quasi-organic material."
  • Further abandoned Intergalactic Naval Reserve Arm outposts were discovered in systems in the core. Records from the sites shed light on the INRA’s activities, and indicate that the mycoid fungus, instrumental in countering the Thargoid incursions of the 3100s, was an unplanned by-product of the organisation’s research.
  • The fourth phase of Aegis’ campaign to counter the Thargoid threat has come to an end.
  • Admiral Aden Tanner, Aegis’s chief military liaison, addressed reports of capital ships being destroyed by the Thargoids. “The fact that capital-class ships are more vulnerable to Thargoid attack means they are an ineffective way of protecting outposts, planets and shipping lanes. Consequently, for the present, the deployment of capital ships is not considered an effective defence strategy.”

November 3303[]

  • Cooper Research Associates have launched a rescue operation to recover personal effects, data and people from Thargoid attack sites in the Pleiades Nebula.
  • With Thargoid attacks becoming a regular occurrence in the Pleiades Nebula, Aegis has leveraged its considerable reserves to fund a military operation in the Pleiades Sector IR-W d1-55. The initiative, dubbed ‘Operation Andronicus’, has been expressly conceived to counter Thargoid aggression in the region.
  • The new Taipan is equipped with two AX multi-cannons, replacing the default utility mount and small hardpoints. These cannons are punchier than standard and make the ship effective against Thargoid vessels.
  • An intriguing message in the Celaeno system was recovered from a listening post, apparently contains an emergency broadcast from the Aida, a Hogan–class cargo vessel that was attacked by Thargoids.
  • Recent reports indicate that a new kind of Thargoid vessel, the Basilisk, was encountered in the Electra system. The previously unseen ships were encountered by independent pilots investigating the wreckage of the Aida.
  • Aegis announced a second military strike on a Thargoid-occupied system, following the success of Operation Andronicus.
  • Fifth Aegis Campaign Concludes. The operation aimed to reduce the number of Thargoids in the system.

December 3303[]

  • Despite the repeated assurances of the galactic authorities, which have endeavoured to downplay the scale of the Thargoid threat, it is clear that many of those in the core systems feel less than secure. This is evidenced by the huge numbers of citizens fleeing to Colonia, eager to escape the Thargoids.
  • Reports from the Taygeta system indicate that Aegis’s new research programme is already bearing fruit. “We’re currently focusing on the Thargoid Probes and Sensors, and we’ve already learned a great deal about the way the Thargoids transmit and store information.”
  • Recent reports indicate that several starports in the Pleiades have been attacked by Thargoids. The attacks have resulted in significant damage and hundreds – possibly thousands – of deaths.
  • New Thargoid Interceptor variant encountered: Medusa.
  • The Alliance commissioned Lakon Spaceways to produce a new ship in response to the recent Thargoid attacks in the Pleiades. The vessel, named the Type-10 Defender, represents a comprehensive revision of the Type–9 Heavy.
  • Three further starports were attacked by Thargoids. The affected stations are Hudson Observatory in HIP 17694, Cavalieri in Electra and Bao Landing in HIP 17497. The attacks resulted in significant damage and hundreds of casualties.
  • Huge numbers of citizens flee to Colonia. Although the Thargoid attacks have so far been confined to the Pleiades Nebula, many fear that the aliens’ next target will be the core systems.