A Xenomorph Egg, also known as an Ovomorph, is an apparently organic, egg-like capsule containing a Facehugger, generally considered to be the first stage in the Xenomorph life cycle. They are laid by a Queen.
Xenomorph Eggs by themselves are inert, although they apparently posses some ability to "sense" or otherwise detect when a potential host creature approaches, at which point four "petals" at the top of the Egg will open up and the Facehugger within will launch itself out at the nearby victim.
Xenomorph Eggs are produced by Queens in their egg sac, and then laid through the trunk-like ovipositor at the rear of the sac. Eggs stand around two and a half feet tall and are typically brown-black in appearance, although older specimens have been seen to exhibit a more grey-white color.
When a host is detected nearby, the top of the Egg splits open in four sections that peel back like the petals of a flower, allowing the Facehugger to leap out. It is not clear by what means this host detection takes place; it has been theorised that the Egg's skin may contain some form of sensory organ that allows it to "taste" a host at a distance, similar to a snake's tongue. Whatever the mechanism, it is thought that the detection process is sensitive enough to allow an Egg to orient the Facehugger within so that it is pointed at the host, ready to subdue it, and that the Egg can even sense whether a potential host is of a viable size.
Over time, if not disturbed, Eggs will develop several tendril like roots that spread from their base. It is possible that these roots are for nutrient absorption, similar to plant organisms, to help the Egg sustain itself and the Facehugger within until a potential host appears, although the discovery of viable Eggs in nutrient-deficient environments seems to cast doubt on this theory. Another suggested purpose for the tendrils is that they are used for communication between Eggs, like the synapses in brain cells, as they have commonly been seen in large clusters of Eggs. The connections may allow Eggs to inform each other of host approach, or even act as a mechanism for detecting hosts directly (whether through physical contact, or thermal or bio-electric means).
An Egg usually contains only a single Facehugger, but some have been seen to contain as many as four. Other than a Facehugger, Eggs also contain a mass of flesh and stringy ligaments, the purpose of which is unknown, although it seems likely this material plays some part in sustaining the Facehugger.
Eggs can apparently sustain the Facehuggers they contain for hundreds or even thousands of years with no external nutrients or assistance, as seen with the Eggs on the Derelict on LV-426. It is not known if an empty Egg will create more Facehuggers, although the fact that spent Eggs are usually discovered hollow and empty seems to preclude this.
The Eggs found aboard the Derelict on LV-426 were covered by a thin layer of bluish mist that reacted when broken. It was also seen to interfere with radio communications, although it is unlikely this is its primary or intended purpose. It is not clear whether this mist was put in place artificially by the Engineers, or whether it was generated by the Eggs themselves. While the mist has never been seen again in the Alien film franchise, it has been seen in several of the video games based on the series; some of these appearances seem to imply it is produced by the Eggs themselves.
The effect and relationship between the mist and the Eggs is not clear. It is possible that the mist is a security mechanism implemented by the Engineers, subduing the Eggs and their contents in a similar manner to how smoke affects worker honey bees, thereby rendering them safe to transport. However, the mist also appears to react when broken and awaken the Facehuggers within the Eggs, alerting them to the presence of a host, which would seem to contradict the security feature theory.
Alien 2: On EarthEdit
The Xenomorph Eggs in the non-canon film Alien 2: On Earth are almost completely different from the Eggs in the rest of the franchise. The Eggs in this film look like rocks, rather than the leathery egg-shaped objects seen in the official series and its related media. Like other Xenomorph Eggs, these eggs open at the top and a Xenomorph Facehugger launches out at the victim. Rather than green or gray, these eggs are blue.
Behind the ScenesEdit
The interior of the original Egg seen in Alien was composed of "Nottingham lace", which is the lining of a cow's stomach. In the first film, the quick shot of the Facehugger erupting from the egg was done with sheep's intestine. Initially the Egg was totally stationary save for the hydraulic movement of the lobes; however, by Alien Resurrection the entire Egg was made to ripple as it opened.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood (1996). Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual. HarperPrism, 150.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett (writers) and Ridley Scott (director). Alien [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 James Cameron (writer and director). Aliens [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ Joss Whedon (writer) and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (director). Alien Resurrection [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ Aliens versus Predator: Extinction [PlayStation 2, Xbox]. Zono Inc.
- ↑ Aliens vs. Predator [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360]. Rebellion.
- ↑ Ridley Scott, David Giler, Walter Hill, H. R. Giger, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett. The Beast Within: The Making of 'Alien' [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.